How successful accountants suggest apps for clients: Interview with IncSight

Whether a client comes to you with existing solutions in place or not, it’s important as an accountant to recommend the right apps for their situation. Take the time to compare apps and trust your experience when suggesting an ideal solution. Most importantly, focus on deep integrations that can accurately automate the flow of data between apps.

As part of an interview series we’re running with a range of accounting technologists listed on the Amaka Advisor Directory, we spoke to Mike Jesowshek, Partner at IncSight and Podcast Host at Small Business Tax Savings Podcast. This is number two of four snippets discussing how the US-based accounting firm has used technology to create a better client experience.

Below, you’ll find the recording of the interview snippet, a summary of key points and the full transcript.

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Key points on recommending apps to clients

  • Accountants often don’t give themselves enough credit as the expert in a client relationship
  • When clients come to you with existing solutions in place, it’s important to take the time to look into competitors and decide on the best apps based on your experience
  • “If you see a software that maybe you haven’t tested, you haven’t been presented before, I always encourage accountants and everybody to say, let’s just look into it.”
  • Clients may actually come with an app that you want to add to your own tech stack
  • Integrations are the most common reason why some books are a disaster
  • Apps like Zapier are often too high-level to properly map transactions into accounts and to meet all the intricate accounting standards
  • Take the time to find the right integrations for your clients so that you get accurate, timely data without manual work

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Full interview transcript with IncSight

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Hi, everyone. Today, I’m joined by Mike Jesowshek, CPA brand ambassador at IncSight and also founder and host of the Small Business Tax Savings Podcast. For those of you who don’t know, IncSight is a full service accounting practice located out of West Palm Beach, Florida, offering accounting, bookkeeping, taxation, payroll and advisory services. Mike and his team are an industry leading practice that puts technology first for small, medium business owners.

Mike also doubles up, as I mentioned, as the founder and host of the Small Business Tax Savings Podcast, which has a mission of helping hardworking business owners overcome complicated taxation rules, which can often lead to over inflated tax bills. Thanks for joining us today, Mike.

Mike Jesowshek (IncSight)

Yeah, thanks for having me. Super exciting.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Awesome. And I know that there is a lot of internal discussion that I had with firms when evaluating the internal process. Like as you mentioned, bank reconciliation or, you know, project management and workflow management. But when we also talk to some firms, it’s really intriguing to understand that they have a certain tech stack that they look to recommend to clients.

So that’s obviously outside of your Xeros and your QuickBooks Online because typically that would already have been chosen by the business coming to you. How does, how do things I’d go about, I guess recommending different types of apps and different types of technologies to your client? Because something that we have seen is that clients are quite resistant to the adoption of technology because they always associate that time, that time commitment at day zero is it something that I guess your sales team or you get your accountants and your bookkeepers look to say, look, this 30 minute session that will walk you through this technology will bring you ours on a weekly basis?

How does IncSight go about that?

Mike Jesowshek (IncSight)

Yeah, it’s not only that too, but also, you know, a lot of people come with a current solution or solve it. They’re using it now. We’re trying to change it and that’s, I think, even a harder job. But, the sales oftentimes I think as accountants, we’re hard, we don’t give ourselves enough credit.

You know, we don’t say things like, hey, we, we are the experts in this relationship. Sometimes accountants are just very humble people. And a lot of times they’ll sit back and be like, okay, this person is really confident about this. Then we’re just going to believe them. We’re going to use the software that they want to use when in reality, that person likely doesn’t know the options are out there.

They don’t know the client doesn’t know really what the solution is. And that’s where we come in, is ultimately, if we’re being hired by someone, we are the experts. And so it’s working on that confidence level of saying, you know, having the confidence to be like, now we have a better solution for this and providing some feedback behind why it’s a better solution.

And, you know, I think sometimes you run to the issue where they might be in a software that we’re not that familiar with. And a lot of times that’s how we find software, too. That’s how we found Xero. We were a QuickBooks Online company and a client came to us that was using Xero. And so we didn’t necessarily jump to the conclusion that QuickBooks Online is the better option for them.

We want to check out their software and make and make sure that our decision is still correct. And so I think that that’s one thing that there’s two pieces there when you have a tech stack that you really enjoy. More likely than not, you’ve done enough training on it. You’ve done enough actually utilizing it in real life to understand why it’s better as well as testing out the competitors.

You know, you have to software the same thing more than likely. If that’s in your core tech stack, you have checked out the competitor at some point, and there’s a reason why you prefer this one or the other one. And so I think it’s taking that cumulative knowledge that you have and presenting that to the client saying, this is our tech stack and here’s why we don’t have software X, Y, Z in our tech stack because we feel ABC does this area better.

And I also caveat that If you see a software that maybe you haven’t tested, you haven’t been presented before, I always encourage accountants and everybody to say, let’s just look into it. Let’s check out what they’re doing. Let’s check out how they’ve been using it in that can help correlate to maybe we have maybe we have another software we can add to our tech stack.

And I think, you know, the problem with a lot of that is that you can tell the easy thing is, is when a client comes to you and if they’re already using a software not part of your tech stack, you can usually tell if that software is going to be solid or not.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)


Mike Jesowshek (IncSight)

We’ve got a lot of clients that are using some type of software. They come to us. Their books are a complete mess. And oftentimes it’s because of the integration. It’s not working or whatever. So I can often say, well, here’s a clear indication, your books are a disaster. Something’s wrong with them because we’re looking at this tech stack that you have and it just does not talk well with your core, core accounting system, whatever that might be.

So, you know, it’s kind of taking all that together and saying, okay, where are we going to go from here? More often than not, when clients come to us, they don’t have anything set up. You know, they don’t have a tech stack, they don’t have these types of items. So they’re taking and expecting us to present something to them.

And it goes back to the first point: as accountants, we need to feel that confidence to be able to recommend a tech stack because we’ve known it, used it, and believe in it, and done the research on it. And we are the experts in knowing that we’re the experts if the client wants us to present the change to them.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Yeah, well, I can definitely say, like we’ve obviously been subject to that because we went through multiple demo sessions with the director of Operations, Tony, to make sure that he was comfortable with the Square + Xero integration, you know, looking just beyond the term integration, understanding the account mapping side and how the output looked into Xero before rolling it out to your customers.

It’s something that obviously Tony did very diligently and it just shows that when you as the expert, have a deep, knowledgeable understanding of the integration, he makes the implementation for customers much easier as well. So yeah, I can definitely say that we’ve seen that first hand from the guys at IncSight as well.

Mike Jesowshek (IncSight)

Yeah, and I think there’s so many times that a software says, yes, we integrate with this and we integrate with that. But then when you start to look at that exact integration, it really isn’t as simple or as helpful as they make it appear. You know, they’re using Zapier or something like that where it doesn’t really integrate.

Well, it’s integrating, but it’s not to the point that you’d expect it or want it to, and there might be another solution out there. And so I’ve always said this, you know, I think software pieces can help make an accountant’s job, automate so much of it takes so much of our time away from, say, the data entry things that we can focus on hiring services to our clients.

But integrations, if not done correctly and if not fully vetted and tested, can also do the opposite. I can add hours to an accountant’s plate, and that’s why it’s so important to kind of do that due diligence, do the tests and fully understand what does that integration look like. If we’re looking at account mappings, understanding what those account mappings are doing and how the software is processing those mappings so that when it actually happens, it’s been done correctly because I would say we run into integrations 85% of the time it’s simply because it was not initially set up correctly.

The integration might work fine, but we have mappings that go to the wrong accounts and that’s causing all the financials to be incorrect or messed up.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Yeah, exactly. And I mean you’ll be aware as well, we offer a free guided setup because we know the value of poisoning a customer’s accounting software is very detrimental, especially if you have a synchronization running on a daily basis. So again, that’s why we say over 70% of accountants and bookkeepers setting up that integration, using that guided setup, because typically you’d expect small business owners to be using that because of their unknowing of how data flows, but it’s actually used more by those accountants and bookkeepers as well.

So yeah, it’s very interesting you say that.

Mike Jesowshek (IncSight)

That’s what I love about you guys, is taking the time in the in the front end of that relationship because you know how important that’s going to be to have a success, you know, to have a client be very successful with your software, you know, it’s got to get off on the right foot. And from there, that process is a lot easier.

You have everything set up correctly and things start to get automated but without that initial time being spent up front, who knows where that relationship or where that integration might go?

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Yeah, no, definitely. Definitely