Becoming a Transformative Advisor in the Face of a Pandemic and Beyond

For many of us, 2020 was nothing short of scary, challenging and sad – both personally and professionally. While the world around us has turned upside down, we’ve been left picking up the pieces, trying to find ways to keep our businesses afloat and our families safe.

As crazy and unpredictable as the past year has been, one thing remains constant as business owners: we must move forward, adapt and grow.

While keeping our families safe is top of mind, our business’ present and future hinges on protecting our clients, keeping them happy and making sure they get the support they need to get through these turbulent times.

In many ways, this is the role of a transformative advisor – which happened to be the theme of Scaling New Heights, an industry conference I recently attended virtually that’s put on by Joe Woodard of Woodard Events. Joe has helped countless firms become the most they can be for their clients, and this conference’s mantra was an extension of that – “Rise of the Advisor.”

In this article, I will share some takeaways from my experience, as well as how we, at SBS Accounting & Advisors, plan to be a transformative advisor for you and your business.

Going the Extra Mile – Every Time

At SBS, we know how important it is to get your books in order and automate your accounting processes, but we also know that’s not enough – and you need more. Over the years, we’ve discovered that our clients need help understanding their numbers and planning for the future, among other things.

This, in a nutshell, is how we envision the role of being your trusted advisor: Not just taking care of your back-office needs, but also proactively planning for your future and being there for you every step of the way. We do this through building transformation – our mission as a company. You may be wondering how this looks. Our new advisory services division is jam-packed with many of the tools and strategies we implement to take you to the next level, including Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), cash flow management and more.

Coaching, Connecting and Cultivating a Powerful Relationship

Becoming your clients’ advisor doesn’t just happen overnight; it takes a great deal of trust. The only way to establish that high level of trust is to build a connection, forge a strong bond and do right by the client every time.

As Joe said, we want to be a coach, monitoring what clients are doing and informing clients what they need to do better, sometimes before they even know they need to do it. This doesn’t just show an advisor’s tremendous value; it also illustrates how much you care about your clients and how much you are looking out for their best interest.

This is the kind of personal attention and commitment we strive for every day at SBS. And, we believe you can do that for your clients as well. Let’s take one of Joe’s imaginative hypotheticals as an example:

“If the typical QuickBooks ProAdvisor ran a Starbucks, we would encourage customers to bring in their own Keurig machines, and then we’d have a shelf of all their different coffee pods, carefully labeled … and we’d let each of them tell us how to make their cups of coffee.”

This example is specifically geared toward me as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, helping me think about what products and solutions I would offer up my clients, which include turning your financial data into powerful growth, finding the apps and other technology needed to make your lives easier, and coaching you to rise to the next level and meet your goals and dreams. But, you can easily use this example to replace it with who you are, what you do, and what you want for your clients and their lives.

It’s up to all us to find the time and energy to become that kind of advisor for our clients – and help them see we can be an advisor who finds the ways to bring real value to our relationship with them and their relationship with us.

Working Remotely – You’re NOT Alone

One major impact of the pandemic has been having to change how, and where, we work. Many of us have been forced to work, and manage our staff, remotely. While some forward-thinking businesses have embraced this strategy in the past, many of us have never had to go exclusively remote for a long period of time.

If you’ve felt isolated or by yourself while working remotely during this challenging time, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than half of employees working from home feel lonely, while another survey reported that communication, collaboration and loneliness continue to be the top challenges for remote workers. The scary part is these were already a lot of the same feelings before COVID-19 – the pandemic has only made them worse.

So, what can we do to combat these feelings and issues we face? Here are five tips we have found to be helpful:

  1. Pay attention and turn off your email and phone. These distractions can keep you from getting anything done. Your clients and your business deserve your full attention. You can’t be a transformative advisor and take your business to the next level by letting distractions get in the way.
  2. Participate in online community exchanges. Just because you don’t see people in person doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them online. Spend some time each day/week engaging in conversations, building relationships, and finding ways to stay in touch with your peers and prospects. LinkedIn is a great way to do that.
  3. Find your favorite spot(s) to work at home. Find the place or places you know you work best and are the most comfortable. If a certain place helps you get in a routine of being productive and feeling good, you can better serve your clients and your business.
  4. Take some breaks. It’s not uncommon to go stir crazy working from home. Taking some breaks here and there can relieve stress, help you refocus and keep you from feeling so overwhelmed.
  5. Take care of yourself. When working from home, it’s very important to look after your own physical and emotional well being. The last thing you want to feel is lonely or depressed. Exercise, meditation and finding natural light to work in are just a few strategies for taking care of yourself. Discover what works best for you.

Don’t Hesitate to Reach Out – We are Always Here for You!

This past year has seen big changes and tested us seemingly every day. At SBS, know that we are always here for you and only want to see you live happy, healthy lives and reach all of your goals and potential in your businesses.

So, if you ever want to just talk things out, or explore some of the topics and strategies discussed in this article, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Your wellbeing and your future means everything to us at SBS Accounting & Advisors, and we strive every day to find the solutions and support you need to grow personally and professionally.

3 QuickBooks Online Features to Meet Your Needs Now – and Drive Your Future

As small business owners, we tend to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day grind that we find ourselves working in our businesses, rather than on our businesses. This not only limits our future, but also stunts our growth, especially if we don’t take care of our basic necessities and biggest needs right now.

Each month, Intuit comes out with new features packed inside QuickBooks Online (QBO) to help this process, and when combined with our team’s knowledge and expertise at SBS Accounting & Advisors, you will get powerful solutions to meet your needs now – and drive your future.

The latest trio of QBO features does just that, with help from SBS to bring you the tools and strategies you need to survive and thrive.

Here is more information about these enhanced features, which SBS will not just implement into your business, but also incorporate into your own set of strategies and plans to take you to the next level.

Feature #1: No More Trips to the Bank With QuickBooks Cash 

I don’t know about you, but waiting in a long line at the bank, even pre-COVID, feels like a drag. With QuickBooks Cash, that’s no longer necessary!

With QuickBooks Cash, you have a bank account at your fingertips – free of charge, with no fees or account minimums. On top of that, you’ll get quick payments, save money, tools to improve cash flow and more. And, perhaps most importantly, it syncs seamlessly with your QuickBooks for an automatic accounting of your finances.

While this feature helps SBS deliver you more for less, our team also works hard to bring you deeper solutions to your cash flow needs. In fact, cash flow management is a key component of our new advisory services division.

Learn more about it here, and know that we are always here to help!

Feature #2: Back Up Your Business With QuickBooks Insurance

Locking up insurance for your business may seem like a no-brainer move, but too many small businesses simply have no insurance, or are underinsured.

In fact, 44 percent of small businesses who have been around for at least a year don’t have insurance at all, according to NEXT Insurance. On top of that, three in four U.S. businesses are underinsured by 40 percent or more, according to Marshall & Swift/Boeckh.

Why is having business insurance so important beyond the obvious reasons? Because more than 35 percent of small business owners had an event take place that could have caused an insurance claim, according to an Insureon survey.

To tap into QuickBooks insurance, sign in to your QuickBooks account, as seen below, or visit here to get a quote. Securing insurance for your business doesn’t just provide peace of mind, but also can save you when life’s unexpected events happen.

Feature #3: Introducing the Guideline 401(k) Plan – A Safe Place for Staff to Save for Retirement 

As a business owner, I learned long ago that I simply can’t do everything on my own. It’s tempting to want to control every single situation and make every single decision, but it’s just not realistic. And, because our business’ survival and future is dependent on a strong, cohesive and motivated team, we must take care of them and provide the guidance they need to succeed.

One way to make them feel secure and appreciated is to provide a strong 401(k) so that they not only know you’re looking out for their best interests, but also have peace of mind that they have something to rely on for retirement.

Enter the new Guideline 401(k) plan that’s connected to your QuickBooks.

For a zero investment fee, your staff will enjoy a professionally managed portfolio, with a great interface and the support they need when they need it.

To see what it’s all about, check out the Benefits tap in your QuickBooks, as seen below.

Ready to Launch These Features or Have any Questions? We are Here for You!

One thing I love about these three new features is that they can literally help every business owner. So, if you’re ready to launch any or all of these features, or have any questions, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to protecting your business, getting powerful plans for future success, and keeping your staff happy and motivated.

(Images courtesy of Intuit QuickBooks)