Monthly Archives: May 2016

Enhancing Dental Accounting Practices – CPA’s Study Club Session

Dental Accounting Association logoTo elevate the quality of dental practice accounting, the Dental Accounting Association is hosting a session on Saturday, May 21, 2016 for CPA’s that focus specifically on dental practices.  Members of the association from around the country will be attending to share best practices from leading practitioners.  The group will meet at Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

About the Dental Accounting Association

The Dental Accounting Association is a member only group of CPA Firms that focuses on all segments of the dental industry, from pediatric dentistry to oral surgeons.  Our focus is to improve the quality of service for dental practices generating less than $1 million in sales.  Our members are CPA Firms with sales of less than $2 million in sales and similar in size to our target audience.

The members of the Dental Accounting Association are focused on the following principles:

  • Job #1 is focused on lowering the taxes paid within your dental practice.
  • Each member provides accounting and tax services on a fixed fee basis and makes every effort to avoid hourly billing.  Like you, we hate hourly billing surprises.  
  • Our CPA members truly service general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, orthodontists, periodontists and other specialties.
  • Unlike larger CPA Dental practices who try to provide everything under one roof from dental brokerage to dental financial planning, our CPA members aim to partner with industry experts dedicated to the dental industry.  In fact, our goal is to work collaboratively with the best dental law, dental brokers, dental practice management and dental loan providers so our dental clients work with the industry’s best providers.  

 New Dentist’s Program

The Dental Accounting Association also recognizes that transitions are part of every dentist’s career and our industry needs to reach out to the next generation of dental practice owners.  Our new dentist program is designed to help future dentists start their career with a solid financial foundation.  Given the dynamics of our industry, our members understand that creating the right professional relationships often start well in advance of actually needing those services.  As a trusted advisor for future dental practice owners, our members are in the right position to recommend other dental professionals dedicated to the dental industry ranging from dental law firms, dental banking, dental brokers and dental insurance.


The Dental Accounting Association is a network of CPA Firms located in North America.  The association is founded and managed by Build Your Firm, which is a practice development firm dedicated to the accounting industry.


Becoming A Firm of the Future

Most CPAs I know agree with me that the shift in our role from quarterly tax professional to ongoing partner and advisor is both vital and inevitable when it comes to serving our small business clients. Yet, while there’s been much belabored discussion on the topic in our industry, very few accountants are working to make it happen in their own practice.

As a millennial accountant myself, who started my own practice from scratch as an outsider of sorts, I have always embraced the role of partner, and have seen many pain points and roadblocks that we accountants need to tackle in order to step into that role – and into the 21st century – if we, ourselves, want our practices to stay relevant.

Start by offering a few more services. It’s important to be an advisor to small businesses because they often don’t know what they need, or even where to start learning as much. So the more services you can offer them, the more you can guide and empower them. In my experience, small businesses often call to “inquire about our services” but really need guidance on what services to use. They know they need tax prep and advice, but what they’re actually looking for is a strategic partner. They simply don’t know to ask for one. I’ve also found it’s easier to sell my own services as a CPA when I offer comprehensive services that differentiate my practice.

BenchmarkingTo step into that role, CPAs can start by offering services like financial planning, forecasting, and performance tracking to their small business customers. I first realized the importance of these features when I learned about such tools at the Scaling New Heights conference in 2014. I immediately knew I needed to offer those services, and there are plenty of tools available now for CPAs to help better serve their clients.

The Next Barrier to Conquer

It’s now 2016; time to finally embrace empowering technology. When I was first trying to break into accounting and have larger accountancies buy into my practice, I spent a great deal of time inside multimillion-dollar firms stuck using yesterday’s technologies. From owners still using Hotmail accounts to paper and people piled everywhere (well, figuratively), everything was manual and old school.

And although many of them saw it as “tried-and-true,” that mindset has actually set them back quite a bit when it comes to shifting to this full-service advisory role – they aren’t able to be nimble and adaptive. I decided at that moment that my practice would follow the cutting edge of technology. It sets us free and multiplies what a small group of people can accomplish.

I simply can’t overstate how integral technology has been in setting my practice apart as an advisor. It has allowed us to grow a business with clients all over the country, able to work with them virtually, without any hiccups. It’s amazing, and clients love it, too.

Stare down resistance and the status quo. The final, most difficult thing that we need to change is internal resistance to the idea of change, which draws its power from our collective inability to rise above the stresses of the day-to-day to take a look at the way we’re doing things.

There are a lot of growing pains in evolving into a competitive advisory practice, and many people react against the idea because of this resistance. It involves evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your current team, drastic changes in client acquisition, outsourcing basic services like payroll and expenses, and even later on letting go of legacy clients who don’t want to change with you. Tackling that and creating proactive progress is difficult when you can’t rise above daily crisis mode.

Although I can’t say I’ve gone through these growing pains myself, having been fortunate enough to establish this identity for myself from the beginning, I’ll still say with confidence that it’s worth it.

Aside from giving my practice a competitive edge and staying power, I find my work these days so much more engaging and fulfilling offering a comprehensive breadth of services that allow me to be a partner to my clients. I’m proud to talk about my firm and how I’ve set myself apart by helping small businesses that need it, and would be happy to speak with others about how they, too, can rise to the next level in their practice.


Gheen - headshotWritten by Luke Gheen, CPA in Colorado.  Originally published in AccountingWEB on February 4, 2016.

Gheen logo

Join Us at Scaling New Heights 2016

SNH 2016Given the role that QuickBooks plays in today’s accounting practices, we will be heading out to Scaling New Heights from May 22 to May 25 to stay updated on Intuit’s new plans and all of the technology tools that dovetail nicely with QuickBooks to make your practice operate effectively.

If you are planning to attend, let me know in advance and I just might have a gift for you.  Build Your Firm will be in booth #88.  Again, let me know in advance if you are attending so I can set it aside.

On Sunday, May 22nd at 4pm, Build Your Firm will be hosting a panel discussion on Outsourced Marketing and Lead Generation.  In this session, we will be joined by three distinguished accountants who will share their experiences and answer questions from the audience.  Below are the panelists:

Tom Palm Jr – Tom has been outsourcing his marketing since 2008 and operates a tax practice in Baltimore.  He has three office locations, two vibrant niches and is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.  His topline and bottomline results have been impressive.  Tom operates the practice with his dad and the practice has operated since 1973 (43 years in business).

Mike Manoloff – Mike has been outsourcing his marketing since 2008 and operates a tax practice in Houston as a CPA.  His practice has operated since 1992 (24 years in business).  He has three healthy niches and is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.  His practice has grown over $100k for the past eight years and his profit margins have improved by over 25 points.

Luke Gheen – Luke has been outsourcing his marketing since 2011 and operates a tax practice in Colorado.  He has two office locations, two niches and is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.  He started from scratch in 2011 and engaged Build Your Firm before opening shop.  His practice operates in the cloud and is paperless.  Each summer, he enjoys a six week vacation with his family. Despite this, his topline grows $160k annually, profit margins are well above industry average, and his accounts receivable is $0.

Hope you can join our session on Sunday, May 22nd at 4pm.  If not, we will record the panel discussion and you can request it.


Outsource Your Mkt - Summit