18 episodes

Your hosts Penny Breslin and Damien Greathead have more than 30 years of combined experience in the accounting industry. This podcast is to share their experiences of working in, and consulting to accounting and bookkeeping firms of all sizes, helping them grow.

Nothing discussed will be rocket science, instead they'll be discussing 'how' firms have successfully, and not so successfully, pursued growth. Penny and Damien will be sharing their insights on how firms can be successful by focusing on their people (clients included), their technology, and their processes and systems.

Ultimately how successful an accounting business will be depends largely on how the owners manage change, which alongside taxes appears to be the only constant.

We do want to acknowledge David Maister's great read Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing what's obvious but not easy as the inspiration for our title. Buy it on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC

Subscribe today for an upbeat and practical conversation about what's working and what's not in accounting businesses around the world.

Strategy and the Virtual Controller Penny Breslin & Damien Greathead

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Your hosts Penny Breslin and Damien Greathead have more than 30 years of combined experience in the accounting industry. This podcast is to share their experiences of working in, and consulting to accounting and bookkeeping firms of all sizes, helping them grow.

Nothing discussed will be rocket science, instead they'll be discussing 'how' firms have successfully, and not so successfully, pursued growth. Penny and Damien will be sharing their insights on how firms can be successful by focusing on their people (clients included), their technology, and their processes and systems.

Ultimately how successful an accounting business will be depends largely on how the owners manage change, which alongside taxes appears to be the only constant.

We do want to acknowledge David Maister's great read Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing what's obvious but not easy as the inspiration for our title. Buy it on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC

Subscribe today for an upbeat and practical conversation about what's working and what's not in accounting businesses around the world.

    Skipping the Tax Season Chaos

    Skipping the Tax Season Chaos

    With tax season on the horizon we kick off this episode discussing how we communicate with clients. Owners and staff are quick to blame clients, for all their tax season troubles, but more often than not it's because we haven't set clear boundaries with our clients that tax season gets derailed. For the most part clients are very understanding - with good communication that manages their expectations you'll be a-ok.
    So before you accept that new client (that you know is not a good fit) or before you introduce new technology to clients (and staff), take a few minutes to think through this. Could this new client or technology cause frustration and stress during an already stressful time of the year? If yes, then maybe push it to post April 15. You can always put that new client on extension - making sure you're up front about if of course! And you can push that shiny new app to the spring. And who knows you probably have that capability in one of the other apps you've already adopted.
    The podcast is designed to help practitioners avoid short term distractions and focus on the long term. Tax season is full of short term distractions, and most of these can be avoided with good communication between you and your clients and you and your team.
    We’re here to help in any way we can. Get in touch via LinkedIn.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 34 min
    That awkward post-Thanksgiving, pre tax season feeling

    That awkward post-Thanksgiving, pre tax season feeling

    Post thanksgiving, pre tax season is an interesting time in an accounting firm. For most providers it’s considered peak selling time, or alternatively the last chance to close a deal before tax season. For practitioners many think it’s their last chance to get new systems and tools implemented.
    We’ve recently received a number of emails from listeners trying to fast track their software selections asking for our recommendations. But unfortunately it’s not that easy and our responses always begin with “it depends”. It depends on what your trying to build. And this takes us back to our first ever episodes - what are you trying to do in your firm? What services do you want to provide? What types of clients do you want to work with?
    Given where we are in the year - instead of trying to implement something new - spend that time focusing on what why you want to do post tax season. Start the planning process now by identifying what you don’t want to do anymore. Write it down somewhere, add to it, and leave it. Then attack it in May. Your team will thank you for it.
    We’re here to help in any way we can. Get in touch via LinkedIn.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 36 min
    Building out the LBD

    Building out the LBD

    Previously we have teased the Little Black Dress (LBD) concept - if you haven't checked out that episode (13) go ahead and have a listen as it'll help you to get the most out of this episode.
    Penny uses the LBD to help practitioners understand a tech stack. The term tech stack hadn't even come into the accounting vernacular, but the LBD analogy had everyone in the room nodding along - well 50% of the room anyway😂😂.
    We discuss the importance of having a standard technology set to not only help you scale, but also help you deliver a consistent client experience. After all it's this client experience that will drive referrals into your business. Hopefully listening to the episode you'll breathe a sigh of relief as you learn that you don't need to become an expert in every expense tracking app or KPI reporting to make a meaningful recommendation to your clients.
    Enjoy the episode and if you'd like help working through this or any other aspects of your business transformation, drop us a line via LinkedIn.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 29 min
    Putting it into Practice - Special Guest

    Putting it into Practice - Special Guest

    While we love discussing all things firm development with just the two of us, it's always enjoyable to welcome guests to the podcast especially when they're clients of ours and are putting into practice a lot of what we talk about in the podcast.
    Rachael Siegel, CPA is the founder of Go Figure Accounting, and she joins us today to share her experiences since going it alone and starting her own firm just 4 years ago. We discuss her approach to her team and her clients as well as how considers the staff at https://moneypennyllc.com/ (MoneyPenny) an extension of her team. Rachel is an advanced certified https://profitfirstprofessionals.com/ (ProfitFirst Professional) and having implemented the methodology in her own business, feels for the first time her clients understand what she does for them.
    Rachel is a terrific example of pursuing your business with intention and purpose and what you can achieve by setting goals with your team and empowering them to execute. She's growing both the top and bottom lines of her business and having a ball doing it.
    Enjoy the episode and if you'd like help working through this or any other aspects of your business transformation, drop us a line via LinkedIn.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 50 min
    Introducing the Little Black Dress

    Introducing the Little Black Dress

    Lucky episode 13!
    In this episode we introduce listeners to your newest team member - your tech stack. Your technology should be working for you and should be doing the work of a few FTEs whether it comes to workflow, document management or data processing.
    We break the tech stack down into the back of house - apps for your firm - and the front of house - apps that you and your clients use to facilitate the flow of data. Penny suggests focusing on your back of house first which will then allow your to deliver a quality front of house experience to your clients.
    The Little Black Dress is Penny's analogy for your front of house tech stack. You can wear it for any occasion and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Your standardized tech stack will do 80% of the work for 80% of your clients. You don't need to be an expert in every G/L, every expense processing system and every payroll system, choose one and specialize.
    Tech is a big topic and in this episode we barely touch on what to look for in an app - we'll dig further into in the next episode.
    Be sure to check out the book that gave us the inspiration for this podcast: Strategy and the Fat Smoker. https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC (Buy it on Amazon).
    If you'd like outside help on this process or have questions about anything discussed in this episode, please do get in touch.
    If your app provider and would like to better understand how we work with technology companies feel free to reach out.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 35 min
    Building the BOS(S) team

    Building the BOS(S) team

    One of the biggest mistakes we see in accounting firms is the team members not working on the appropriate tasks. Most often it's the partners doing the technician's work such as data entry, but it's also the technician's (and the partners) doing the administrative work. This means your team members aren't working on those tasks where they bring the most value.
    Another challenge we have seen in the industry is the lack of a quality supervisory and managerial level in a lot of firms. That's not to say the managers aren't great accountants, it's that supervisor and manager skills are different to an accountant's typical skillset and few firms take the time to develop these skills in their team members.
    We chat about how Penny structures her team to deliver her back office support (BOS) services. Simplistically we break the work into 3 categories, the preparation, the supervision, and the client relationship - although you could (and should) add a fourth administrative category. Once you've done that ask the question in what category are you spending most of of your time - go on, have a look at the time sheets! And now work out how to fix it - with technology, with people, or with outsourcing.
    If you'd like help working through this or any other aspects of your business transformation, drop us a line via LinkedIn.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

SBurkenstein ,

Amazing for the new generation of Controllers

I am loving this podcast. It’s my life. I was hired by CPA offices to be an in-house bookkeeper after years of an outsourcing relationship. After 3 months it became so obvious bookkeeping did not really describe the job. It was Controller. I’m all about client relationships while embracing modernization of processes. I can’t wait for more episodes! This career field has so much potential.

Jedda88 ,

Good insights to help me grow

Really useful tips and insights from Damien and Penny on how to run an accounting firm. As they say themselves, not rocket science, but good reminders to help me stay focused on what’s important to my business.

dbaccount ,

Accounting Automation

Helpful guidance for seamless automation

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