Use this past season to build a better client base
We get it: the first four months of the year are a slog for accountants. Clients seemed MIA for...
Javier Goldin founded Goldin Group CPAs after spending years as a CFO for an international nonprofit. He wanted to create a firm that was tech-savvy and offered customizable service packages that met his clients’ individual needs. After experiencing a record 30% growth in both 2019 and 2020, and being faced with an extremely competitive hiring landscape, Javier and director of operations Ruby Zhang knew they needed to find a solution to support the growing firm.
"For us to have done this internally, it would have taken a dedicated bookkeeper working full-time on this one client's books over a month to get it done. We decided to put them straight on Botkeeper, and in under a week, Botkeeper did all of the categorizing. On this one client, Botkeeper saved us 120 hours of labor! This was when we knew how fortunate we were to have Botkeeper as a Partner.”
Hours per month saved on their first 30 clients on Botkeeper
In server fees saved yearly with Botkeeper’s QBO connection
Hours of clean-up work saved for 1 single restaurant client with Botkeeper
Since implementing the Botkeeper solution, Goldin Group CPAs has been able to save 120 hours per month on their first 30 clients they’ve onboarded to Botkeeper. They have made a commitment to switching the majority of their bookkeeping clients onto QBO because of its compatibility with Botkeeper, a decision that helps eliminate a $6,000 cost to maintain the QBD server. The firm is now focused on growth objectives for 2022, which is to expand their controller and CFO-level services, bring on more nonprofit and government contract clients, and to onboard 30 more clients onto the Botkeeper Platform.
Goldin Group CPAs is an accounting firm that combines CPA knowledge with state-of-the-art technology, led by Javier Goldin. Prior to starting the firm, Javier was a CFO of a large international nonprofit, a sector which his team of talented individuals focuses on today, in addition to the professional services industry and DCAA compliance accounting. Goldin Group CPAs transform the way businesses capture and view information, operate, and achieve their goals. Their menu of services includes transactional, virtual controller, virtual CFO, payroll, tax, and CAS services. They offer several packages to clients that can be customized to a business’ needs and allow them to expand on their services as their business grows. The firm is located in Bethesda, MD, and was established in 2009.
Ruby Zhang started her career with the firm in 2015 as an intern. After receiving her master's in accounting, she stayed with the firm and quickly moved up the career ladder. As Ruby's career thrived at Goldin Group CPAs, so did the firm, doubling in size and seeing a tremendous annual revenue growth increase of 30% year-over-year in both 2019 and 2020. The firm was steadily bringing in 2 to 3 large clients per month, plus some smaller clients, bringing their total bookkeeping clients to 140 in 2020. In addition, they also had tax clients they were supporting.
"After seeing Botkeeper’s presentation at the DCPA conference, it really began to make us think about what automation and a platform could do for our firm. We went back and started circulating the idea of Botkeeper’s AI solution.”
With such immense growth came the associated growing pains. Soon enough, Goldin Group CPAs was feeling the pressure that they had taken on more clients than they could handle and that their promise to provide customized service packages for each client's individual needs could not be maintained.
“What I really love about working at Goldin Group CPAs is that when we work with a client, it isn’t about looking at numbers and recording the numbers,” Ruby said. “We strive to really understand the client's operations so we can provide the best advice from a financial standpoint, funding standpoint, or whatever standpoint they need our support from. We want to build out the accounting infrastructure for the clients, and we believe that our accounting team should help inform and strengthen business operations for the client. In 2019 we were so excited we were bringing on all these new clients, but we wanted to make sure we were fulfilling our promise of providing a customized service package that matched the clients needs. This was part of why these firms chose us over our competitors, and it was hugely important that we delivered on our promise.”
Faced with larger and more complex client needs, Goldin Group CPAs didn’t have the staff they needed to support their growing practice. They considered hiring more accountants, but the competitive job market and the time and resource strain on the firm made hiring a non-viable solution.
“It wasn’t not only the number of clients, but the size of the clients that started to cause some concerns,” Ruby said. “With each new large client came a higher volume of work. Although there were 20 of us, double the staff from when I originally joined Goldin Group CPAs in 2015, we still seemed to be short-staffed to truly support these large clients and offer them the customized service packages that best fit their needs. We are small but nimble, but the workload was just too large for our team to handle on their own. We were suddenly faced with this huge need to bring on more accounts to service these large clients. We were struggling to find good candidates. The job market is just so hot for good candidates; they have so many options. We also don’t have an HR department at Goldin Group CPAs, so our managers and partners had to be very involved in the hiring process, taking time away from their regular work. Then when we did hire and train someone, within a year or two they would leave, and then we would have to start the process all over again. It was a nightmare.”
After meeting Botkeeper CEO Enrico Palmerino at the Digital CPA conference, Goldin Group CPAs found a new option to consider to help solve their growing pains, artificial intelligence via Botkeeper.
“Meeting Botkeeper at the conference was a huge turning point in our thinking,” Javier said. “An automated solution wasn’t even something we had at this point. We had considered outsourcing our bookkeeping service to a lower-level bookkeeping company with a lower cost, but we really could never pull the trigger because of the errors and oversight associated. Then we met Enrico. Botkeeper expanded the options we had to solve our problems. After seeing Botkeeper’s presentation at the DCPA conference, it really began to make us think about what automation and a platform could do for our firm. We went back and started circulating the idea of Botkeeper’s AI solution.”
“We started with a test pilot with Botkeeper consisting of 2 clients,” Ruby said. “One was a for profit client using QuickBooks Online and the other was a nonprofit client using Xero. We wanted to see what the experience was like for these 2 clients having such different needs. The trial lasted about two months, and we were so thrilled with Botkeeper, we decided to bring on 30 more clients! Now Botkeeper is doing transaction categorizing, class tracking, reconciliation, and monthly financial reports in our clients own unique format!”
With excitement building around the possibility of using automation to support existing and new clients, the Goldin Group CPAs team did a cost-analysis to compare Botkeeper against other solutions.
“At Goldin Group CPAs, we are always looking for the latest technology and software for our clients, constantly reviewing accounting, payroll, and expenses systems for the best,” Javier said. “We decided to do a cost-analysis to see which clients would benefit from the AI automation. Our evaluation included looking at the revenue level to see how much of the work could actually be leveraged with Botkeeper’s solution. We then compared Botkeeper to an outsourcing bookkeeping service, bringing in a new bookkeeper or accountants, and lastly, some other AI solutions. Botkeeper was the clear winner from both a cost perspective and a technology perspective. Botkeeper would save us 30% in salary from hiring a full-time bookkeeper and ensure higher levels of accuracy over outsourcing. Three months after initially meeting Enrico, we reached out to Botkeeper because we were ready to take the plunge!”
Goldin Group CPAs decided to onboard two distinct types of clients during their pilot, a for-profit client and nonprofit client—both with different needs
“We started with a test pilot with Botkeeper consisting of 2 clients,” Ruby said. “One was a for-profit client using QuickBooks Online and the other was a nonprofit client using Xero. We wanted to see what the experience was like for these 2 clients having such different needs. The trial lasted about two months, and we were so thrilled with Botkeeper, we decided to bring on 30 more clients! Now Botkeeper is doing transaction categorizing, class tracking, reconciliation, and monthly financial reports in our client's own unique format!”
Botkeeper has allowed Goldin Group CPAs the ability to bring on any client with any type of books, including those who need multiple months-worth of catch-up work.
“What really solidified how much support we now had with Botkeeper was when we had a new restaurant client come to us in May of 2020,” Ruby said. “They had just opened their doors in January, and they needed us to do their catchup work back to when they opened. This consisted of categorizing about 500 transactions per month for the last 5 months. For us to have done this internally, it would have taken a dedicated bookkeeper working full-time on this one client's books for over a month to get it done. We decided to put them straight on Botkeeper, and in under a week, Botkeeepr did all of the categorizing. On this one client, Botkeeper saved us 120 hours of labor! This was when we knew how fortunate we were to have Botkeeper as a Partner.”
"For Goldin Group CPAs, it wasn’t even the cost savings, it was about our team making a commitment to move to the cloud so our clients could assess their books from anywhere at any time. Botkeeper was really the push we needed to make this a reality. They were the push to help us build our firm for the future.”
For Goldin Group CPAs, it wasn’t just about supporting their bookkeeping client base; they also saw Botkeeper aiding them in creating their cloud-based firm of the future.
“Botkeeper made us realize the immense value of using QuickBooks Online over QuickBooks Desktop,” Ruby said. “By moving all clients from QBD to QBO, we now could consider them all candidates for Botkeeper service and allow them to potentially leverage the power of automation. To date, we have moved about 95% of our clients onto QBO and were able to get rid of our server that was needed for QBD hosting, saving us $500 a month. But for Goldin Group CPAs, it wasn’t even the cost savings, it was about our team making a commitment to move to the cloud so our clients could assess their books from anywhere at any time. Botkeeper was really the push we needed to make this a reality. They were the push to help us build our firm for the future.”
"We always want to have the latest technology, and Botkeeper’s continual improvement in their platform reaffirms that our firm and our clients will always have the latest and best technology to work with.”
Goldin Group CPAs now screens all new clients to see if they are a good fit to bring onto Botkeeper. They are also focused on hiring at the next level.
“If we did not have the time savings brought on by Botkeeper, Goldin Group CPAs would not be able to accept new clients,” Ruby said. “That’s a direct indicator of the power of Botkeeper. The first thing we think of now when we onboard new clients is not, ‘Do we need to hire someone?’ but rather, ‘Can we bring this client onto Botkeeper?’ It is a complete mindset change for the firm. Because we have Botkeeper taking care of the bookkeeping, we are saving about 4 hours per client per month! When it comes to hiring, we no longer have to hire bookkeepers and can focus on finding more experienced accountants. These more seasoned accountants provide more value-add to our firm and can look at the client’s books from a review and analyze perspective instead of being in the weeds.”
Botkeeper has created the capacity Goldin Group CPAs needed to handle their existing clients and now focus on their goals.
“We plan to move another 30 clients on to Botkeeper in the next year, bringing our total clients to 60,” Ruby said. “Botkeeper has allowed Goldin Group CPAs to get back to focusing on our goals, which include being able to offer more controller and CFO-level services. In addition Botkeeper is allowing us to focus on growing our nonprofit client base, and now that we are NB certified in the state of Maryland, we want to start to focus on government contracting. Government contracting is a new opportunity for our firm. We don’t know how much growth we are going to get here, but we know we can handle it because we have Botkeeper. Botkeeper can help us with the fundamental bookkeeping pieces.”
Being a Botkeeper user tester has helped affirm Goldin Group CPAs in their decision to bring on the solution in the first place.
“I greatly enjoy meeting with the Botkeeper Product team,” Ruby said. “It is awesome to see the features in development and to be able to give my feedback from the end-user perspective. It is right up my alley with my background in mathematics, so I always find it exciting to see the back end of Botkeeper. User testing has strengthened the Goldin Group CPAs team's confidence that we have chosen the right partner that aligns with our firm goals. We always want to have the latest technology, and Botkeeper’s continual improvement in their platform reaffirms that our firm and our clients will always have the latest and best technology to work with.”
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