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What we do together in the first 90 days

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Usually, when you have a new accountant, they employ the SALY (Same As Last Year) method. Meaning, they look at what was done in the past and try to replicate that as closely as possible without asking why? At Kaizen CPAs + Advisors, we do things a little differently. We want to understand you and your business and apply our knowledge and expertise to come up with the best solutions going forward. If you had a problem with your old CPA, chances are you’re not going to want to see the SALY method with your new one.  

What is the point of our onboarding process?  

We have two big goals with our onboarding process. 

  1. To learn as much as possible about your business and what’s important to you. 
  2. To give you the financial tools to understand, manage and grow your business.  

Our 90 day onboarding process is designed to help us get to know each other in the most efficient way. To provide the best service, with proactive advice, it's important that we understand you and your business. It's equally as important that you are comfortable with your accounting team and that you feel confident that we are here to help you make informed decisions and develop strategies for long-term growth.

We need to understand your business and personal goals so we can implement processes that will get you where you want to be with your business. Think of your business as an athlete – we have to understand what’s happened in the past, where you are today and what your goals are to effectively design a training regimen that will help you reach your goals. So how do we do that? Here are the steps. 

The Kickoff Call  

The kickoff call begins the process of building the foundation for moving forward. We like analogies so here’s another one. Building a house on a shaky foundation only leads to trouble down the road. So let’s spend the time upfront so we have solid fundamentals for working together. But we can’t take too long or the house never gets built. The business solutions director you would already have met will do the introductions so you can begin to establish relationships with your onboarding team. The next step is to set you up in our client communication portal which will allow you to do things like move financial documents back and forth securely and connect you to our entire team so communication is efficient and seamless. This might be different from how things worked with your last CPA. Enhancing communication is critical to providing you the partnership you hired us for. We want you to feel empowered by the team that’s behind you. 

We don’t want to inundate our clients with too much information at one time. Typically our process is very different from what you may have experienced in the past. We want to be methodical, purposeful and efficient with your time. At the end of the one-hour kickoff call we will schedule three additional meetings which are all extremely important:  

  1. Initial Strategy Session 
  2. QuickBooks review and training
  3. DEXT receipt and invoice system training 

Let’s dig a little deeper into those sessions. 

The Initial Strategy Session: getting a blueprint of your business 

During the initial strategy session, you’ll begin to meet your accounting team. The primary person in this relationship is your account manager. Your account manager is responsible for your relationship with Kaizen. They will be reviewing your financials, designing future changes, providing business and tax advice and ultimately preparing your tax returns. Your onboarding manager from the kickoff call will also be on the call. The onboarding manager is responsible for shepherding you through the process. They will gain a detailed understanding of your QuickBooks and begin to make recommendations. And while you would already have met them, your business solutions director will also be on the call to ensure a smooth transition from the sales stage to being a client.  

It’s kind of like a first date. Lots of questions and answers, back and forth. However, this is business. There can’t be any holding back. We want (in fact, need) to know the good, the bad and the ugly so we’re in a better position to help. 

Remember, this is the first meeting where we really start to get to know each other. While we have a specific structure for the conversation, it should be a back and forth of questions and answers. The first thing we want to know is: 

The story of your business 

  • When and why did you start it? What keeps you up at night? Where do you want to be in five years? 
  • Do you have partners? Who are the key decision makers? How is the business structured? 
  • How many employees you have? How long have they been with you? 

After that discussion we’ll begin to look under the hood a little bit. As accountants, it’s no surprise that we really like financial information to understand and assess a business. So we will use the existing financial statements to begin that process:  

Balance Sheet

Bank and Credit Card Accounts  
Accounts Receivable & Payable   
Fixed Assets & Depreciation  
Notes Payable   
Shareholder Loans   

Profit & Loss

Cash or Accrual  
Sales – how are they captured  
Sales Tax  
Check writing  
Payroll processing  

After we understand these items, we’ll work with you to create an accounting roadmap. The roadmap gets us both on the same page in regard to financial reporting for your business. While we want to ensure all transactions are coded correctly, it’s also important we know how you want to look at your business. Are all products & services being properly identified so you can make business decisions? Are expenses being captured effectively so you understand profit margins?  Is your equity in the business being properly captured? 

QuickBooks - review and training 

QuickBooks is an essential tool that every business owner should be familiar with. Whether you are already using QuickBooks desktop or online, or we are going to start fresh, we both need to be on the same page with how it will be used. In addition to going over the specifics from the initial strategy session, we’ll teach you some important basics to help you get the most accurate and simple reporting methods with QuickBooks. That can include:  

Recording invoices and bill payments 
Using online bill payment 
Check writing practices 
Capturing bank deposits 

That last one is a biggie. Automations save time and help you keep accurate records. Without it, your books can look like a mess. With it? Well, you’ll be able to have faster and more accurate reporting which is going to help us AND you. 

DEXT Training 

DEXT is a third party software that works alongside QuickBooks to integrate receipts, invoices and even bank statements with your QuickBooks data. If you’ve never used it before, we’ll schedule a training for you to understand and get the most from it.  

Executing the plan – Our work behind the scenes 

During these 90 days, we’ll also be doing some intensive work on our end to make sure that your financials are in order.  

It is very rare that a client comes to us and their books are what we would call “squeaky clean”. It’s probably one of the main reasons you’ve engaged us in the first place. This is a sprint behind the scenes and usually requires significant assistance from you. We cannot do our job without all the necessary financial information. And we need your help to get it. The #1 reason clients may not get through to the final step in 90 days is missing information. Things like: deposit/expense inconsistencies, loan documents, bank and credit card statements and even prior tax returns are critical to creating that solid foundation.  

Once we’re done though, we’ll have the final meeting of that 90 days: the financial statement review. 

Financial Statement Review 

This is a big day! We’ll go through your “new” financial statement line by line. We have two types of clients, some that are quite familiar with financial statements and others who may be seeing one for the first time. Either way is OK!  There are two goals:  

  1. Understand the up-to-date financials  
  2. Ensure we’re in alignment with you on your financial goals 

When we have both of those items accomplished, we will talk about how the rest of the year will go. Most of our clients formally meet with us about 3 times a year as was discussed when you first reached out to us. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, more frequent conversations are necessary. And that is just fine with us!  We do find that 3 times a year is a good frequency that will allow us to properly provide advice and keep communication open without monopolizing too much of your time.  

That’s the beauty of this 90 day sprint! After you’re done, we’ll have everything we need to create a clear and cohesive picture of your business. This in turn allows us to provide sound and timely business and tax advice. AND, timely filing of those tax returns! 

Ready to start this conversation? We can’t wait.  


For a more in depth look at what you should expect from your accountant long-term, check out our article What does your accounting firm actually do for you every month?

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