In my entire life I never had to worry about gaining weight. But when I was 26, I started seeing more and more of my gut and realized that I need to start watching what I eat before this thing gets out of control.
And I want to let you know, it wasn’t an easy process to just pick up and go to the gym.
I had no idea what I was doing.
It took me quite a while to figure out what the habit I needed to get into, to start consistently eating well and hitting the gym.
I first tried to go for an entire year and failed over and over.
Went a few days, threw up, then stopped.
Tried going just to run on the elliptical. Which now looking back, I realized that it did nothing to help my end goal of losing weight and getting fit again.
So I struggled some more.
One of the mindset realizations I had was how quickly my response of “do I want to go to the gym today” became “no”. I would come up with excuses as to why I would avoid the gym today.
After that realization, I decided to come up with things I could do to make this work consistently and for my schedule.
Initially I started going 7 days a week. It gave me 0 options to avoid the gym today. I had to go.
The problem I ran into there was I didn’t know what to do at the gym. So I just ran on the eliptiocal and performed no resistance or weight training.
I clearly had no idea what I was doing and I also would wear the same swim trunks to the gym.
After floundering around for a while, I decided ok, I am really going to take this seriously.
I went and hired a trainer.
Someone who would come to my gym every single day of the week and train with me.
And this worked for a while as well.
We started to perform resistance training that become more and more intense than what I was used too.
But something still was off about this process.
The trainer that I had did not fit the criteria I wanted in a trainer.
This trainer was focused on more weight and protein shakes.
I wanted a lean, fit body that would last me into old age.
While I was working out with him, I injured my back. Which I have never had back problems, until I tried lifting weight that was too heavy for me.
After discussing this gruling process with one of my clients, my client recommended I follow his workout plan instead.
This client is about to be 60 years old…
With a 6 pack.
I’m 28, I don’t have a 6 pack.
Clearly he knows what he is doing.
I decided to take his workout plan and advice and fired my trainer.
And I’ve been crushing that for 8 months now.
It’s working wonders. 3 days a week. Full body training. Minimum amount of time needed for maximum long term results.
Exactly what I was looking for.
This client had results. 60 and 6 pack.
I decided he is who I want to listen too when it comes to longevity and training properly.
Because he did it himself and has RESULTS.
But I think the biggest thing I got from this whole working out thing is just whenever you want something just find someone who’s actually got the results.
If you want to make more money, you should probably find somebody who has results in making income and has a high net worth.
I basically have a rule that if the person does not have results in the area I am looking for help, I refuse to listen to them.
If you are overweight, I won’t take advice from you on how to properly stay in shape.
If you are broke and in debt, I won’t take advice from you on how to get wealthy and remain wealthy with a high net worth.
There’s no way that I’m going to take your advice on this topic and just move on to somebody else.
Whenever you’re looking to figure out how to do something, just look around at somebody that’s got results and just go to them.
Start drilling them with 50 questions, and even offer to pay them if you have to, but ignore the people that say that they can do it but don’t actually have what you want.
And when you find those couple of people that are actually doing exactly what you want, just surround them.
David Cristello, Founder of Jetpack Workflow, went from a social worker to an Accounting Influencer helping accountants with a painful part of building a successful practice: Managing The Workflow.
Andrew Argue sat down with David Cristello in Miami to discuss the in’s and outs of properly managing incoming and outgoing client service for bookkeepers, accountants, Tax Preparers and CFOs.
One of the key takeaways from today’s interview included David’s perspective on how to truly provide value to your clients…
Ask them about their pain points.
Develop a solution to help them fix said problem.
This is the exact concept that allowed David to understand a key problem many accounting firm owners face.
To build a successful accounting practice without letting any work fall through the cracks.
And then built a software specifically to solve this major pain point for firm owners.
To learn more about how to set up workflow within your firm, check out today’s interview.
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Andrew Argue, CPA: 00:01 Welcome everyone, Andrew Argue here and I’m here with David Cristello, the CEO and founder of Jetpack workflow and today we’re going to be talking a little bit about service delivery, workflow and hearing a little bit about David’s Story. So I mean David and I have known each other for a few years and I love his story. I’m going to let him tell it but I’m just going to preface it for a few seconds here. And it’s so unique because he actually, even though he’s sort of in the accounting industry, developing software, you know, working with accountants totally comes from like a non accounting background and I kind of learned a lot from him given how he got into this industry. I like I went through the traditional path, sorta took longer than I maybe should have, but you know, he literally came from being a social worker and when he first started working with accountants, he literally just interviewed hundreds of them to figure out like what are their problems, what are the challenges they’re having?
Andrew Argue, CPA: 00:46 And they’re all talking about workflow. All the kind of problems they have and he ended up developing and having one of the best software applications in the accounting industry for helping people actually deliver the services, fulfillment of the, of the services for the clients. And he did all that without any background in accounting. And I always found that fascinating. So I guess tell us a little bit about your story. How the heck you’ve Kinda got into this industry and are able to like help people without any sort of background. What the heck is going on? Because I think that’s fascinating. Taught me that that’s possible in ways I never would have thought, you know, years ago. Um, so tell us a little bit about your background, your story, how you got into doing this and how you learned so much about accounting to be able to develop these programs.
David Cristello: 01:21 Yeah, absolutely. So, uh, as you mentioned, I was a social worker for about two years and came across this belief that I still hold to this day, which is a great businesses solve painful problems. And so all I needed, all I needed was a painful problem to solve. It wasn’t so much about, you know, the money, the technology, the logo, the business card, the website, it was about, can you find something that is painful? And so I spent three months interviewing accountants. I sent them emails. I’m actually, the true, true story is I was tired of interviewing dentists. I needed to interview different industries. And other mouth, dentist, dentist are wonderful. Um, and I emailed, I did a google search, New York City accountant sky, you know, after I sent him an email and gave me a call and he spent 10 minutes and he goes, Hey, are you, are you the kid that sent me the email? Yeah, that was me because all right, here’s what I don’t like about quickbooks point of sale systems. And he just went on this 10 minute rant about point of sales systems. And I said, well, why don’t you use any of the existing ones? And goes, oh, they’re, they’re, you know, the thing about this one, it’s so horrible. And this one so horrible, you know, oh, how much time are you spending using these point of sale systems?
Andrew Argue, CPA: 02:31 People think it’s weird, like just the idea of getting in touch with a business owner and then just getting them to open up. But I’ve actually found that to be the case a lot. Like if you can actually get once you get somebody on the phone because sometimes people are closed off, but obviously you found a guy that was just a geyser and he just blurted it all out.
David Cristello: 02:47 This is the owners have pain like there, whether it’s surfaced or whether it’s kind of unconscious. It seemed with like kind of typical therapy, right? Like the really deep pain has probably been suppressed for years and years and years and owners are no different. They have business pain and their team or their spouse or their friends who don’t want to hear about it. And so when you give them the opportunity to talk about the pain, it’s almost therapeutic. And once they know that you’re not there to sell them something and you don’t have something in your back pocket and be like, Aha, I have a point of sale service or something like that. So once they felt comfortable, when I end up finding is after about 32 minutes of talking to somebody that felt really comfortable to say the big deep pain point,
Andrew Argue, CPA: 03:26 I’ve definitely found that to like that 30 minute, 35 minute mark is like, it’s almost like you can feel an emotional connection with the person even if it’s just like a video phone call. You’re like almost like friends now even. And you both kind of know it. Right? I don’t know if you’ve noticed that. Will you. Will you ask so many questions?
David Cristello: 03:42 Is they built a lot of trust. Like they didn’t know anything about me. They didn’t know that, you know, I was doing freelance marketing but I was still, you know, there’s a social worker. I was running tennis camps, I was doing all these random things. 30 [inaudible]. They didn’t ask me any questions, but they thought, you know, we’re really well-connected, which I think we were. I mean, I knew a lot about the business and the business owner. I mean, my goal was to spend 60 minutes on the call. I wouldn’t consider it a completed call unless it was at least after 30 minutes. And then
Andrew Argue, CPA: 04:10 how many accountants did you talk to before you started to kind of realize OK, workflow in service delivery and fulfillment was the area. Because I mean there’s a lot of things that accountants use for software. Like you could have developed accounting software, right? I mean like what, what was it specifically about the workflow? How, how did it click or when did it, like, Oh wow, that.
David Cristello: 04:29 So actually over over three months I had this whiteboard that was, you know, whatever, three feet wide, three feet high, and I put up 40 different pain points that I had heard in one of the top three ones was this thing called checklist management, which the first eight times on her checklist management, I thought this is not a problem. There’s a sauna with podio. There’s Trello, there’s base camp, like checklist is a, solved the pain point and then it got to the point where I kept hearing it over and over again and uh, there’s an owner who’s based in Pittsburgh where we’re, where we’re at, and he goes, this is the thing that keeps me up at night, right? So anytime I hear somebody who says this is what keeps me up at night,
Andrew Argue, CPA: 05:06 it’s in bed, like sweating, panicking, like I can’t go to bed, honey, my workflow, but it seriously
David Cristello: 05:14 outpouring of that and the, and the words they use this checklist management. I mean no business owner lies in bed at night thinking if only I had one more software app, then my life would be perfect. They think kind of the opposite. And so when he said one that keeps me up at night, the fact that I can’t manage our checklists and I’m thinking about getting something built for my firm because I can’t find anything. I said, well, I’ll come to your office. I’m going to show you all these tools. I’m going to document. You’re using these tools. I’ll share it with everyone else that you showed him, other tools that weren’t even yours. I try to convince them that this wasn’t a real pain point. At that point, I didn’t have anything.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 05:47 So you just kind of showed him other tools and you’re like, oh, you could fix it with this. And he walked through and said, no,
David Cristello: 05:52 didn’t believe it was painful. If it’s not a painful problem, then it’s a very risky venture. Right? It’s like selling people vitamins. It’s like, OK, you can tell people to take vitamin B and C and D. Right. But it’s not until, you know, some issue comes up. They take in. The whole concept is you want to sell the a painkiller. Yeah. You want to sell the Motrin, right? That’s when somebody actually wants something. So when I sat down with them, um, you know, like most accountancy has two monitors, name is, well, it’s still a customer and he opens up a second monitor and accountants are absolutely wonderful. I think you will appreciate this, uh, in that if you can’t find a solution for it, they will create. It’s almost a work of art spreadsheet for it in place and I know you created these immaculate spreadsheets as well.
David Cristello: 06:36 I mean we almost frame them hundreds of them and so it was no different and he shows us the spreadsheet and column a was a, you know, 500 clients and every subsequent column was all the different services you needed to track payroll schedules and bookkeeping schedules, tasks, get those, created his own workflow tool. But it kind of sucked. Anytime somebody is using a spreadsheet, calendar, email posted note, there’s pain there. That’s, you know, if I was to restart it, I’d say, what do you spreadsheets for? Because you know, there’s just pain sitting in there they haven’t solved. And so when I tried to get, we’ll set up on a sauna or base camp and we’ll start with the sauna because that’s probably the nicest one. You know, first thing there’s no client profile. So he goes, where do my 500 clients go? And I was like, well you can create it as a project goes with each client is about 10 recurring services they need to manage and each service has its own checklist checklist as two to three people. Each checklist has its own due date. And I was like, well if you create 500 projects and then create a task of the service and then a sub-task of the checklist and then assign those out, you can get there and then we’ll turn to. He goes, well we’re going if I do that.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 07:38 So at this point, this guy, right, he’s not even your client, you don’t have an application. He literally drove out to meet you in Saturday. I went to his, he went to his. So you went out to him and you sat that he lets you in his office, he’s taking off now a call and having you in the office and just to kind of just tell you stuff.
David Cristello: 07:53 Well I mean at this point I was kind of, you know, more or less a free consultant. And I was like, look, I know all these tools. How about I just implement one for you and I’ll document, I’ll share it with everyone else because I’m on the hunt for a painful problem. It’s not painful. I don’t want to solve it because I just think it’d be too risky. Like that’s why I went after businesses, not consumers. Consumers are finicky.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 08:11 It’s totally true. And I think the thing I love about your story and what I learned about it years ago when we first met is I was just like, you know, this guy broke into this industry, started working with these people and like, like that, like just not even needing to get paid at first. Just trying to figure out what is wrong, what is the problem that I can focus on. And what I loved about that was that was really the foundation is you obviously finally found it and then now you’ve kind of gone on this long journey to build out this whole software company, you know, thousands of customers, you know, like all this whole thing. But it all started from just sort of slogging along on one dude’s laptop in a spreadsheet.
David Cristello: 08:44 Yeah. Well, and then once, once, you know, the big thing was trying to convince him he didn’t need a tool. Right. And if, if you’re saying, I imagine you could do the same thing with accounting services. If you sit down with a business owner that has you up and says, all right, tell me about your service. Try to convince them why they shouldn’t use you as a provider. Said, well, can’t you just do this on your own? And then the owner’s going to say, oh my gosh, no, it takes me 10 hours a week. And like, you know, I was trying to get my kid brother to do it,
Andrew Argue, CPA: 09:07 to kind of sell you almost like tell you how bad it is. Like Oh, I can’t do this on my own and none of this stuff will work.
David Cristello: 09:12 It’s a way to extract the pain-points mean what worst-case scenario. They’re like, you know what? You’re right, and that’s the. And then that means you’re not solving a real problem there, at least for that business owner. But the flip side of it is that you actually start to quantify all the pain that’s going on and it puts you in a better position. So with will trying to convince him he didn’t need a toll and I didn’t have this, you know, Ninja sales tactic where it’s like I’m going to convince them to use a sauna so I can secretly build this tool six months down the road. Right. It was, I honestly thought a sauna would be the best tool for base camp or Trello. And when we realized, you know, he turned to me and he goes, well, even if we get this whole thing set up, I want to see all my bookkeeping clients with something due this Friday that hasn’t been started organized by my team. And I was like, well, you can’t really run any type of report or ask that question out of any of these tools. And when we looked at crm tools, salesforce and high rises basically.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 10:00 Then what was the question? The question was,
David Cristello: 10:02 so he specifically wanted to know. I mean, and there’s dozens of these, but it was show me all my bookkeeping clients, so category of clients, something due this Friday, yet that hasn’t been started, you know, status organized by my team.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 10:15 That is the question right there. Yeah. That was basically what he wanted.
David Cristello: 10:19 That’s his end destination. That’s just the have transparency over all of these moving parts because even if you’re running a small, narrow accounting tax, bookkeeping payroll from. I mean you have hundreds if not thousands of due dates. You need to manage it.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 10:33 Well and that’s what I love because I like jetpack workflow from like the software that you guys offer and everything. But that’s why I also love the story of how the business started because it’s so similar to the stuff that we teach our clients to work with is that if you can just narrow down onto like through all whenever you talk to, if you’re an accountant, you’re talking to your clients or in your case you were talking to accountants, you know, they’re going to tell you all these things. But how do you distill it down into that one sentence for that person, you know? And then different people have different ones. You want to find the common one around them. But that’s really it right there. It was just boom, you nailed what he needed and he couldn’t do it on his own. Right? He couldn’t do it with spreadsheets you couldn’t do with other tasks and he couldn’t do it with other tools. And so at that point it’s like, well, hey, you can either kind of throw in the rag and say, I’m just gonna live with this problem forever, right?
David Cristello: 11:15 Where he going to spend tens of thousands of dollars building his own. I mean, that’s where he got to because you know, when we did this, we didn’t interview with [inaudible], he was about to buy another accounting firm and he was like, why don’t feel comfortable acquiring the firm until I feel like I have visibility over these checklists, which is really, you know, having visibility over a standardized process throughout his firm. And when he told me that, I went back to all these other people that said checklist management was a problem. Said, hey, here’s will. This was his pain point. You know, this is what’s going to happen. You notice from if it doesn’t solve it is this guy, is this ring true to you? And they’re all like, yes, yes, yes. That’s what we mean by checklist management. So I drew up a pdf. I said, this is what we’re hoping to solve. If you know, if you don’t solve it, this is what your firm looks like. Now. If you continue to not solve it, this world will continue to look like we’re thinking about building a tool. You know, we’re creating a founding members program if you want to come on board. And from there we got 10 customers, they had a lifetime guarantee.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 12:09 Well this is what I love to because I actually saw years ago you showed me the pdf because a lot of times people, if people come to me right there, like I got to have the best proposal, I got to have the best engagement, I’ve got to have the best, most polished thing to present to a client in order for that client to feel like they want to work with me. Right. What I love about your story was I saw this, this pdf and I was like, this is crap, but it was terrible. But it was on point and because it was on point was on paying, it was on pain, it was on the pain point and it was right on the pain point. And so because it was, even though it was not the best thing, it wasn’t the best graphic design. It wasn’t the best for man.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 12:46 We called it checklist pro. Yeah, that’s right. I still have, we didn’t have a name because we’re like, well it’s a checklist tool, so I guess we’ll call it checklist pro was probably inspiring name and the graphic we got was from, you know, I think it was from 1982, but it was, it was hammered into me. Got them to pay when the software didn’t exist. They pay and they knew it didn’t exist in software. What I love about this too, this is what I love about this, is that accounting services, it’s like if somebody pays you for accounting services and then you get started in a week or two weeks or three weeks, that’s like kind of it’s going to get done quickly, but if you pay someone for a software tool in advance and they pay like a thousand dollars or something right now, anywhere from
David Cristello: 13:29 $15 to $2,500.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 13:31 Yeah. $15 or $2,500 for lifetime membership, right? Sometimes there’s prepay for a couple months all the way up to the lifetime. And what I love about that is, I mean software development isn’t like, OK, this is going to work in three weeks. I mean this might not even get started in three weeks because that was another question I wanted to ask you today is, you know, while we’re still talking about the story of jetpack workflow from that, the first time you got a customer to pay you for it, even though you had no software to help them solve their workflow and accounting problems. I’m really. How long was it until you actually got something that was workable that they could use?
David Cristello: 14:06 Yeah. So this is, this is the big, big learning. Finding painful problems is relatively easy compared to learn kind of how to do it once you learn how to get it out of your own way and ask questions because that’s, that’s the whole mental game. And that’s the whole trick of, you know, if you’re going to set goals to make calls or do consultations or whatever, make it at least 30 minutes
Andrew Argue, CPA: 14:24 rather than sort of selling the features of, of a potential app that you’d never developed. Right. Of Your services,
David Cristello: 14:29 right? I mean, nobody really cares. Right? Like a business owner is not laying in bed at night thinking like, well, if only, you know, things were reconciled one day sooner, then everything would be better. Right. There worried about cashflow. The worried about inventory. They’re worried about the sustainability of their business. They’re having all these worries about am I good enough to be a business owner? Right. I don’t, I didn’t. I don’t have an emba. Right. The financial statements were me. I can’t even read them. They’re not in plain English. Like this is the thing that’s keeping the business owner up at night, not how you actually complete the services. Um, that kind of got off topic there. But
Andrew Argue, CPA: 15:02 I mean basically one, one thing in there that you didn’t say that I thought was fascinating because you always refer to it as inventory, right? Which is, you know, inventory being that when we think about an accounting firm, their capacity fulfill because that what you. That’s the wording that you guys use.
David Cristello: 15:15 Yeah. It’s so different. So we’re on the, we’re on the concept of software, so I end up taking, you know, long story short, it took probably six months to get the first usable version out the door and then it took another nine months to really put something together that could go to mass market, mass market in some way. And then, you know, it wasn’t really until. And so we’ve been around for a couple of years but it wasn’t really until 20, 15, 2016 where we really started.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 15:41 I let that story too because so many people, you know, when I was first in accounting, I had never done sales. I’ve never done, you know, talking to somebody asked him for money and this is all extremely uncomfortable. But what I love about your story is you got paid upfront and you didn’t even deliver for six months and I talked to the council all the time and they’re very nervous to ask for money upfront. You know, they want to pay when the work is done or send an invoice or something, but they’re going to deliver it in like a week or two. You know what I’m saying? I’m like, you don’t even understand. I’m like, you know, do people out there that are getting paid up front that aren’t doing this stuff for six months.
David Cristello: 16:12 Right. And, and what I’m very adamant that, you know, as a, as a professional, you should try to get at least some percentage paid up front. I think it’s, you know, w we work with a lot of vendors and service providers at this point. I’m sure you do as well. And it’s actually a bit reassuring. It’s like, oh, we can put down 50 percent or a hundred percent. I mean, you, you know, assuming you suspect to customers,
Andrew Argue, CPA: 16:35 it’s real
David Cristello: 16:36 real. I mean, when you hire a service provider when we hire. So we, we, um, work with somebody to help with some of our financial forecasting. You know, I’d spoken with this guy, I mean amazing background and you know, we signed the contract and you know, he wanted to do whatever net 30. I was ready to pay him. I’ll pay you right now because I don’t want to think about in 30 days it’s like I trust you. I wouldn’t have hired you if I didn’t trust you and same with, you know, the, these firms. I could ask them for a dollar.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 17:04 Well, it’s weird. It’s. I don’t know if you’ve found this because obviously you guys are working with people online. Most of the people that we work with are working with people remote, but people that are working sort of remote and whatnot versus people that are working in person. I always find that people that are in person, it’s almost like there’s a higher level of skepticism there, especially in other industries like contractors or things like that and when people bring that, but I feel like people that are part of this sort of digital economy that are working with people remote, even though it, it should be less trustworthy. I find people are actually sort of more trustworthy in a strange way. It’s like it’s, it’s just a natural way of doing business that we’re going to pay for something when we start as opposed to like this, oh, I’m not gonna pay you. I’m going to try to screw you and you’re going to try to screw me. And we got to figure out ways to protect ourselves. It’s kind of old school.
David Cristello: 17:47 I think there’s a confidence. I think there’s, there’s, you know, body language is really tough, you know, if I’m sitting across from you and say, look, Andrew is going to be 10 grand, you’re going to pay today, I’ll give you a 30 day guarantee, you know, to do that, I’d probably have to say that in into the mirror 400 times. Just so uncomfortable hearing the words come out of my mouth. And so that’s another thing too, if you’re asking to pre-pay, you know, it’s like Tony Robbins talks about this a lot. If you have a belief, it leads to little action, which reinforces the belief essentially. And so if you are nervous about asking for pre pay, you’re not really good at the sales part of the consultation part of it. And literally the first time you say it’s a $10,000 up front is when you say to a prospect, that’s like going on stage. And the first time we played the song, yeah, there’s no practice these things in the mirror until they’re just natural grooves in your language and you totally. And business owners respect that. Like again, they don’t want to. I. So me personally, I don’t want to chase down invoices. I don’t want to pay and not think about it because I trust you. I’m sure you’re the same way. It’s just easier to.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 18:47 Well, and it’s one of these things I learned in business. It’s like you can. It’s that whole golden rule thing. It’s like you want to treat others the way you want to be treated. So if you’re the kind of person that pays up front, you’re the kind of person that pays in full. It’s easy to ask that from other people. If you’re the person that’s always trying to screw somebody trying to get a deal, then you feel like other people are doing that to you even when they’re not.
David Cristello: 19:03 Yeah, that’s right. You’re a reflection of your. Totally. Yeah.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 19:07 The thing I wanted to. So big takeaway, pre pay for everything. Yeah. Pre pay for everything for the next 30 days. You’re going to get to a restaurant. I’d be like, can I just prepay for this real quick? But like, no, no, no. We have to actually order something [inaudible] OK. Yeah. No, but OK. So I think that kind of, for me, I wanted to share a little bit of that story about how you guys got started. Obviously it all started with that key, you know, interviewing, finding the problem, working with people, getting them to commit to working with developing the software and now you know, thousands of customers, tons of features that variable.
David Cristello: 19:34 What is the pain, some of the software, the biggest risk in 2018 and beyond 19, 20, 20, 30, whatever is not, you know, if you can vote it’s should you build it because you can really build anything if you have enough time, money and, and, and you know you’re stubborn enough like you can get to it. But the big variable is, is a painful problem and there’s this concept of being a solution in search of a problem for many companies get stuck there.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 19:56 Well, and you guys started on the one thing which was the checklist, but now you’ve got a lot of other things to. Right? So I guess let’s start talking about that. I want to talk next about not the history of jetpack workflow, but really what you guys have learned as a company in terms of how accountants should manage the service delivery. Because I think when we were talking about this before we started this, that you know, you, you kind of do lead generation, you try to get people to talk to you, to work with you and do accounting services. Then you sell them, you have a consultation at the point in time where they agree and you start working together. You have to start fulfilling that work and that’s really where you guys do a great job is looking at OK, how do we fulfill and a track fulfillment and and like you said inventory.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 20:38 And so I want to talk about that and kind of what are some of the key things that you’ve learned. First I want to talk about when should people get started? Really having a good a internal system. You know, if you’re doing your first 10:40 return for your grandma Mimi, right, might not be, oh, we’ve got to have this amazing a workflow for the one, you know, she’s going to pay $100 and maybe we don’t need to freak out about it. So I guess what stage do we really need to start thinking about a full workflow system from your opinion, from what you’ve learned and what are the stages? Let’s start walking through that.
David Cristello: 21:06 So to your point, that’s where we think about. We think about everything that happens after the sale. That’s. We were very thoughtful and being, we call it recurring client management, crm, great sales pipeline, everything after service fulfillment. That’s where we want to think about now in terms of when to get started. You know, I think that if you’re just getting started, you know, having a bare bones spreadsheet of here’s the 10 steps I do to complete this just for your own organization,
Andrew Argue, CPA: 21:32 what sales number do you think is really. Have you seen when you’re getting to? Yeah, it’s different because some people have, you know, two clients that are doing a hundred grand a year, some people have 700 clients that are doing, you know, so it’s, I know it changes based on the client mix, but what have you typically seen?
David Cristello: 21:47 Honestly, I think it’s when you get to a place where you have made whatever income you were used to prior to starting your own firm, once you get to that point, 50 grand, 100 grand, 200 grand, whatever it is because usually at that point we start seeing this inflection of oh I need a higher. Right? Like usually when you’ve replaced your income or your strained in some way because you’re doing everything and that usually means you’re going to hire somebody part time at that point, you know, thinking through if you were on a desert island, you cannot communicate with this human being that you’re going to hire and then trust them with some of your client, you know, service fulfillment, what would you tell them? And that’s when it becomes real.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 22:28 So it tends to be, it tends to be when they have multiple team members, you’re saying that’s it’s not necessarily number of clients or sales, it’s multiple teams or
David Cristello: 22:36 it’s. It’s kind of a mixture because we, we have some firms that we work with and it’s just, it’s just the owner that’s the entire firm and they have 200 clients that there’s hundreds of thousands of dollars a year now at hundreds of clients. That’s a lot of due dates to manage. Arguably they should be hiring at that point, but so if you have that complexity where you’re really just trying to remember everything and get a calendar, I mean there’s so much waste in your business at that point. I mean that’s where once you’ve gotten past your own income level, if it’s a hundred grand which were previously making, that’s what you need to sustain in your family. It’s the sustainability of that because everything up until that point, I think you’re over optimizing. It’s a, it’s a distraction. Instead of going out and getting clients and doing consultation,
Andrew Argue, CPA: 23:18 why didn’t your interesting point you bring up that people think that once they’ve hit that level where they replace their income from a job that they feel like at that point they need to hire, um, you know, cause we talk about a lot like trying to take it as far as you possibly can without having to hire someone. So that way when you do hire someone, you still have a good amount of margin and a good amount of profit typically 200, 250,000 a year. But so many people hire at 60, 80, a hundred, a hundred, 20,000 a year and then they, they put a body on unprofitable engagements. They end up with no margin. But I think I, I think that’s a good point though, that people think that that’s what they need. And then also having the other person there does adding complexity. Oh did you do it? Did I do it? We really need to start seeing that.
David Cristello: 23:54 So you know, if they were making a hundred grand and they’re like I want to try to get the 500, just me, I think on that journey they should at least think about their day in a very systematic way. And then I, I’m not sure if that’s part of the sub, you know, what you subscribe to as well. But
Andrew Argue, CPA: 24:12 well I think w what we’re really talking about is 200 to 250,000 if you’re doing, you know, sort of the traditional monthly accounting services, outsource controller, outsource, cfo bookkeeping, these types of things. Or if you’re doing um, individual business tax, tax planning, these kinds of services. I mean it’s difficult to go above 250,000 without hiring. We’ve had some people do it, but you also got to be willing to just beat yourself up, you know, so you can get to 350. But I think too, I always recommend, I’m like, once you get to [inaudible], think about bringing somebody on a 200 to 2:50. Think about bringing somebody on. If you want to keep going to the next level. If you just want to run the business on your own, that 200, 250,000 level, you can run that all on your own, but it even makes sense at that level because of the number of clients will have to have a good system. That’s what I’m saying.
David Cristello: 24:55 It’s really. It’s really income based I think in some way and your previous skill set that you were trained to do, you know, got you to a point of hundred grand a year, let’s say, but now that you own your own business and you want to get to 200 k, you fundamentally have to become a different person to get to <unk>. Then you were 100 k and then usually means thinking a little bit more like a business owner. Thinking a little bit more about scalability, not not intense. We don’t need to do process diagrams on walls and posted notes, but you have to start thinking about what, how you’re spending your time and in order to maximize your time, you should think about systems in some way because if you’re looking at engagements, let’s say. I mean, we’re not talking about a ton of variety and services and you should, you should have some sort of checklist, some sort of understanding, some sort of package that you sell to somebody.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 25:43 This is not one. So when you guys, when somebody, when you think about workflow, client comes on, they’re going to start working what, what are, what are you guys based on your research based on the way that you guys think, what are the major buckets that people are coming through from the point of purchase to final deliverable for that month, for that one time, engagement for that annual tax return. Kind of walk us through what people should be thinking about in terms of their major buckets from your perspective.
David Cristello: 26:07 So from uh, so there’s, there’s different types of services they should think about that. And I’ll put that aside, you know, I’ll, I’ll taxes, bookkeeping, onboarding a client services. I think what we’ve seen is more impactful is to think about what you need to complete any engagement. Then usually step one is receiving information from a client and then putting these kinds of mini checkpoints. If we have not received all the information from the client, then we will not start the engagement because we see this a lot where in. Yeah, I mean, look, you’re just starting your firm. You just want to go out there and create the best experience. So you might jump into engagements too early. So what happens is if you don’t think about how you receive information or content from your client, then you start, you don’t have everything you need to complete it.
David Cristello: 26:53 So then you go back and it creates all this waste in the process. So to your point, just pecking at it, but never really decapitate oh yeah, I forgot to get blah, Blah Blah report. Then you go back and then that starts stop, creates a lot of waste in the workflow. And that’s where if you go hire a second person or third person there doing the start stops and they’re just being. And look the client, you know, it’s that phrase. You teach people how to treat you and if the client thinks it’s OK to just like, oh, here’s, here’s 30 percent of what you need, and there’s 40 percent. Yeah, I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it because let’s be out as clients are not excited to send accounting information to their accountant, right, or whatever information, but you have to be disciplined to not start until we have all the required materials or else you’re going to create all this waste when you’re actually completing.
David Cristello: 27:34 So there’s the receive information that comes in and tracking to make sure you got all of it and tracking it to make sure. Yeah, exactly. So if there’s five things you need request management, yes, request management, and then the next stage would be depending on your size of firm, you know how you triage the next step, so sometimes you might look at your capacity of your team and say, OK, that person can do to that person, do it, but we might have certain departments, oh, this is an accounting engagement, goes into account. Then they think about the actual fulfillment and completion of the work. There’s usually then a review process to make sure all the checks and balances are complete and then a then a process.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 28:07 We’ve got request management, actually doing the work, reviewing the work and the reason why I really want to harp on all these because I think you know whether or not you feel like you’re at the stage where you want to work with jetpack workflow user tool, which is great by the way. I mean I’m, you know, I’m familiar with it. And so if you’re at the stage or you just, you should be thinking about this. How do I want to design it? So, because even if you’re going to do it in a spreadsheet, do you even have a process of requesting things for client or are you literally just firing off 200 emails a day, you know, over and over and you’re just lost in it. So managing the request lists, actually tracking are we doing the work and marking off tasks and then after that, uh, getting it reviewed and then what’s next?
David Cristello: 28:47 Looping the client back in,
Andrew Argue, CPA: 28:48 giving it to the client and getting, you know, making sure they get the deliverable.
David Cristello: 28:50 The big variable with that. And I almost, I almost, you know, I put that workflow under the assumption you get paid upfront for those that do not get paid up front and you know, the final review might come with a payment, hey, your materials are done, you know, to access them or look we’ll send them over Friday but we need payment today or you can do it net 30 and you can, I mean payment is a big variable. I mean the prepay or having credit card information on file, which I think for some of these engagements makes perfect sense. Um, but if not, then you, then you obviously need to think about that.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 29:19 Well, and so in that journey of, you know, going through, I mean, where do you see people if they’re not using something like jetpack workflow just totally wasting their time. Is it the client communication? Is it, where is it? You know, it. Was it just the organization internally between did this get done? Did we review this? Like oh, we miss the deadline because no one forgot. Like where do you see that? People I guess just get sucked in with the most waste.
David Cristello: 29:44 Yeah, I horribly, there’s a lot, so, you know, part of it, I mean not getting all the materials up front, number one, not communicating with all the clients the same way. So some of them get into you and the other ones don’t, but maybe because you communicate, you know, one, you give a call when you’re given an email, when you get a text, when you just hope,
Andrew Argue, CPA: 30:01 you know, sending information into one centralized location for live. Well, and I love that whenever they’re getting the texts right, I always tell people, I’m like, why? Why does the client have access to text you? I’m like, this is like, this is, so that is just a recipe for disaster. You’re getting a text on like a Saturday night. Like, Oh crap, you know, so. But that’s true though. They’re getting them from Texas. You can facebook message, you know,
David Cristello: 30:20 fires. I mean th. So that’s a great example. If you have a lot of fires in your firm, there is most likely a process problem. Somebody texting you Saturday night, there was something missed along the way. Maybe it was a client communication expectations.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 30:36 People Complain, I hear these stories all the time. It’s due to, it’s like, you know, the client keeps calling me. I’m like, well, you know, you don’t have to pick up the phone. You know, there’s, there’s sort of should be a barrier. I think of it almost as like a, like a wall around your attention that you need to funnel all these people into one area and have the wall and when you’re ready to go into the other side of the wall and look at stuff, you know, you’re ready. You’re mentally ready. But if people can text you and call you and you have to step out of a meeting, you have to stop what you’re doing and your task and you’re never going to get anything done.
David Cristello: 31:05 Well, I mean, to your point, so if you don’t have, if you’re not thinking about process and systems because what? That enables you to do it. So even if you are a one man band or a one woman band, whatever, you can at least consciously say, all right, I’m going to do admin work right now. I’m going to take on the the, the, the part of the workflow that is receiving work and I’m going to back this together. Then I’m going to go under review checklist. I’m going to go into client consultations, but if you don’t think of systems, [inaudible] systems in a very lightweight, you know, if you’re just starting out, I’m not talking about anything too complex, but if you don’t have, you know, if you don’t acknowledge that exists, then you’re going to be super reactive because you can
Andrew Argue, CPA: 31:42 batch anything and humans. I mean we are so bad at kind of consistently doing the right thing the right way over and over and over. That’s why machines are so much better because the machine is not going to mess it up. Like a machine will lock you into having to do that, but you are going to forget you’re gonna wake up late, you’re gonna Kinda come in late. Like you’re gonna. Forget about the deadline. I mean, you just, especially when you get to a certain point, it seems pretty basic when you only have a couple of clients like meeting a deadline, but eventually like that one deadline for that old, you know, 10, 40 return, you know, it’s like that’s not, you know, you just forget about it. Oh I forgot about johnny from three years ago. Crappies emailing me, we, we’re in trouble. Right. So just having something that catches it.
David Cristello: 32:20 Yeah. So we, we think of workflow, W, w we say sometimes I can turn externally a lot internally, the sat team methods. So like something you need to standardize your process even if it’s the worst delivery of all time standardized because then you can get better if you’re not putting it to paper or spreadsheet or whiteboard or calendar, it just won’t get better if it’s in your head, you know, we’ll talk with firms that have hundreds of employees and they’ll say, hey, now it’s time to get out of the partner’s head. Right? I don’t understand that. Oh, they’re just wasting so much money. So step one, standardize it. Even if you’re just guessing on a Saturday evening and you just put it down, you know, standardized automated with things like recurrences automated with things like tracking turnaround time with, with budgeted time, all those great things, and then finally track it.
David Cristello: 33:03 If you don’t have a scoreboard, how do you know if you’re winning? I mean w w we talk about this all with our businesses, but to your 10, 40 example, if you want to run a first in first out priority system, you need to know when grandma mee mee submitted it on, on, uh, February first. All right? If you have an internal scoreboard of saying 10 day turnaround time, you need to be able to see that just slate. Yeah, this is, this is late. But if you’re kind of the hard part is you can get pretty far just by winging it, but I mean the symptoms is all these fires or the need to feel like you should give clients your texts. Like I don’t, I don’t feel the need to, unless something’s gone dramatically wrong, text them. But I think that that’s more of a symptom. The route is there wasn’t a central place to communicate. Not all information was together there. There’s something in the process, not so much. You need to text people.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 33:53 Yeah, totally makes sense. And I guess when you look at this, one of the things that I think people have trouble doing until they really look at things from this perspective is just because a client pays you a lot, doesn’t mean they’re really necessarily profitable. Yeah. People have a client that, you know, one of my clients was the client pays for $14,000 a month, but if you actually look at the economic resources that are applied to that client in terms of time, in terms of physically driving out there in terms of team members beneath her, he shall have another client that’s 1200 or $2,400 that is more profitable. And so I guess talk a little bit about that, that kind of, you know, actually kind of assessing a client in whether or not it’s profitable and how you, what you guys have learned about the key things you need to be thinking about.
David Cristello: 34:37 Yeah, I mean as a side note, I mean what would be interesting for that example is why? Why do you feel the need to drive out or why does the client want you to drive out or they’re not getting visibility over what you’re doing?
Andrew Argue, CPA: 34:50 Well, I think it goes to what I find from most of the time it generally will come from an insecurity and I get it in the beginning because I always tell people, I’m like, look, before you doing a hundred thousand a year in sales, you shouldn’t be picky. You know, you have to get to about a hundred thousand a year in sales just to stay on your own. Yeah. You don’t have to go back and take a job in the hundred thousand a year. You might be killing yourself and then you might be able to redesign your business to do 200 to 50, just yourself and not a normal week, but in the beginning you have. You have to just take whatever you can because I want you to get to a point as quickly as possible where you don’t have to go back and take a job. So don’t be picky. Right? But there comes a point where you don’t need clients who need the right client, you know?
Andrew Argue, CPA: 35:26 And so I think that’s where it comes from a lot of time where they, they will just go out and do it. They’ll just go out on site, they’ll just go out and work a ton and fill it because you know what I need to get there. So I kind of get it because it’s better than working in a job. Right. But at a certain point, if you want to be like a real practice owner, a real entrepreneur, a real business owner, you need to kind of, you know, Jack up your standards a little bit. You really appreciate how valuable what you’re doing is and say, learn to say no and all these kinds of things that come along with growing the right way. But I think that’s where it comes from both times.
David Cristello: 35:57 But that 14. I mean, the interesting thing about that, and I don’t, I’m harping on this a lot, which is here’s a business owner that has a hundred and 50 grand a year or whatever to buy some sort of outcome with this money. They could have done a lot of things with this money and I think the need to drive out to that office is a symptom of not digging into the pain during the consultation when the, when the client, when the small business owners, midsize business or whoever, if you’re not grounded in the pain, then they’re going to drive a conversation and usually when that happens, and I mean look at Hamptons with jetpack because we’re in software feature, feature, feature, feature, feature. I love features. Everyone loves features. If we’re getting that battle, I mean, Eh, you know, we’re not thinking about the outcome. And that’s the same thing with this potential example, which is you didn’t have a good process to dig into the pain point because of that. You’re just being pulled around by the client. Yeah. Can you be on site three days a week, but it’s not grounded into like why? What are you trying to achieve with that time?
Andrew Argue, CPA: 36:51 The problem is too is it goes back to what you were saying, you know earlier in the method of thinking that you have to have around problem solving and clearly defining that and getting people to come in because otherwise you just end up kind of working with people and you don’t even know the value of what you’re providing really. They don’t see the value because you haven’t shown us them because you’re not really, but they’re paying you a lot and if you’re there, well darn it, at least it looks like you’re working harder. Yeah. The funny thing is I find a lot of times in those scenarios you actually are providing something valuable. You just don’t know it clearly your cell, if that makes sense. Like they don’t. They don’t really fully see the value that they’re providing and so they need to do all these other extraneous things to make it look like it’s valuable.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 37:30 Even though, would it be valuable if we didn’t do that? And I think, but sometimes it’s not like for example, in that example, you know, let’s say that there’s really complicated manual billing and invoicing going on. They’re doing accounts receivable, accounts payable. Well Hey, instead of going out there and working on say, can we start thinking about automating that as well? Can we use tools like [inaudible]? Can we, you know, cause it’s some of the stuff with improving. I think the workflow, you know, isn’t jetpack workflow. But then there’s other components that are gonna be outside of a process like that too because the client might have a bad system. They need an application. So it’s what I like about your tool is it’s not just like if you actually use it, it teaches you to think about things in a new way that you can start applying to things even outside the APP.
David Cristello: 38:11 So I mean, to your point earlier, I mean we think about capacity management at large and then I was saying earlier, we don’t use this word to be overly cold, but it’s, it’s, you know, accounting firms have an inventory. I mean, businesses have inventory. Sorry. Yeah, I’m a jetpack.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 38:26 I love that word because people don’t think of inventory for services. But it’s true though. It’s exactly the same.
David Cristello: 38:34 I mean process
Andrew Argue, CPA: 38:35 as an accounting for bookkeeping from your processes, your product, your product, right? If you are, if you’re not profitable, if you have low a client satisfaction scores, I means the process. But again that’s why we use the word value. You are delivering something. And so we started with checklist management. I have all these due dates. I can’t get visibility over, you know, when something is due, what’s the turnaround time. That’s where we started and what we realize is that, you know, this is more of a logistics problem than anything else. You have a lot of knowledge workers that are going throughout their day, completing a lot of client work and it’s really, really hard to get visibility over how the firm is doing. So this is an area where they’re investing a lot in this year and next year and forever and ever and ever, which is, you know, are we profitable, you know, and if not, what’s the reason?
Andrew Argue, CPA: 39:25 I mean [inaudible] [inaudible], you know, accounting firms have to deal with this matrix of, you know, what’s my turnaround time of the jobs, what’s the scheduling of my team and what’s the pricing of my services? And they need to compare that against their client list, the jobs that they deliver, the services they do and their team members. Well, and I think this becomes a really big problem, especially once you want to grow because in the beginning, you know, you can just plug it with your own time, let you know. So if you have a client that pays you, you know, a significant amount of monthly basis, like a five to 15,000 a month example I gave earlier, you might say, oh well, you know, well I only have a person out there that you know, I, I pay $4,000 a month and you know, the client pays me 14,000 a month and so that’s a $10,000 profit.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 40:09 But I am out there are a hundred and 60 hours a month. So I mean really when you actually factor that in and when you’re small and you only have a couple clients, you can just fill it with your time. But to grow you actually have to learn how to sort of. I sort of see like spawning these other team members that are, that are, you know, completing the task of doing it for you. You got them here, you’ve got them here, you got to here and they’ve gotta be profitable. The engagements gotta be bringing in a certain amount of revenue. The amount of time, energy, and effort and resources that get poured into that has got to be tight enough to have a good gross profit. And you know, people kind of, uh, they, they get a little bit addicted to these bigger clients. Big clients are great if they’re profitable, but they get a little bit addictive, these bigger clients and they fill it with their time, which ends up just totally snapping as you scale.
David Cristello: 40:50 Well. And it depends, you know, as a, as a firm owner, I think if you want, if you just want pure cash, you don’t care about time or freedom to take the big client, don’t worry about repeatability, but if you really want to run, I think a, a scalable, successful from when that you can step away from at times you need repeatability. And if it’s just you, if you’re, if you’re the master expert of doing x, y, and Z, that’s really challenging. But chances are there’s something to download, a process that you can train somebody up on. Maybe it will be a mid to go to a senior. Um, but that’s, that’s really, really important. But another point I want to make is where this whole process becomes really, really impactful. We’re talking with a customer, they’re a team of 14, the very successful firm didn’t have a lot of process though, and they’re ready to acquire more and more firms and they want it to roll this out again and again and again.
David Cristello: 41:44 And they spent a couple months, you know, with us and using our tool and they got into this discipline of anytime there’s a team member question, they answered it of course, but they documented it back into jetpack workflow. So it just became the, I mean, that’s the Ip of the firm, how you complete things in your central place internally for team members. So as a business owner, you should not be answering the same question twice. I mean, there should be a place that everybody knows to go look for it. Now granted, I mean, well, the nobody’s perfect.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 42:12 Yeah. That is tough too because, you know, not always does, you know, hey, I had this conversation here, how did we really get that document that recorded here? That is difficult for a lot of people. And then especially when you had somebody there, but then they laughed and, and, and that’s where the sick for tax season and everybody said that’s true. Yeah, because it’s like the winter and everything. But that’s one of the big pet peeves of clients is that if somebody else comes in and starts asking the same questions, you know, that is like, dude, I went over this with the last person that was here, so on and so forth.
David Cristello: 42:38 So we were very thoughtful. Um, and we’re not the only tool that does this, but I mean when you’re working on, you know, we call them jobs, it can be projects and other tools were engagements and other tools. I mean if, if you have something about that engagement, if you have contact, put it in the notes section. Like everything goes in the notes, you need a source of record, do you need an ultimate source of truth? And then we also developed, it was a way to, you know, use the at symbol, you can tag team member. So what happens is you, if you have a question for your manager or the owner of the firm, you asked them through jetpack cause then the answer is then received in Japan and then you can attach it to the task. So that’s another thing. If the question’s coming to you via text or slack or email or faxed or pigeon or whatever you want to use. Like if you have different ways to ask these questions, then that’s also a recipe for failure because you’re not having a way to curate all this knowledge of the firm.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 43:31 Yeah, that totally makes sense. Let me ask you, when you look at like tax versus accounting, I mean, and then also big engagements versus a small gauges. I mean where do you feel like people get most of the problems from what you’ve seen, everybody that you work with? Is it like these big engagements where they need to determine profitability or is it when they’re small engagements and there’s just volume, there’s just tons of work and tons of client, you know, engaged. Where do people tend to get really squeezed more or wherever you guys had to focus more of your attention because that’s more of the problem.
David Cristello: 44:00 So we’ve seen more. I mean if you’re going to play, so what ends up happening is people get into a game they don’t know they’re playing because I think you can make. We’ve had issues with both, but the biggest issue is you don’t know you’re in that game. You don’t know you’re in the high volume, low price game and you’re going out against the, the, the big tax franchises of the world and you’re struggling to make a profit and you didn’t realize, well yeah, you need 5,000 clients.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 44:27 I actually have a client, she, they do a million a year in sales. They have 5,010, 40 clients. Is funny because it’s like a lot of people talk about getting to a million a year in sales, but that’s kind of an accident. The accident away and you know, nobody. I think thinking about it would sit down and say, yes, the best way to get to a million a year in sales would be 5,000 individual tax clients and it and it clearly isn’t. It’s not the most profitable thing to do, so that’s kind of what you’re saying is it just kinda happened.
David Cristello: 44:49 It’s just kind of happens, but that’s some point. Whatever stage of business you’re [inaudible] doesn’t matter. You hit this inflection point and it’s usually around some sort of pain, right? You’re working more, making less, and you really need to decide what business you want to be in and then set up your hiring model, your acquisition model around that and if you want to be in the low price, high volume game, that’s a certain strategy that you need to take on. If you want to be in the concierge, high ticket clients, six and seven figure contracts set up. You’re from around that and that determines your hiring strategy and your acquisition strategy. But the worst case scenario is what you mentioned earlier. While we have some, some people that hit us on praise when we’re playing this, this high volume game down here, and then we kind of have these medium clients and then we have this mixture of people that just make us a ton of money and if they go away, that’s like 70 percent of our business. That’s the big thing is we. We’re trying to be all things to all people and they haven’t decided what they want to bank on moving forward and what they want to grow.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 45:48 It’s true. Yeah. I think the biggest challenge I’ve seen for people is if they’re working with people that are really small and they’re doing volume or they’re working with people that are really big and they’re almost like a contractor. I typically find if you’re charging for the monthly accounting anywhere from a thousand to 5,000 a month, that’s going to probably be a good client because it’s enough where there’s some good margin in there and it’s not so much money that the business owner feels like they own. You know what I mean? Like when you get out, like they feel like they kind of own you. If they start paying much more than that.
David Cristello: 46:13 I’m sure you talk about segmentation then because uh, uh, you know, business owner doing 75 k a year might, might feel like at one k a month we should come to my office four days a week. Right.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 46:24 That’s [inaudible] that, you know, you think that, you know, especially if, you know, a lot of times you got to remember, I mean median income in the US, I think it’s something like 50,000 a year household, right? So a thousand a month is 12,000. I mean that, that could do a lot of people in the country, you know, that seems like a lot sometimes. But really in the world of small business and delivering service, it’s not that much. And so it definitely is sort of a rewiring of the brain a little bit. But yeah, I mean 1000 to 5,000 for the monthly accounting. And then on the tax side, I mean, I really think the individual business side, it’s just continues to get crushed. And you know, if you have tons and tons of those low and [inaudible], even though you might have some sales, the amount of time is putting you put to that.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 47:05 It’s just, it’s not, it’s not profitable. And so what I typically say to people is let’s focus on the businesses from the tax side, business only and will do their individual return as long as we have their business return, let’s do preparation and let’s do planning and charge separate for it. Um, and then, yeah, well, and that’s a big piece that a lot of people do miss. And I think a lot of times it’s another one of those things that give it away for free out of insecurity, but they should totally be charging separate for that. And then obviously
David Cristello: 47:31 not requiring that they do it when it’s free and they do it kind of ad hoc with clients that they. Oh yeah, I was talking to them in June, I should just do it, you know, they kind of feel like they’re just shooting from the hip if they, if they made it recurring. If there was a checklist of tax planning, you take all the guesswork out of it and say, no, we offer this every year and this is, and this is a good selling point, right? I mean we go through these 12 steps of and you can show people exactly what you do is small business owner is not going to go and do that.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 47:58 Especially right now because of some of the tax changes with sort of the tax cuts in jobs act. It’s hilarious because you literally see people are like, like the small business owners, like literally trying to pay for it, you know, so it’s kind of a great time to do that kind of right now because some legislative changes. But yeah, I mean it really, whenever I think about, you know, the, the preparation and the planning that should be there at, you know, I think on the business side really, I even still, I see people charging five, $600 for the business fraternity, but I see them going up more aiming for [inaudible] really no less than 1200. And then the preparation is depending on the savings. That’s really what we try to aim for people to charge, but I, I think that not going to high and getting in that sweet spot, going back to what you were talking about before, not doing too much on the volume side, not doing these major, everything is custom something where you get a good fee, but it’s something good that you can repeat. You know, there’s a lot of clients in this space. You’re going to be able to get 15, 20, 25, 30, a hundred, a hundred and 50 that are very similar one to one. And so even though you’re using simply like jetpack, you know, to attract the tasks and everything, it’s like, it’s not like every single engagement is totally custom.
David Cristello: 49:02 Yeah, right. Absolutely. And I think the big thing is, you know, if you’re going beyond that stage, you’re just talking about, and let’s say you’re doing high level cfo work, again, you have to make a decision. Do you, I mean do you want to be a highly specialized contractor? Which I mean there’s people that make a million bucks a year doing that. They’re the best in their field, but I don’t know if that’s a business. I think of businesses systems and scalable
Andrew Argue, CPA: 49:25 one. Either way though. Either way you’ve got to think about the workflow because if you have the larger clients, your workflow is more focused on not per client but task for one client as opposed to over here where you’ve got the volume. The workflow is more about how are we managing all these clients, right? Because they’re just turning over, so the workflow is kind of present in both. No matter where you’re at.
David Cristello: 49:43 There is a process. I mean, I mean we experienced this at jetpack. Look, we’re not perfect where there’s a lack of process. People would just make up their own and you’re not going to like what your team makes up, right? Because I mean they’re not. They didn’t know they were gonna make a process. They’re just trying to, you know, a complete their engagement. This in lack of clarity, people will kind of just fill in the gaps and that can be processed. That could be team announcements, whatever and have those process and then were compounds that were. It gets really dangerous is if there’s not a clarity of process, the team makes up their own and then each team member could have their own. And what happens is you bring on a new team member who said, Oh yeah, trained with drill Geo has her own process, right?
David Cristello: 50:20 And everybody’s being trained five percent, 10 percent, 20 percent different than everyone else. And then imagine what happens when you try to grow or even trying to sell your firm and people start doing audits of how you’re actually completing the service. I mean, one of those firms is dramatically more valuable than the other and it’s the one that you have 12 people all rowing the same direction versus 12 people all doing 20 percent slightly different things and you know, and that’s where you’re getting this scenario. Whereas, you know, people that work with Jill only want to work with Jill because she does it the jill way. And then Tom does a Tom’s way and you know what I mean? And, and I, I just find that to be a very, very some motto as you grow.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 50:56 Well, and I think, I mean all this stuff has been amazing and going through this and just like thinking about it and I always try to tell people, you know, you’re out there doing your work, started your business and everything, but just when you look at somebody like David, what I love about his story and his background and getting him in a, in a capacity like this is that, I mean, you personally have probably talked to thousands of practice owners and not like you talked to them about, oh how’s Johnny Junior? The kid, you know, it’s like no workflow right now. Give me the goods. Right? So like literally the kind of, if you go back, you watch this video, right? You watch every sentence that’s coming out of you and I commonly tell people, I’m like, it’s not like I’m some genius or David some genius.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 51:33 It’s just that your life experience has led you to be sort of an expert in this one very specific thing that you happen to need. Right? Which is just like workflow for an accounting firm. And so like if you go back, cause it’s, it’s sometimes we kind of gloss over these things, but if you listen to some of the sentences you were saying, just like boom, that is it, that is what I need to focus on or what I need to work on because you simply just talk to people. So many frequent times that for you it’s crystal clear, even though for somebody else it’s a new struggle they’ve never faced and it feels impossible to solve.
David Cristello: 52:02 Well, it’s the same thing. So if you’re an accounting firm owner and you, you have 500 consultations over a couple of years, you’re going to hear the same sentences over and over and over again. And what’s baffling to me is the accounting firm and bookkeeping, payroll tax firms. They are experts in small business and they don’t know it. I mean, it’s tragic. It really is tragic because they have all this information and they take it for granted.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 52:25 Well, one of the difficult things is, and I, and we talked about this a lot and you clearly are working with a specific niche, right? And so there’s a lot of compounding of your knowledge because of that, whereas a lot of people that aren’t working with a niche, the same level of compounding doesn’t happen. So like it’s not like when you go out and do workflow, you’re also talking with Yoga studio owners and you’re also talking with, um, you know, people that are running a marketing agency or people that are considered contractors. So where you were, I think that’s where you see like these super knowledge libraries in someone’s brain is when they get real clear and real specific on the problem, they’re focused on like you and it’s just like workflow for accounting firms and nothing else. Talk with 3000 people and it’s then it’s like boom. But if you would break that 3000 people down into every [inaudible] there’s only 20 of any category. So 20 accountants, [inaudible] Yoga studio owners, it’s a little bit more diffused. I love finding people where there’s a concentration of a really specific set of knowledge in a really specific area and it’s just gone. And that’s. And that’s really what it is with you because you’re talking with people that are in this exact situation and really nothing else.
David Cristello: 53:30 Yeah, and I mean this is something we talked about a lot internally because the core of what we’re doing, you know, we help people. So some of the, you know, the metrics we talked about, you know, budgeted time, turnaround time, profitability of a client. These are things that are very common across many professional service firms, but we don’t know those other professional service firms and we don’t know them as well. And that’s not to say in the future we can’t serve them, but we look at where we’re currently at, we look at how many people we can serve, we look at what we’re going to do with the product and it just doesn’t make sense to think about anything else.
Andrew Argue, CPA: 54:02 Well, because they count every. The thing is is that there are similarities. Like I kind of feel like there’s like this high level, like principals, like Meta level of similarities from like lawyers as services, right? And Marketing and accountants. But there’s nuance, there is tremendous nuance. And what I love about your company example is what I love about recurring work. Well yeah, because it’s just totally different, right? And they also have retainers in a way that accountants typically don’t,
David Cristello: 54:27 so and they, I mean they’re all in on
Andrew Argue, CPA: 54:29 billable hours and they have this whip time billing thing. So the thing about that I love about it is just that you’ve dedicated this whole company to this specific niche, which is what pretty much everybody watching this is doing. And so it’s like, it’s just boom. It’s like, it’s like someone went out there like if you’re having a problem around workflow, it’s like somebody literally went out there and did that work for you. Like they just went out and there’s 3000 interviews and you know, because I think if you think about the people that have talked to your company, thousands of customers, but that means tens of thousands of people that you and your team have spoken with and gathered resources and data and analyze to see OK this is the biggest problem we need to fix it in the most kind. Sort of an interesting way. So you guys have tons of awesome resources, so I want to kind of wrap this up with some of that. I mean, what is the best way, obviously jetpack workflow [inaudible], but what, what are some of the best resources that people can get to learn about workflow and how to sort of deal with the service delivery? What are some of the good stuff that you guys are putting out? Where can they find it?
David Cristello: 55:22 Yeah, jetpack workflow.com. You can go there, you can start a free trial. We have case study videos, demo videos, random, funny videos, all kinds of videos on there. Uh, we also have the growing your from podcast where we interview top practitioners, authors, thought leaders on what they’re doing around workflow process marketing, sales team management. It’s a free resource. Um, we also have the book that just came out. I should have a copy of it here. I could hold it up. It’s probably in the other room. Double Your accounting firm. Uh, we took the, all the action items from the podcast and what we’ve learned from the firms we work with. We put it into a 200 page book, which also links back to all the podcast episodes, so jetpack workflow [inaudible], or you can google search growing from podcast. We have a lot of interviews there and if anybody wants, you know, if you’re just starting out, we talked about it.
David Cristello: 56:11 You don’t want to, you know, go be overwhelmed with all this process if you just want, if you’re really into spreadsheets, you want the spreadsheet template. Email me, David at jetpack workflow [inaudible]. We have 32 templates. Uh, we have them in the, in the APP. So if you would just want to plug and play and add them to your account, you can do so. If you’re really into spreadsheets and you want that, email me and we’ll send you over some spreadsheets. You can track all the, all the services. They’re cool. Well, hey man, I appreciate you coming down and doing this. I do. This is great. Packed with tons of stuff and like I said, if you go back and listen to this, just the nuggets along the way and if you guys want more, don’t hesitate to reach out. Hope you guys enjoyed the, uh, the talk and appreciate you making it out, man. Thanks for having me.