QuickBooks Consulting (QBC) fits neatly in the category of expanding your practice because it is one of the preferred seminars offered to get acquainted with prospective clients. How you enter this field and how to maintain it is the key to your success. First know that in general you cannot maintain your normal billable rates on QBC engagements. The strategy is to acquire clients that will also need you for taxes and financial planning. Therefore, the premier QBC experts are not necessarily CPAs or EAs. It is something you do because you enjoy it, and/or you have someone on staff (or someone you can refer to) who charges an hourly rate as much as half of your normal rate. In that case you have a terrific advantage providing your clients a valuable service. This point was emphasized by small business QB user Jae Leist, from Lakewood, Colorado.

"I wish my CPA would do all the QuickBooks entries for me but that would be too expensive,” said Leist. Leist emphasized that it would be far better to have everything in the same place, rather than having to, "make a separate call for taxes, a separate call for QB consulting and another call to the financial planner.”

The AICPA has emphasized financial planning for CPAs for 25 years. It is almost a mission.

"Why should someone who is less experienced in taxes be doing financial planning, when CPAs already have the skill set," said Jerry Love, at the annual AICPA High Net Worth at Las Vegas conference in May. The same analogy works for QBC. Who knows taxes and accounting better than CPAs?

If you are interested, there are several resources to help you. The place to get started is www.accountants.intuit.com. You can sign up for the QB ProAdvisor program for $549 a year or $49.99 a month. You obtain free software, discounts on software, and U.S. based support. The software includes QuickBooks Accountant, QB for Mac, QB Point of Sale, QB Enterprise Solutions for Accountants with advance inventory, and now QB Online Accountant. The discounts on software purchases for clients range from 25% - 40% depending on your certification level. The marketing tools include engagement letters. You can obtain a free listing on the Intuit Advisor profile page if you choose to become certified. Technical support includes unlimited chat and 90 days of phone support which is unlimited if you become certified.

The Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor (CQPA) requires a certification exam. The nine courses to prepare for the exam are free and online. They are designed to take between 16-20 hours to complete. However, “the more you already know about QuickBooks the less time it will take,” said CQPA Reesa McKenzie.

There are a number of conferences that emphasize QB consulting. One of the most widely attended is the The Sleeter Group’s Accounting Solutions Conference. There will be sessions on other small business accounting packages as well. Doug Sleeter, the founder of the conference, established his authority several ago when he reviewed the Microsoft Small Business Accounting product and stated, "It won’t last".

Sleeter even provided advice to Microsoft, which they did not adopt. Sleeter was right. Microsoft was wrong. Intuit can now add another chapter to their book on how they slayed the giant in the marketplace. The Accounting Solutions Conference will be held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas November 3-6 this year. On November 3rd a class will be taught be Pat Harley about how to implement a step-by-step seminar system to attract new clients. Refer to www.sleeterconference.com.

Another QBC expert is Joe Woodward. He provides consulting, seminars, and manages the National Advisor Network of Certified QB ProAdvisors. You are able to attain the Master QB Consultant designation through this affiliation. The Scaling New Heights conference will be held on June 23-26 in Orlando. Refer to www.scalingnewheights.com. One of the speakers at Woodward’s events is Michelle Long, CPA, who wrote The Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Growing a QuickBooks Consulting Business. Long is an Advanced ProAdvisor who founded the Successful QuickBooks Consultants group on LinkedIn, another terrific resource on how to attract and retain clients.

Once you add QuickBooks Accountant to your computer, you are able to batch reclassify transactions and email journal entries to your clients. It is a small inconvenience to keep all your clients on the same version you are using. The demand exists and the resources are plentiful. It is rare to find an accountant without a client using QuickBooks. QBC is not only a proven method to expand your practice, but you can keep your current clients happy making one call to you their most trusted advisor.

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