Who doesn’t want to look like a rock star to their clients? Randy L. Crews, CPA, managing member of Randy L. Crews, CPA PLLC, in McAllen, Texas, knows exactly what that feels like. He does it every day.
Even though he’s a sole proprietor, Crews can’t make that kind of impression on his own. Along with his two-person staff, he also counts on technology to help him make a stellar impression that matches what any big firm can do.
“I’m able to take care of my clients 24/7, even when I’m not in the office,” says Crews. “Resources like having an online client portal on my website make me look like a rock star, because even the larger firms in my area don’t have that.”
A Rock Star and a Hero
Before getting into the business world, Crews served in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he earned the rank of Sergeant.
As proud as he was to serve, he found another calling: working with small businesses that were struggling to manage their accounting.
“I wanted to help the little guy,” he says. “My dad was a carpenter and every year I’d hear him griping about how complicated his taxes were. As a small business owner, he was trying to live the American Dream. I wanted to help people like him.”
Crews spent eight years at another firm, eventually becoming a partner, before he opened his own operation in 2006. At first, he relied heavily on a patchwork of software solutions – plus, he admits, a pen and a yellow legal pad. But everything changed when his father became seriously ill and Crews needed to leave town to take care of him. His father was in the hospital for a month, right in the middle of tax season.
“It just about closed my business,” Crews recalls. “My clients were very understanding but they still needed their taxes done. We worked through the delays and my father got better, but I realized I needed to take a look at my technology.”
Technology to the Rescue
“Even when I was just using a couple of programs, I saw how easily they integrated with each other and that really impressed me,” says Crews.
It turned out to be an excellent decision for many reasons. One of them became obvious the very next tax season, when his dad got sick again, eventually passing away. This time, however, when Crews had to leave the office for an extended period of time it was completely seamless for him and his clients.
“Most of my clients didn’t even know I was gone, which was a beautiful thing,” he says. “Thomson Reuters saved my butt. They saved my business and that’s why I’m such a big fan.”
That’s when Crews discovered Thomson Reuters. He started out with just a couple of products but was soon using nearly every solution Thomson Reuters offers, including Software as a Service (SaaS).
There are plenty of other reasons, too. The integration and automatic updates of all the Thomson Reuters products he uses saves Crews “a truckload of time.” With Practice CS – his favorite program – he’s also able to keep better track of his time.
Thanks to Practice CS, Crews realized that over a six-month period of time he was spending about 40 hours on client projects that he wasn’t billing for.
“It opened my eyes to the clients I wasn’t charging enough,” says Crews. “Using Practice CS and SaaS has reduced my expenses and doubled my revenues. It’s also given me a better life because I don’t have to be tied to the office.”
A Super Payroll Process
Another tool Crews now considers indispensable is myPay Solutions. In the beginning, he didn’t want to take on payroll services for his clients because of the time it would demand. “I read a statistic that said you need anywhere between 50 to 80 payroll clients to be profitable,” says Crews. “Just handling payroll for one client can take a ton of time, and it would have had me tethered to my desk every Friday.”
Crews tried some third-party payroll providers. He found they not only left him having to manage a lot of details, they were also in a position to steal some of his clients.
Now it’s a different story. Crews’ firm offers payroll services by partnering with myPay Solutions, which takes care of everything for him.
“I’m able to offer big-firm services even though I’m a small firm,” he says. “I’m able to give my clients better, more responsive service – so, again, I look like a rock star.”
Crews serves payroll clients nationwide, so the fact that myPay Solutions automatically updates and maintains state-by-state rules and regulations is a big plus. So is the fact that myPay Solutions will bill clients for him – or, if Crews prefers, he can bill clients as part of his monthly accounting fees. Crews also appreciates that myPay Solutions sends him journal entries that integrate directly with Write-Up CS and Accounting CS.
A Rock-solid Partnership
The way Crews sees it, Thomson Reuters makes his practice more efficient and successful, making him look good as a result. Plus, it frees him from the confines of the office so he can do more of the things he enjoys, like cooking for his family and friends.
He doesn’t do any advertising, bringing in plenty of business through word-of-mouth. Crews specializes in health care providers, such as doctors and medical equipment companies, but also works with other businesses and individuals.
Crews is grateful to Thomson Reuters, not only because of the technology they provide but also for the way they take care of their customers.
“My business wouldn’t be open without Thomson Reuters,” he says. “My sales rep never tried to push me into signing up for anything – in fact, he urged me to build my suite of products slowly when I first started out. It’s good to know they have the best interests of my business at heart.”