The panel of industry thought leaders met to discuss the future of accounting and how FreshBooks fits in the picture. Here’s what they said.
What happens when you bring a group of accounting professionals together? There’s no punchline here, just a lot of fun and learning! We welcomed the FreshBooks Partner Advisory Council to our HQ and took the opportunity to ask these industry thought leaders about the accounting profession. From where they see the industry going to their thoughts on FreshBooks, it’s all covered here in their own words.
Table of Contents
What Is the FreshBooks Partner Advisory Council?
Before we get into it, you may be wondering what the FreshBooks Partner Advisory Council is and who’s on it. (We call it FreshPAC for short.) FreshPAC was created to ensure FreshBooks is building what modern accounting professionals need to better support their small business clients.
The 17-member council is made up of accountants and bookkeepers who are industry leaders in the cloud accounting space. FreshPAC shares their expertise, industry insight, and product feedback with us—and we’re incredibly grateful to collaborate with them!
Why Are Accountants Interested in FreshPAC?
FreshPAC members bring a lot to the table, so we wanted to know more about their thoughts on networking and why they joined the council.
“Being able to connect with other accountants is fantastic,” said Rachel Fisch, RealtyTax.ca. “In a lot of cases, accountants and bookkeepers—especially those who are very innovative and cloud-forward—are really seeking a community. FreshBooks has done a fantastic job in building that. They’re also making sure that we’re having the right conversations—whether it’s about apps, product, or the market—which is to the success of small businesses.”
The community aspect was a common thread between FreshPAC members.
“I’m excited about your energy around the accounting community,” said Scott Scarano, Padgett Business Services. “That’s different, and it’s taking a different approach than any app I’ve seen so far. And it’s fresh!”
Joining professional communities online is a great way to stay connected with what’s new in the industry, and FreshPAC members acknowledge this, too.
“I work with a lot of professional service providers and small business owners,” said Nikole MacKenzie, Momentum Accounting, Inc. “Now that FreshBooks works with accountants, I was interested in learning more about the product, what the plan is for working with accountants, and seeing how I can influence that in the future.”
What Do Accountants Think of FreshBooks?
At FreshBooks, we’re on a journey to build our tool to fit the needs of the accounting profession, so we wanted to know more about FreshPAC’s experience using FreshBooks today.
“I love the service,” said Melanie Schroeder, Out of The Box CPA. “I work closely with Laura, an Accounting Specialist on the Support Team, and she’s really helped me to be able to support my clients as I learn about FreshBooks. Since it’s newer software on the accounting side, I don’t always know how to help my customers, but I know that I can jump into Slack or send an email, and there’s support right there, right away.”
FreshBooks was initially created for small business owners, and the easy-to-use platform continues to support accountants and their clients working together.
“I like how easy it is,” said Melanie. “I like that my clients can use it really well without a lot of help from me. I’m super focused on empowering my clients to do their own invoicing. If they can just jump in and do an Invoice whenever they want, then, of course, their business is going to be more successful.”
“I really enjoy FreshBooks’ user interface,” added Brian Clare, Blueprint Accounting, Inc. “I think it’s way easier to understand compared to other GLs—from interacting with it, understanding where to find things, how data gets inputted to it, and how to show it to clients—it’s a much easier process.”
A few members spoke about the collaboration between FreshBooks and Accounting Partners.
“FreshBooks focuses on the relationship between the accountant and their client, and making sure that both parties’ needs are met,” said Joshua Lance, Lance CPA Group. “As accountants, we want to be able to recommend good products to our clients. When that product doesn’t fit right or doesn’t have the tools we need, we’re not going to be able to recommend it. FreshBooks listening to accountants and developing what we need makes it much easier for us to use it in our firms.”
“Our biggest benefit of using FreshBooks is the partnership that we have,” said Kristen Keats, Sherwood Tax and Accounting. “Having resources that are specific for accountants available to us is something that we don’t get from our other software partners.”
What Excites Accountants About The Future of Accounting?
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask this group of industry thought leaders where they see the profession going.
“Coming from tech, I love seeing new tools emerge,” said Kenji Kuramoto, Acuity. “I think they help our profession and should remind accountants that we’re a knowledge-based profession. Great tools take away some of the manual tasks that don’t really tap into being a knowledge worker. I think these are opportunities that are unrealized by accountants because they’re forgetting that it’s not just about how fast we can type or enter something in—let’s let tools do that for us. Let’s get back to being a profession of knowledge workers.”
“I think the industry has a huge opportunity in how accounting is going to be done because of shifts in labor and globalization,” said Michael Ly, Reconciled. “The places accounting professionals and business owners are receiving accounting services are shifting massively. A lot of service providers are now overseas and providing global services to customers all over the world.”
“I’m most looking forward to the diversification that’s coming,” said Nayo Carter-Gray, 1st Step Accounting, LLC. “We have long thought of what a traditional accountant is. They’re not going to look like that, and I’m loving to see how that’s shaping up with the next generation. My Millenials and Gen Z’ers are taking over and changing the game. We’re going to start rethinking business culture, and I am absolutely here for it.”
What Does “Collaborative Accounting” Mean to Accountants?
Collaboration and trust between accountants and their clients are essential to the success of both businesses. Collaboration comes in many shapes, and we wanted to know what it means to FreshPAC members.
“I work in a very collaborative space with my clients,” said Kellie Parks, Calmwaters Cloud Accounting. “With my clients, it means that we’re working in real-time, and I’m solving more issues for them than just their financials. The data from their financial program is a starting point for us on what’s going to happen in their business.”
“Collaborative accounting means I can work with the owners and my software partners all together,” said Andrea MacDonald, Pro Tax & Accounting, LLC. “It’s everybody working to provide the best possible solution and get the best possible result.”
“Collaborative accounting means working with like-minded individuals,” said Nicole Davis, Butler-Davis Tax & Accounting, LLC. “Not like-minded in the sense that there’s no innovation or change, but like-minded in the sense that there’s a common goal that participants are trying to reach together. How they get there depends on how everyone’s perspective is used.
“When I started out, it was just me and my admin. I didn’t have anybody to talk to when I had issues or big decisions about my firm because there wasn’t really a network of organizations like there is today. Now that we’re able to have these collaborative meetings, it’s been integral to the growth and success of my business.”
Tap Into the Power of An Accounting Community…
It’s hard to walk away from a meeting like this without feeling totally floored by the power of community. The Accounting Partner Program taps into the same energy. The Program connects like-minded accounting professionals through the Community, an online hub designed to be your one-stop-shop for learning resources, networking opportunities, and industry news to help you support your small business clients.
Written by Alex Miles, Community Manager, FreshBooks Accounting Partner Community
Posted on October 11, 2022