Our Revenues Are Up Forty Percent and our Bottom Line Has Nearly Tripled

By December 4, 2019 February 24th, 2020 No Comments

I have a six-person practice that specializes in servicing primarily restaurants and produce markets in the Chicago metropolitan area. After a dozen years, we were working hard, but not making a lot of money.

I got a postcard in the mail from Sterling, I sent it in and set up a free phone consultation with one of their consultants. My wife and I spent three or four hours on the phone going over matters with him. We decided it was well worth the money to go to Sterling and see if we could get ourselves streamlined, organized, and moving in the right direction.

My office manager went out to Glendale with me for the training, and it is a good thing she did. Shortly after the trip, I had to take an emergency leave, and she was able to step in and run the business in my absence. We made it through without losing any clients. I was back on the job a short while later, but her Sterling training has allowed her to expand responsibilities and take over the management of the office. She deals with our clients, has check signing authority, and handles collections. This frees me to concentrate on other facets of the practice. I put in new hardware and software last year and I have more time to work on marketing and seeing clients. This had an immediate impact on the practice.

The biggest thing I got out of the training was how to use statistics to manage my practice. The second best was learning how to deal with different types of personalities, whether they were staff or clients. We do quality work and are very conscientious, but we weren’t making the profit we should. The problem was that I had built the practice based on referrals and I wouldn’t say “No” to anyone. As a result, I wound up with a lot of businesses that were giving me sloppy paperwork or were poor-paying clients. I was afraid of raising rates or demanding that they give me the paperwork in a way that wouldn’t take a lot of time to put it in order.

My consultant worked with me to identify our problem clients and get them to start improving the work they were giving us. At the start of the year, we raised our rates across-the-board with everybody and hired some temporary help for the tax season. We saw an immediate change in profitability. Over the longer term, our net is up, our revenues are up, and we are more selective on the types of clients we take on.

Since my time has been freed up, I am able to really focus on improving my business for the long term rather than being stuck in day-to-day operations. Last year, for example, we went paperless. We initially switched our accounting program and then found a tax program that integrated with it. This will lead to a lot of efficiencies since we won’t have to reenter all the data when it comes time to prepare the tax returns.

This upcoming tax season should be our best ever, not only financially, but also in terms of hours since we will be able to get the work done in a lot less time. Because of all the changes, I haven’t cut down on my hours during tax season yet, but from May to December there has been a significant change in the hours I work. I used to work every Saturday and now I no longer work on weekends. We also leave at 3:00 pm on Fridays. Next tax season, with the new systems in place, I will see a significant drop in my hours.

Since I started with Sterling, our revenues are up 40% and our bottom line has nearly tripled. This showed me that it isn’t how much you make, but how much you keep, and our bottom line has improved tremendously.

I’m not as stressed as before. I don’t let things bother me as much. There is a balance between public accounting and trying to keep a good home life—being a good husband. It has taught me how to better use my time in the office so I can spend more time with my family. Last year my oldest son graduated from high school and we managed to take a two and a half week vacation to Hawaii, plus I took two other vacations last year. Before I started with Sterling, I would have thought there was no way I could get out of town for more than a week at a time. Yet my office managed to survive and get everything done without me for those two and a half weeks.

College and prior experience taught me how to be a good technician. Sterling taught me how to be a good businessman. It helps in hiring the right staff and training them. It gives us ongoing support and guidance. Just having someone I can talk to, whom I can bounce ideas off of, has been important to me. My consultant has been fantastic and I’ve been very happy with the program.

George Parhas, CPA