If you asked a room full of women whether they think they “have it all,” chances are Michele K. Cyron, CPA, would raise her hand.
She’s the owner of Cyron & Company in West Grove, Pa., a business she’s run for more than 20 years. She’s also been married to her best friend for nearly 25 years, and they’re the proud parents of five kids ranging in age from 15 to 23.
And Cyron has made it all work, without having to sacrifice what matters most to her. “I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do what I love – I truly enjoy accounting and taxes,” says Cyron. “But I also love being a mom, and in all these years I don’t think I’ve ever had to miss anything important in their lives.”
The Best of Both Worlds
In the early years, Cyron found ways to juggle work and family. She’d been working at a large CPA firm when she and her husband, Don, decided to start a family. After their first son was born she worked part-time for a while. One year later, Cyron started her own business out of the basement of their home.
“I feel like I got the best of both worlds – being a mom and a CPA – because I didn’t buy a practice,” she says. “I let my practice grow.”
That was 22 years ago, and her practice has grown by 10 to 20 percent every year since. It didn’t take long before she outgrew her basement and rented an office. Cyron worked three days a week except during tax season, when she worked full-time. But she always closed the office at 3 p.m., even if it meant going back to work after Don got home.
“Being home for the kids was very important to me,” says Cyron. “It’s a little easier now with Thomson Reuters tools like SaaS, but we still made it work then.” She’s quick to praise her husband and kids for their support and help over the years.
And, like all moms and dads, Cyron got creative in the ways she managed parenting and being a professional. She even had an ottoman tucked into a corner of her office that turned into a twin bed, in case one of the kids was sick and had to come to work with her.
Organization was also essential if she was going to make time for all the kids’ activities, house management, and work duties.
When they were little, each one of Cyron’s children was assigned a color so they’d know which towel, toothbrush, and other items were theirs. “I even wrote on the bottom of their socks with colored markers,” she remembers. “How else will you keep it all straight when you’re doing laundry for seven people?”
She’s even applied some of these domestic tricks for organization to the workplace. At her office, which now includes a staff of four, she uses color-coding to differentiate between NetClient CS folders.
“When you’re a one-person business, it’s all in your own head,” says Cyron. “But when you’re working with a team, you need to establish procedures and it’s important that everyone does things the same way.”
Streamlining Day to Day
Hammering out a set of processes for the practice took some time, she admits, but it was well worth it. Everyone sat in the conference room and mapped out their responsibilities. “We reviewed every procedure until everyone knew exactly what happens, step by step,” says Cyron. “And it’s all written down in case anyone needs a reminder.”
The firm applies the same approach to the way they use the CS Professional Suite. “To make sure we’re all using it efficiently, we need everyone’s dashboard looking exactly the same,” Cyron explains.
She relies heavily on Practice CS to run her daily operations. The team enters every single client interaction into the software, from phone conversations to billing. That means there’s always an easy source of reference-and everything is in one place.
“When the information is correct in Practice CS, you know it’s correct in every single one of your products,” says Cyron.
Working in a cloud-based environment is another way the firm maintains a high level of productivity, not to mention client service. “I’m able to provide solutions to my clients as soon as they call,” Cyron explains. “I can take care of it right then and there, instead of them having to schedule an appointment to meet with them on site.”
Maximizing these kinds of efficiencies is one significant secret to Cyron’s success, both at work and at home. Just as she has for her home team, she’s created procedures to help her clients with tasks like bookkeeping.
For Cyron, one of the biggest time-savers of all is being able to do a task with fewer clicks. That’s why she relies so heavily on Practice CS, which allows her to move seamlessly from one task to another.
“If I can save five minutes a day, over a week that’s half an hour,” says Cyron. “That means I can get home or to the hockey rink on time. I’m giving my clients what they need, I’m giving my family what they need – and knowing I’m not missing anything makes me better at both.”