"Right from the start, I could see how I could use SmartVault and its integration with QuickBooks as the foundation for transitioning my business to the cloud."Karen Dellaripa
Pioneering a Game-Changing Expansion into the Cloud
How a Paperless Pioneer leveraged the cloud to create a high-growth virtual bookkeeping and payroll firm
Founded in 2003 by Karen Dellaripa, CPA, Beyond Your Books is a fast-growing, New Jersey-based firm providing full-service, outsourced bookkeeping and payroll services for small to mid-sized professional services businesses as well as some larger corporate entities.
As the name of the firm implies, Dellaripa, her co-founder Rich Strait, and the rest of their team clearly go beyond the core services they provide to deliver the other offerings that they believe are essential to the growth of their clients’ businesses including QuickBooks setup and training, business consulting and a full complement of cloud-based technology services such as time-tracking, bill payments CRM systems and SmartVault, the firm’s document management and collaborative workflow platform.
Even though the firm may be considered “mature” by some, it’s rate of growth has not slowed down—in fact, even after 15 years in business, Beyond Your Books is growing faster than ever. Dellaripa, a CPA with over 30 years of experience, attributes this growth largely to her decision (and foresight) to fully leverage the cloud to enable her firm to grow and increase its client base—which now includes businesses across the country—without having to invest heavily in the overhead required by multiple offices or an excessive number of staff.
“It was about 2008 when I first started thinking about migrating my workflow to the cloud. I learned about SmartVault, which had just been launched, at the industry conferences I attended. It was the idea of being able to use the platform to run a paperless firm that was really a game changer for me,” Dellaripa said. “Right from the start, I could see how I could use SmartVault and its integration with QuickBooks as the foundation for transitioning my business to the cloud.”
Once she understood how she could use SmartVault to grow her business, Dellaripa wasted no time signing on as one of SmartVault’s first clients. Once her firm was up and running on the platform, she began implementing a paperless and collaborative workflow in her firm. As a testament to her success with serving her clients in the cloud, she was recently awarded the SmartVault Paperless Pioneer Award, recognizing her longtime belief in the power of going paperless and the efficiency gains she has realized using SmartVault for cloud-based document management
In addition to Dellaripa’s pioneering spirit, one of the keys to the success Beyond Your Books has experienced, according to Strait, is the firm’s commitment to providing clients with a truly integrated service offering. Using SmartVault’s integration with QuickBooks and Outlook, as well as having a link to SmartVault embedded right into the CRM solution that the firm uses for practice management, has made onboarding customers easy for the firm while creating a flawless first impression for prospective and new clients.
“SmartVault is a standard part of our client workflow and we get prospects to use it before they are even officially on board,” said Strait. “For prospective clients, we immediately start collecting any confidential documentation straight into SmartVault, sending an email an invitation for them to access their dedicated folder on the platform, explaining how using SmartVault adds an extra layer of security for them, as well as allowing us to work more efficiently together. Then, as they become full-fledged clients, we continue using SmartVault for document exchange and collaboration. We also use the automated notifications in SmartVault to keep up a strategic and streamlined flow of communication between them and our staff.”
In addition to the ability to serve more clients from a wider geographic area, and offer them a collaborative and more secure workflow, Dellaripa also noted that using SmartVault benefits her firm by supporting its employee retention efforts. Like most firm owners, Dellaripa wants to keep good team members and SmartVault gives her the ability to do this regardless of where employees are located or where they move to.
“We recently had a team member who moved from New Jersey to Arizona. If our firm wasn’t working in the cloud the way that we do, I would have been scrambling to replace her while also trying to service her portfolio of clients,” explained Dellaripa. “Since all of our client and employee files are securely in the cloud with SmartVault, our employee relocated and was still able to serve our clients without missing a beat. This was a first for our firm, but it gives me confidence that we can add additional staff from other areas of the country to serve more clients and continue to grow without being limited to our own backyard from a talent or client perspective.”
Like many early adopters of technology Dellaripa, has paved the way for others to follow. As a QuickBooks Top 100 Pro Advisor, she is part of a QuickBooks peer group in New Jersey and has encouraged many of her counterparts to expand and evolve their own organizations by incorporating SmartVault into their workflow.
“Since day one, SmartVault has served our firm and our clients exceptionally well. As a firm owner, having a reliable and powerful platform that allows me to scale my business in new ways and provide my clients with peace of mind as well as extraordinary service is priceless,” Dellaripa explained. “I definitely think that any firm looking to create a secure, paperless and collaborative workflow needs to evaluate SmartVault. Once they see the functionality and capabilities that the system offers, they’ll be inspired about how it can be a game changer for their firm—just as it has been, and continues to be for me.”