Robert Naugler has been practicing as a CPA for more than sixteen years when he found out about Sterling. He says he had attended lots of practice management seminars and had lots of management information. He had been the Chairman of the Management of Accounting Committee of the Idaho Society of CPAs. “But all of that data was insufficient,” says Naugler. “Where I was at last December, I got a flyer from Sterling, which said something like, ‘Do you have all the practice management answers?,’ and I just laughed. I laughed and then I picked up the phone to call Sterling.
“What I got from Sterling was like nothing I’d ever encountered. It isn’t available anywhere else. But in my view it should be being taught in our grade schools. It would be a wonderful world if it were!”
How could management technology bring such praise from an experienced and somewhat world-weary CPA? According to Naugler, by putting him in real control of his practice.
“I still have a lot of steps to apply all the management technology, but for one thing Sterling has given me the ability not to have my hand in everything, but to have my hand just in the things I should have my hand in.
“Like other CPAs, I have gone the route of working ungodly hours to build my practice. CPAs know how to work hard. We’ve never had a problem with the work ethic. Like other practitioners I’ve met, we know the importance of a quality product and lots of service.
“But we have not known how to produce an organization with employees who are self-motivating, self-evaluating, self-directing. And Sterling enabled me to do that.
“I’ve seen other firms and one for one they just can’t solve this one. Large firms are too often too harsh with employees, owners of small firms don’t know how to deal with employees, don’t really want to deal with them.
“Myself, I have had a staff of four people, good people, but at times not that well coordinated. Now everyone knows what they are responsible for; they have their own weekly goals and objectives in terms of the organization and their product.
“What that has meant for me personally came really clear to me this past spring, when I compared it to the last two. I’ve been calm and centered. I’ve had clients say to me—I probably shouldn’t say this, but it’s the truth—say they felt like they were talking to a human being instead of a machine!
“Although my production is going up, I’ve spent fewer hours in the office, mostly because I have a smooth-running office, where I recognize who should be doing what and get them to do it. There will be a time soon when I’ll be wanting to add employees and I look forward to that going well, too.
“Look,” says Naugler, indicating there’s a very personal payoff in all this. “I’ve got a ten year old and a beautiful wife and I want to see them, I want to spend time with them. I was never willing to sacrifice quality of life for financial well-being, or the other way around. I wanted them both.
“And Sterling has helped me do that.”