Helping people help themselves

One QuickBooks ProAdvisor’s battle cry for the profession to embrace new technology

Jan Jackson, Director of DKNA Business Solutions in Calgary, had a problem. She was quickly realizing the biggest pain point in her busy accounting practice was managing workflow. How to keep the work rolling smoothly and seamlessly in the cyclical financial reporting world where so much is dictated by month-ends, quarterly-ends, year-ends, and tax season?

So, like pretty much everything else she does in relation to her business, she turned to technology.

“I’ve been a QuickBooks user (and now QuickBooks Online) for over 30 years and I knew they would have something for me. QuickBooks Online is forever developing or integrating new applications and tools to help accountants get the most out their software – and I’d prefer to work with a vendor I know and trust. Sure enough, in their practice management section, there were a few tools to help me.”

A self-professed “QuickBooks Online junkie,” Jan became a ProAdvisor several years ago to help other accountants and bookkeepers get the most from the software and use it effectively – and to its full potential – in their work.

“I take my title of ProAdvisor seriously,” she says. “I believe I have to be the expert, and have to use the technology extensively, so my customers trust me.”

Jan keeps her skills and knowledge fresh and current by taking courses and attending conferences – like QuickBooks’ Get Connected conference in Vancouver this past January. These opportunities expose her to what’s new and exciting. She then passes on what she’s learned to others. “I really try and help people help themselves, especially when it comes to trying out new technologies and getting them working with the apps that would help them.”

Keeping on top of the new technology and leveraging it in her business where it makes sense gives her a real competitive advantage, Jan believes. And she believes others in her profession need to develop a similar outlook.

“You can just get more done,” says Jan. “I employ one full-time accountant and three bookkeepers servicing 75 clients – I’m always on the lookout for efficiencies.”

Jan said she met someone the other day who was still filing paper returns in her practice, and she was shocked. “How is that efficient? Are you giving the best value to your clients that way?”

I have to be the expert, and have to use the technology extensively, so my customers trust me

The more accountants and bookkeepers can leverage technology in their work, the more efficient and value-based their business becomes in turn. Whether through apps like ReceiptBank or which she learned about at a previous QuickBooks Connect conference in Toronto.

“I had a client who was faced with business closure because they weren’t properly accounting for their costs, especially when it came to their online marketing costs and its impact on profitability. If we had had a tool like then that could have sat over top of their QuickBooks data and made querying around costs easier, we might have caught this issue earlier.”

Jan acknowledges it can be scary and intimidating to try new tools, but using apps that have been created by or integrated easily with software you are already using – like QuickBooks Online – helps eliminate some of the pain points.

“Accountants really need to get on top of the new technology or risk getting left behind,” she says.


– Cherine Hlady

Cherine Hlady

Author Cherine Hlady

Cherine Hlady is a freelance writer, editor and communications strategist. She develops and edits content – across a variety of print and digital mediums – for clients primarily in the high tech, government and not-for-profit sectors. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and two young children.

More posts by Cherine Hlady