Climbing the Value Chain

Ahhhh…. It’s that most wonderful time of the year – March – when a young accountant’s mind turns to… MUSH.

Yes, busy season is here, and like all of us, I’m frantically trying to get stuff done for clients.  The good news is that I have a spare PC with a TV card in it, so I can at least run Formula One in the background while I work 24×7.  With my trips to Seattle and Detroit next week, I’m not sure my wife and son will even know that I’m out of town (even though I usually work out of my home office).

As a sole practitioner, my clients ask me to deal with many different issues for them – Quickbooks, Peachtree, taxes, compliance, IT support, dealing with vendors, etc.  As such, there are some things that, although I am professionally capable of dealing with them, it’s a lot easier to find someone to take care of the details, as the value of the service to the client is not what I would like to make on an hourly basis.  That having been said, I want to take care of my client – but I don’t want to be in the business of stuffing envelopes, nor do my clients want to pay my rate for that service.  Accordingly, I’m trying to identify specialists who deal with these details for a reasonable fee.

One service which has been recommended to me is  This is a service which will prepare 1099’s, W-2’s, 941’s, and the like for you, and keep you from going nuts trying to find that one copy of a “red” W-3 or 1096 on February 28th.  PayCycle (mentioned below) also offers a service for up to 50 1099’s which gives you e-filing capabilities, and prints the recipient copies on your PC for $10 wholesale(e.g. CPA Firms) or $40 retail (e.g. end users).

Another service which I’ve seen a demo of is Paycycle‘s payroll service – an outsourced payroll solution which lets accountants rebrand their web-based payroll solution, mark it up, and sell it to their clients.  (It appears to be similar to some of the services provided by AccountantsWorld, which is another company helping small firms rebrand automated services).  It costs $14.99/client/month, and their webinar was pretty impressive.  I’ve got a couple of small companies who are using ADP and some other services who I’m thinking of switching over to see how well it works.  The website speaks of imports into Quickbooks, Peachtree, and other formats, alt.  Bad news here – there’s a limit of 50 active employees, so my client with 75 actives who needs a solution is out.

How are you helping yourself and your clients provide more value in less time?  If you’re not thinking about how to constantly do more with less, you’re sitting still – and in today’s dog-eat-dog world, that’s a great way to end up as the prey instead of the predator we all aspire to be.

P.S. If you have a few minutes and haven’t laughed enough lately, there’s some hilarious new music on iTunes from a fake band called “Van Heffer”.  The whole tragic saga of Van Heffer has been played out in Wichita Rutherford’s podcast, “Five Minutes with Wichita” – but here’s a thumbnail sketch:  Sissy Elvis impersonator sings Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne songs backed by a  Bluegrass band.  Now this is no cheap imitation – Randy Rhoades guitar solos are repeated note-for-note on a mandolin.  My favorite track:  The Bluegrass version of Iron Man.  Check it out – the whole album is $9.90, and as Wichita would say, “It’s just precious.”