A Closer Look: Dawn Brolin's Starting Lineup of Accounting Apps

A Closer Look: Dawn Brolin's Starting Lineup of Accounting Apps

Published: April 24, 2024
Share: Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

Dawn Brolin, CPA knows a thing or two about managing a successful accounting firm. Not only is she the CEO of a successful practice, Powerful Accounting, but she’s also a well-respected educator in the industry. Known as the Designated Motivator, Dawn teaches accounting professionals how to better run their practices, including how to use accounting apps to boost efficiency and profitability.

Aligning the right accounting apps with your specific services is critical for any practice,” she explains. “Just like building a winning softball team requires talented players in each key position, your firm needs a tailored collection of tools to maximize productivity and revenue.

Building the Winning Team

After years of trial and error, Dawn carefully selected the right suite of accounting apps – what she calls her Starting Lineup. This powerful combination of solutions handles everything from client management and onboarding to bookkeeping, financial planning and analysis, compliance, and cybersecurity.

Before implementing my Starting Lineup, important client details and deadlines slipped through the cracks,” she recalls. “By establishing consistent, automated workflows across these integrated accounting apps, we’ve significantly enhanced client satisfaction while reducing stress and saving valuable time.

In fact, Dawn credits the lineup for enabling herself and her team to have a successful tax season while working just six hours a day – something nearly unheard of during the busy season.

Dawn’s Starting Lineup of Accounting Apps

With each app fortifying a key area of our practice, we can work more efficiently, take on more clients, and provide truly exceptional service.Here’s a look at the accounting apps making up Dawn’s Starting Lineup:

SmartVault Document Management and Client Portal

SmartVault has become the cornerstone of my firm’s workflow, providing unmatched efficiency, integration, and security,” Dawn shares. SmartVault is an integrated document management system and client portal that lets firms centralize files in one secure, accessible location (see how Dawn organizes her files here). Features like automated document collection, custom PDF form builders, secure file sharing, eSignatures, and direct integration with other accounting apps – including Financial Cents and Liscio, who are also in this lineup – streamline every step of document workflows.

SmartVault enables us to seamlessly onboard new clients and scale our services without increasing staff time,” she says. Unlimited storage, bank-grade encryption, access controls, and compliance support give Dawn confidence that her clients’ sensitive data is protected.


As the client-facing app in her lineup, Liscio provides Dawn’s firm and clients with an all-in-one digital space for collaboration. “Liscio has transformed my client interactions, providing a secure and personalized platform that respects both their privacy and my personal time,” Dawn says.

With Liscio, firms can efficiently collect documents, share updates, securely message clients, and assign tasks via a secure mobile app, web portal, and text messaging. The time savings are substantial: Firms that use Liscio spend at least 40% less time chasing clients, looking for information, resending client documents, and more.

As Dawn explains, “Liscio is the best way to provide an experience that keeps the clients you love coming back and your team highly motivated to serve them.

Liscio integrates directly with SmartVault, so you can publish documents gathered through Liscio directly to SmartVault! Additionally, when you’re ready to send documents to the client, you can pull them directly from SmartVault and continue on with your day!

Financial Cents

Financial Cents is a practice management tool that, in Dawn’s words, “absolutely rocks.” It centralizes workflow, team collaboration, client information, deadlines, capacity planning, and more in one streamlined platform that was built specifically for accounting and bookkeeping firms.

All of your information is in one place, and you can automate your workflow and create transparency across your firm,” Dawn explains. The app’s powerful workflow automation, AI integration (including ChatGPT), and Zapier connectivity simplify routine tasks.

Simply put: “The benefits of using Financial Cents are tremendous.

Financial Cents integrates with SmartVault to further streamline processes. If you’re working on client tasks in Financial Cents, you can access their SmartVault portal – and all their documents – right in the Financial Cents platform, saving you from having to bounce between the different apps. And when you create a client in SmartVault, it automatically creates the client in Financial Cents, so you don’t have to input the client’s information twice.


For our clients selling through e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Square, or PayPal, it’s imperative they’re on Bookkeep,” Dawn says.

Bookkeep is a revenue and financial automation (RFA) platform that automates the time-consuming, complex process of posting and reconciling daily accrual financials from multiple ecommerce and retail sales channels into accounting platforms like QuickBooks, Xero, Zoho Books, and Sage Intacct. It automatically files and pays sales tax across all 50 states, so you don’t need to worry about compliance.

Bookkeep’s automated bookkeeping eliminates the need for tedious manual reconciliations or adjustments.” This saves accounting teams at least 20 hours a month. And, as Dawn succinctly states, “Bookkeep is a freaking awesome app!


Jirav has revolutionized my practice, offering deep financial insights and strategic planning capabilities for clients,” Dawn says. The financial planning and analysis solution integrates general ledger and workforce data, offering an all-in-one solution that empowers firms to triple their advisory revenue. Features like scenario modeling, rolling forecasts, and custom dashboards help Dawn provide a true advisory relationship.

Jirav is an essential tool for becoming a trusted business advisor,” Dawn says. It’s no wonder that Jirav is the preferred solution provider of CPA.com and trusted by over 4,000 businesses and firms.


When providing tax, valuation, and advisory services to closely-held businesses, Dawn relies on RCReports for essential reasonable compensation analysis. “If you want to take your firm to advisory, RCReports is an absolute must-have,” she affirms.

It provides essential reasonable compensation analysis for closely-held businesses, and it’s the perfect add-on to increase revenue generation with tax and advisory services.

RCReports gives tax advisors, valuators, and forensic accountants accurate and independent calculations of Reasonable Compensation, incorporating industry, legal, IRS criteria, and proprietary salary data intelligence. This helps you assist your clients in maintaining compliance, minimizing risk, and achieving maximum payroll tax savings.

It’s also built on the same methodologies the IRS uses to calculate reasonable compensation, so you can confidently provide strategic recommendations and guidance to your clients.


Safeguarding against cyber threats is crucial for any modern accounting firm. That’s why Dawn turned to Visory for a comprehensive cybersecurity solution tailored to the profession.

Visory offers a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity services that safeguard operations, including secure QuickBooks hosting, protected cloud drives, and customized IT support.

With Visory, you get the reliability and security…to safeguard against cyber threats, ensuring operational continuity and peace of mind for both you and your clients,” Dawn shares.

With deep industry expertise, Visory solutions integrate the latest technology with superior protocols and procedures to help you maintain compliance and ensure robust protection.

Create Your Winning Team

By sharing her first-hand experiences and insights, Dawn hopes to inspire other firms to carefully assess their needs and build a tailored lineup of accounting apps for their accounting practices.

Want to see exactly how Dawn uses SmartVault? She shares the exact process she uses to seamlessly onboard her accounting and tax clients and serve them with the highest level of efficiency possible in this on-demand webinar. You’ll see her processes for client onboarding and communication, document management tools and folder structures, plus her integrated technology environment that is the foundation of her firm’s success.

To see SmartVault in action, schedule a demo with us today.