Yorkshire Enterprises, founded by Sarah J. Simpson, CPB, is a practice in Ontario, Canada. Until two and half years ago, it was run 100% on desktop. Now, Sarah looks after 35+ bookkeeping clients and 500+ tax preparation clients almost entirely virtually.
With trusting clients she considers family, and industry colleagues supporting her, Sarah relies on cloud technology to grow her business. Here’s Sarah’s story of how she implemented a full technology stack to meet her clients in the cloud.
“It was an accidental thing to start a bookkeeping business. I was the office manager at a machine shop. Anything I didn’t know, I had to learn how to do.”
When it was time to move on from this job in 2001, one of Sarah’s suppliers from the machine shop asked if she could still do his books. He referred her services to his brother in law, and Yorkshire Enterprises was born, beginning with just two clients.
“Over the course of doing only bookkeeping, I knew I wanted to expand my services. Twelve years ago, I took a course on tax preparation. At the end of the course, I invited my instructor to join Yorkshire Enterprises and look after the tax side of the business.”
At the end of the following Tax Season, Sarah’s instructor and two other employees officially joined her in her business. With years of experience combined, Sarah’s new team members brought over 95% of their client base. When those three employees retired a few years later,Sarah knew she needed to make a change in her business to keep up with the work.
Now, Sarah looks after 500+ tax prep accounts and 35 monthly bookkeeping accounts on her own and is training her first virtual employee.
LIFE BEFORE RECEIPT BANK
A self proclaimed “conference junkie”, Sarah has taken every opportunity to learn from others in the industry.
“Up until two and a half years ago, I operated my practice solely on Sage desktop. I went to a four day conference with IPBC and my eyes were opened. I realized I had to get on the cloud or go out of business in five years.”
“I liked QuickBooks Online the best out of the cloud options. After those four days, I was hooked on the cloud.”
“That same year, I attended a Receipt Bank dinner in Calgary with an industry colleague and the presentation demonstrated how bookkeepers like me were pulling in an additional $15,000 simply by using cloud technology.”
“I wanted to gain the extra time in my practice that people kept talking about.
I knew if I saved time, I could take on extra clients and make more money. I knew I had to commit because those not on the cloud are falling behind, myself included at the time.”
TRANSFORMED BY THE CLOUD
“I used to be a traveling bookkeeper, and spent my days going from client to client to collect and process paper receipts and invoices. Now, it is completely different. I work almost entirely from my home office and love being on the cloud.”
“Before the cloud, [bookkeepers] were all in competition. Now we are all buddies and it’s about helping each other out. I am still learning so much and trying to evolve my practice. ”
“I took Tanya Hilts’ Bookkeepers’ Bootcamp and learned how to be more efficient in my own business. I get at least one call for new business every week. Now I can continue to grow without feeling like I have to turn new clients away.”
Having been in business for 18 years, Sarah’s clients are like family.
“I’ve seen many of them grow up, and I could probably tell you something about all 500 of my tax clients. I don’t want to give that up, but more than that I want to continue to build that trust between us.”
“I recently had a client who received an audit letter from the CRA for his employment expenses claim. He had about 250 receipts in question and using Receipt Bank, I was able to scan them all in and get them into an expense report very quickly. I gave the CRA a print out of the expense report and they identified which receipts they needed to see. I had them all ready to go. It was quick and efficient, Receipt Bank essentially automated the entire process for me.”
Having the trust of her clients is critical to Sarah’s success in the cloud.
“I love the fact that I can fetch monthly bills with Receipt Bank. My clients trust me and are willing to be guinea pigs whenever I want to roll out a new process. This feature has made my life so much easier.”
A SHIFT IN PRICING STRATEGY
Changing her processes from desktop to digital also called for a change in pricing. Once Sarah began saving time with cloud technology, her hourly bills decreased and a shift in strategy was necessary.
“Before I switched to the cloud, I offered an hourly rate with a four hour minimum, and every February 1, rates went up. Now I have a formula that takes into consideration the number of items submitted by a client over a period of time and spits out the prices for bronze, silver, and gold service levels. My sales are up 40% with everything I’ve learned and the apps I’ve embraced. I used to increase my rates by 3% every year, but I just increased them by 7% and my clients didn’t even blink.”
“My clients know the value they are getting is greater than the price tag. Now I have the tools to actually be profitable and grow my business”
“The impact on my bottom line is clear. As a result, I was able to give myself a higher paycheck by almost double. It also means I have the money to hire additional help and keep growing.”
“Looking ahead, I am going to focus on building my digital team. I now know how to structure employees’ pay to keep them motivated and achieve the sales goals I have set out for myself.”
“I love tax prep and I can’t see myself stepping away from that, but I also want to grow the bookkeeping side of my business to 100-150 clients. I’ve hired someone to help with that so that Yorkshire Enterprises can keep growing.”
“The time I save using Receipt Bank and other technologies allows me to take full advantage of that opportunity to grow. I can spend more time advising my current clients, but I can also spend more time on myself.”