Interview with Barbara Ostrander, CPA, Partner, Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell LLP
How are client accounting services different today than 5 years ago? The adoption of cloud computing has transformed how accountants and clients are collaborating and communicating. When traditional accounting services are part of your DNA, it’s hard to reimagine what they can be. We had a conversation with Barbara Ostrander, CPA who shares why and how Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell LLP approached this growing opportunity.
HW: Why did you decide to expand into outsourced accounting and advisory services?
BO: We were receiving an increasing number of requests for added assistance with accounting in areas such as paying bills and processing payroll, but we weren’t set up to manage this type of work. We didn’t have an answer for clients, so we began thinking: what if we could do it all for our clients? The challenge was how we could deliver these services.
HW: How did you develop your strategy for offering these new services?
BO: We weren’t sure where to get started, so we decided to attend the CPA.com Client Advisory Services workshop to ensure that we had the right strategy in place and that our client accounting services department was set up properly and structured most effectively to deliver these services.
HW: What part of offering these services excited you most?
BO: I got very excited about focusing on a vertical; that’s where I could really see the value. This isn’t just low-level write-up and bookkeeping work. We’re gathering data because it’s necessary to get to the level of virtual CFO services and provide real-time, relevant information, instead of being in the month of September and reporting their second quarter financial statement information.
HW: What was your approach to technology?
BO: We weren’t familiar with the current technology options and didn’t have time to conduct product trials so we turned to the CPA.com to help us identify the best solutions. We could immediately see the benefits of providing these services to clients very efficiently. We decided to take the time to increase our knowledge and proficiency of these cloud solutions before transitioning clients and marketing to prospects.
HW: How do you feel about the future of your firm now?
BO: I’m no longer worried about being left behind and becoming obsolete to clients. I’m excited to continue our digital journey and the opportunities that await. I’m confident we have the tools and support to be successful.
Read the full success story to learn more.
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