Small firm based in South Thomaston, ME
PCPS Member Since 2015
Jodie M. Heal, CPA, MAFM – President
Accounting Solutions to Help Small Businesses Thrive
I started in the profession working for a small family owned firm. I worked there for three and a half years, while I was getting my master’s degree and studying for the CPA exam. After finishing my degree and getting my CPA, I moved to a larger firm for another three and a half years. I divided my time between working in municipal audit and tax. Working at both of these firms, I had over an hour commute to get to the office each day. After having a child, I realized that this commute was not only a huge waste of time, but simply wasn’t a viable option for me anymore. I made the decision to go out on my own and start a firm.
The area that I live in is very rural, and most CPA firms in the area are small and are not accepting new clients. There are also a number of local CPAs retiring, and no new firms are coming in to fill that gap. I saw the need, and knew that starting my own practice would provide a lot of opportunity. My firm just completed its first year, and it was a very successful year. I was even able to hire an employee who will be a huge asset for the coming tax season. When I first started looking to hire, I was looking for an administrative assistant and had advertised in several places in my local area. I happened to get a resume from a candidate who had taken college courses in accounting and taxation and was working towards a QuickBooks Pro Advisor certification. I brought this candidate on board to work in a tax preparer role, as well as assisting with administrative duties. I think she will be a great fit for the firm, and look forward to seeing what the coming busy season has in store for us.
Creating a Digital Practice
When starting my firm, one thing that I really wanted to do was create a primarily digital environment. I am in the process of developing our internal processes so that we are operating in a way that enables us to serve clients remotely and in a technology focused environment. This year was my first year attending AICPA/CPA.com’s Digital CPA conference, and it was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the technology that is available and how other firms are leveraging it in their practices. I’m excited about the opportunities that technology can provide my firm in terms of growing my business, by being able to work with clients or employees remotely from any location across the country, and as a service offering I can provide to my clients. I want to be able to advise clients on what technologies they can be using to make themselves more efficient and enable business growth.
Primarily, I serve small and new businesses. I think that being a resource that can help them through their growth phase and help them thrive is the biggest opportunity for my firm. For example, one service that we provide is QuickBooks training and setup. We work with clients to train them on the functions they can complete in QuickBooks, without confusing them with all of the software’s capabilities. Then, in turn, they also have our firm as a resource when they have questions or to leverage as their business grows and they are no longer able to handle tasks, such as bookkeeping, on their own. We strive to be an advisor that can help their business grow and a resource that they can lean on once they are thriving.
Why We Joined PCPS
When I was first starting my firm, I was mostly just exploring the AICPA website to find templates and tools that would assist me in the process. I found that many of the things I was looking for were available to PCPS members. I did a little more research and found that PCPS membership was very reasonably priced and decided to join. It has been a tremendously helpful resource for me as I have been getting my practice off the ground. The PCPS Human Capital Center has a number of templates that were helpful with my recent new hire, including tools to develop a job description and employee handbook. I also often use the technical toolkits that are available, and the monthly articles help me identify areas that I may need to focus on but haven’t yet. There’s a lot of information available on the site, and it can be a little overwhelming sometimes. However, I’ve found that the section search function on the site has been extremely helpful in finding specific items that I need.
Small firm based in South Thomaston, ME