Mark D. Grant, CPA and outsourced accounting firm owner, has long had a vision for his firm—to be completely virtual with the ability for he and his staff to work anywhere and at any time. Grant’s vision does not include filing cabinets, real estate, or other tethers that would keep him tied down to one location.
“I don’t want to be onsite within my own firm or with clients,” Grant explained. “We are our clients outsourced accounting department, which means we serve them throughout the year and have to be able to do this virtually.”
Grant also recognizes that virtual is the way today’s professionals want to work as well. In fact, his virtual firm model has attracted the best-of-the-best employees. He even has a waiting list.
“We have staff all over, including Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington DC, and one staffer that works between California and Costa Rica. They all love the flexibility of working from home. I even have a waiting list of qualified professionals that want to come and work for my firm. It’s the way people want to work today,” Grant stated.
Being a completely virtual firm didn’t happen overnight. In fact, Grant did a fair share of research to build the right cloud-based technology infrastructure—and one of the core elements is SmartVault.
“I needed a file storage and sharing application that integrated with QuickBooks®. I looked into SmartVault and implemented it shortly after. It’s been outstanding!”
Document sharing and access for all!
SmartVault has served as the much-needed link between Grant and his many clients. As a virtual firm, all document sharing is accomplished online. With SmartVault he can set up unique permissions and “guest” links to share needed files with clients and clients’ tax preparers and/or auditors.
“We are firmly in the outsourced accounting niche; we don’t do taxes or audits,” Grant explained. “However, we do support our clients with the documentation needed to fulfill tax preparation and audit requests. SmartVault serves us well in this area.”
“At tax time we set up guest links for our clients’ tax preparers so that they can easily access files. We do the same thing for clients’ auditors—providing audit staff access to a well-organized tree of folders that contain the complete year of required workpapers.”
Grant loves that he can also access documents from anywhere—even while lounging at the pool. While on vacation with his daughter, he received a call from a client with a question. Instead of trudging back up to his hotel room and firing up his computer to locate documents, he used the SmartVault app on his smartphone to navigate to the right files to answer the client’s question. He then called the client back with the answer.
“I was laying out by the pool in the hotel’s “relaxation garden,” Grant said. “Why would I want to leave such a place to look up a document? With the SmartVault app, I didn’t have to. I’m super impressed with the mobile app; it’s so slick and easy to use.”
Working from home or abroad…
Mentioned earlier, Grant has long envisioned running a cloud-based firm, where travel interrupts nothing. Closest to his heart is traveling to Italy for extended stays, where he can run his business without a hiccup.
“The path to everything I want is in the cloud,” Grant said. “I want to travel to Italy for a month and run my practice while there, enjoying the beautiful landscape and culture. I want the freedom to work where and when I want—I want to work my way.”
Having built a sophisticated and streamlined cloud infrastructure, there is nothing to stop Grant for his operations-abroad plan. “With SmartVault and other advanced technologies, I will work overseas without issue.”
Every entrepreneur has a unique vision for their business. Grant’s is to be completely virtual—and experience all the freedom that goes with it.
“We are doing it now,” he said. “All of my staff work from home and love the flexibility it offers. I have no reason to doubt that working from abroad is in the near future for me, or any one of my staff that chooses to do the same.”
SmartVault has been integral in helping Grant fulfill his vision as well as accomplish great business success.
Grant stated, “As our clients’ internal year-round accounting department, we have to be able to easily and securely share documents at all times. SmartVault simplifies what could have been a highly complex document sharing process, and that is pure gold to a firm dedicated to reaching a state of complete virtualness.”