- Case Study -

Verity CPAs

Hawaii-based Verity CPAs outsourced their pre-accounting tasks to Botkeeper and are taking full advantage of the results.

Verity CPAs_Case Study-v4

Verity CPAs Onboards 7 Clients to Botkeeper & Gets 80 Hours Back

With a new acquisition that brought both accounting and tax services under the firm, Verity CPAs needed to find a way to automate outdated manual processes, perform catchup bookkeeping for the months they had fallen behind because of tax season, and create new bandwidth for their staff to focus on higher-value services. By implementing the Botkeeper solution, Verity CPAs has saved 80% of their staff's time on their first 7 clients onboarded to Botkeeper, and they’ve gotten back over 40 hours on write-up work for a single tax client using Botkeeper’s Rapid Write-Up solution. The firm is now in a position to offer its staff more advisory positions, turn some of their audit clients into tax clients, and prepare for tremendous growth with Botkeeper.

 

Dustin Verity founded Verity CPAs in 2012. As a sole practitioner, he wanted to create an audit practice that was centered around providing the highest quality service to his clients. In 2018, after identifying a gap in service that he could provide his audit clients, he decided to acquire a specialized bookkeeping and tax firm. With the acquisition came a staff of 2, many clients, and some antiquated practices. 

 

“After our first client, we onboarded another 2 clients, and then 4 more after that,” Dustin said. “We are seeing a huge ROI. For the 7 clients that we used to spend about 100 hours doing their bookkeeping each month, I now spend only 20% of that time. Botkeeper has proven itself out. It just gets easier over time.”

 

A year after the acquisition, Dustin and Verity CPAs’ Tax Director Alicia Spencer decided to dive into the tax and bookkeeping side of the business, and they quickly realized that they needed a solid process to create new efficiencies. Their staff could not serve dual purposes—bookkeeper and tax preparer—because the bookkeeping was falling behind. After exploring an outsourcing accounting firm in the Philippines that seemed to have higher margins and error, plus far too many questions to manage, Dustin decided to go back to an automated solution that had been recommended to the firm back in 2019 at the ENGAGE conference. That solution was Botkeeper.


Since implementing Botkeeper, Verity CPAs has been able to save 80 hours per month on their first 7 clients onboarded to the Botkeeper platform. They’re committed to bringing all-new bookkeeping clients straight onto Botkeeper and have eliminated their staff serving dual purposes. They’re moving into the refreeze stage of change and looking forward to a future of growth with Botkeeper. 

Hours saved on 7 bookkeeping clients per month with Botkeeper

Hours saved on 1 tax client using Botkeeper’s Rapid Write-Up solution

%

Of reconciliation work handed over to Botkeeper

A Bookkeeping Firm Acquisition Changed Verity CPAs’ Growth Strategy

 Verity CPAs is a full-service certified public accounting firm led by Dustin Verity. They specialize in both assurance and attest services and provide high-quality accounting, audit, tax, and business consulting services to privately held businesses and organizations throughout the states of Hawaii and California. They pride themselves on providing the highest levels of quality, partner management involvement, and responsiveness to their clients. The firm is based in Honolulu and was founded in 2012. 
 

“For our tax clients, we have started to use Botkeeper’s Rapid Write-Up solution,” Alicia said. “It has significantly taken away the manual input time, saving us 40 hours on just one client’s write-up work. With 220 tax clients and only 5 on Botkeeper so far, there’s a ton of potential here.”

 

Since 2012, Verity CPAs has grown from a practice of 1 to a staff of 20 across two offices. Part of the firm's internal and external growth can be attributed to an acquisition in 2018 that brought a specialized bookkeeping and tax firm under the Verity name. This acquisition helped to broaden their service offering to their existing audit clients and bring in a full roster of bookkeeping businesses that the acquired firm was already servicing.

 
“The pace of growth was slower when we were just focusing on the audit side of things,” Dustin said. “We decided to add the accounting services and tax work through the acquisition. That’s when things really started taking off for Verity. There started to become more synergies because a client who we may have only been servicing for audit, we could now offer them bookkeeping and tax work. It was huge and started to propel our growth.”
 

While the acquisition was starting to turn the wheel on Verity CPAs’ growth for its existing clients, there was also a collection of bookkeeping clients that Verity took on with the acquisition.The firm decided it would be best to keep business running as usual for the first year for these acquired clients.

 

“When we first acquired the other firm, four of their staff who were already very involved in the acquired clients’ bookkeeping came with them,'' Alicia Spencer, Tax Director at Verity explained. “We decided that for the first year we were just going to follow what the predecessors were doing, letting them work autonomously. We didn't want to rock the boat too much since they already had their processes in place and were regularly checking in with their bookkeeping clients.”

 

Manual Bookkeeping Was Holding Verity CPAs Back

With business functioning as normal for the newly acquired clients, manual processes would soon put more work on Dustin and Alicia, who were already overworked.
 

“Our bookkeepers were just using an excel checklist to ensure the month-end was completed for each client,” Alicia said. “When we decided to bring in less-experienced bookkeeping staff to help support bookkeeping clients, Dustin and I had to step in. We were spending so much time monitoring the work. It was taking away from our ability to do the advisory work we wanted to be doing.”

 

As Dustin and Alicia spent more time on the bookkeeping side of the house, they soon were looking for ways to streamline processes. They noticed that even with some already in place, having staff on both bookkeeping and taxes would not pan out; they needed a better solution.

 

"I think our staff has really enjoyed that Botkeeper has allowed them to move up in their roles. They aren’t so consumed in day-to-day reconciling because we handed that all over to Botkeeper, so now they can really look at their clients' books from a big picture standpoint. They can be more advisory than transactional.” Alicia said.

 

“In 2020, we were growing pretty quickly, and we didn't have the additional bandwidth to do both the taxes and the bookkeeping work at the same time, even with processes in place,” Dustin said. “We implemented Jetpack Pro and some additional procedures, but we were still struggling with our bookkeepers serving a dual purpose: bookkeeper and tax preparer. I would ask the staff about the status of the bookkeeping clients in June, July, and August, and they would tell me they were still closing out November, December of the previous year. It was becoming a big problem.”

 

With a backlog of bookkeeping, Dustin started to worry about how his team was delivering on the service they had promised their clients.

 

“We really needed to find a solution to help backfill some of the spreadsheet work and the reconciliation work to free up our staff to do more value-added, higher-level work,” Dustin said. “We didn’t want to run into any service issues. We wanted to make sure we were providing the quality service we were promoting to our clients.”

 

 

Verity Discovers That Not All Outsourced Solutions Are the Same

Upon being introduced to Botkeeper in 2019 at the ENGAGE conference, Alice was excited about the possibility of incorporating Botkeeper into their operational strategy. However, this reality would not come to fruition until after their acquisition in the summer of 2020.

 

“After meeting Botkeeper at the ENGAGE conference in 2019, Alice came back and told me about Botkeeper,” Dustin explained. “She was really excited about what Botkepeer could do for Verity, but initially when we met with the team, Botkeeper was too expensive a solution for us.”

 

So they looked for another solution and ended up going with an outsourced bookkeeping solution overseas.

 

“We visited an outsourcing firm in the Philippines,” Dustin said. “We had originally looked at this firm to see how they could help out with audit services because we had been looking to improve margins. We had moved forward with them on servicing our audit clients, so we were already pretty familiar with their products. Upon using them for bookkeeping, there were inconsistencies with how they coded and recorded transactions each month. They loved booking things to retained earnings, and as an auditor, this was a pet peeve of mine. There were a lot of questions that seemed to be common sense to me. It didn’t seem like the staff was learning the books. I would get the same questions on how to code a certain transaction month after month.”

 

Outsourcing was not the right solution for Verity CPAs, so they came back to Botkeeper to see if they could make the terms work.

 

“At Verity, we're always on the lookout to improve process animation and make sure our ROI will justify it,” Dustin explains. “We had eliminated outsourcing, and we knew we wanted to make Botkeeper work. In the summer of 2020, I reached back out to Botkeeper, and we were able to negotiate terms that worked for both of us! We were long overdue.”

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Testing the Power of Botkeeper on a Complicated Client

With the contract signed, Dustin decided to test out the power of the Botkeeper solution by jumping into the deep end.

 

“I started with a more complicated bookkeeping client who had multiple accounts, stuff coming in from all over the place, a lot of transactions, fast-paced,” Dustin explained. “I picked this client to test on Botkeeper because I knew that the relationship with the client could handle some hiccups with onboarding if there were any.”

 

During onboarding, Verity CPAs spent a bit longer with Botkeeper than they had anticipated on their first test client, but the payoff was well worth it.

 

“A lot of times there's this thought that, ‘Okay, I’m going to take on this solution, and it's a magical black box,’” Dustin said. “‘You just give them access, and it'll be done right.’ It was a little bit more work upfront than what I had anticipated or thought was going to be needed, but then after I got through some of the onboarding and some of the hiccups here and there, I learned about Botkeeper’s capabilities and the expectation from Verity. Things started moving really easily. I decided to bring Alicia in to have her start learning the Botkeeper process and thinking through which other clients we could bring onto Botkeeper.”

 

Implementing Botkeeper Led to Unparalleled Results

To date, the team has successfully onboarded 7 clients and has seen an 80% reduction in time spent bookkeeping because of Botkeeper.

 

“After our first client, we onboarded another 2 clients, and then 4 more after that,” Dustin said. “We are seeing a huge ROI. For the 7 clients that we used to spend about 100 hours doing their bookkeeping each month, I now spend only 20% of that time. Botkeeper has proven itself out. It just gets easier over time.”

 

close-up-account-working-about-financial-with-calculator-office-calculate-expenses-accounting-concept-30

 

Verity CPAs didn’t just stop at bookkeeping clients. They took advantage of Botkeeper’s Rapid Write-Up solution and saw a 40-hour time savings on a single client's write-up work.

 

“For our tax clients, we have started to use Botkeeper’s Rapid Write-Up solution,” Alicia said. “It has significantly taken away the manual input time, saving us 40 hours on just one client’s write-up work. With 220 tax clients and only 5 on Botkeeper so far, there’s a ton of potential here.”

 

Beyond an amazing ROI for both bookkeeping and tax clients with Botkeeper, Verity CPAs now has a new outlook for all new clients they bring into the firm, and their staff is feeling the impact. 

 

“Botkeeper has allowed us to upload what they need, and they take care of the rest,” Alicia said. “It’s saving us a ton of time, and we no longer have to do any of the reconciling. Our initial thought when we brought on Botkeeper was that for all new clients, we would learn their books and then put them on Botkeeper. Now we are so comfortable with Botkeeper, we just bring them straight onto the Botkeeper platform. I think our staff has really enjoyed that Botkeeper has allowed them to move up in their roles. They aren’t so consumed in day-to-day reconciling because we handed that all over to Botkeeper, so now they can really look at their clients' books from a big picture standpoint. They can be more advisory than transactional.”

 

Botkeeper provided Verity CPAs with a support team to help them thrive.

 

We have been blown away with the responsiveness of the entire Botkeeper team but especially our Growth Partner, Kori,” Dustin said. “We can email her any time of day, and within 24 hours she gets back to us with an answer. The Botkeeper customer service teams are incredibly dedicated to their work, and we feel so lucky to have them to work with.”

 

Verity has reached the next level in their Botkeeper stage of growth, transferring the Botkeeper champion ownership to their staff.

 

“When we first brought on Botkeeper, Dustin and I were the champions,” Alicia said. “Now, we have trained two of our staff to take on this role. In under two weeks, they were up and running with their Botkeeper knowledge and were ready to scope the next round of clients using the Botkeeper Scoping Tool. It's definitely freed up my time to focus on higher-value services for our clients, and now I can punt all new clients to our Botkeeper champions to get them up and running with ease. I am so pleased Botkeeper was so easy for our staff to jump right into.”

 

Verity Sees a New Future of Growth With Botkeeper

Now that Verity CPAs has completed the 2020 tax season, they’re exploring the capabilities of Botkeeper and are looking forward to deploying more Botkeeper benefits to their clients.

 

“When I had some downtime after tax season, I was looking at Botkeeper’s reporting packet and the Client Portals,” Alicia explained. “I was so impressed! I really think our clients would be incredibly keen on being offered both Botkeeper’s reporting and access to their Client Portals. I would love to get to a state where clients can access their own financials and we utilize the communication tools within the Portal when we need something from them. We have several clients in mind that we want to move onto Botkeeper once we transition them onto the Xero GL. I keep telling Dustin we should move all of our existing clients onto Botkeeper. I am ready!”

 

Botkeeper is preparing Verity CPAs for their next phase of growth.

 

“We plan on bringing at least 3 more existing clients to Botkeeper this year,” Dustin said. “I would love to continue to grow out the accounting and tax service lines for the business. We continue to get referrals for these services, and now, because we have Botkeeper, we have what we need to continue to support our growth.”

 

Indeed the future looks a bit brighter for Verity CPAs, and as a result, they’re planning on maximizing growth by freezing their practices.

 

“I can explain the Botkeeper implementation into Verity in terms of the three stages of Lewin’s Change Management: unfreeze, change, refreeze,” Dustin said. “We are currently at the tail end of the change stage. Everyone at the firm is on board. We have buy-in. We have experience under our belt. Our staff is excited about our future with Botkeeper. We are now ready to head into the refreeze stage. Botkeeper is now part of our culture and best practices, and it will be for a very long time.”

 

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