How to deliver $30K in ROI from a Best-of-Breed Tech Stack

Published: May 6, 2021
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There’s nothing that can power up the profitability and overall performance of your practice like the ability to scale. Once you have a repeatable system in place, you’ll be able to easily scale your practice and bring in more team members which takes the burden off you. If you really want to skyrocket your ability to serve more clients efficiently, while dramatically increasing your ROI, then you need to create a business model—and a connected tech stack—to support this goal.

Having the right tech stack in place allows your team to do their job effectively, which is essential for a growing firm looking to scale up. Once you have the right technology infrastructure and an expansion plan in place, you also need to ensure that you have the right tone at the top. As a firm owner, you are in charge of operations and you have the responsibility to give your employees the tools they need to succeed.

Case Study: How Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE Powered Up Her Practice by Optimizing Her Workflow and Tech Stack

Dawn Brolin, owner of Powerful Accounting, in Windham, Connecticut provides tax, accounting, fraud and tax representation services to business clients. As far as building her tech stack goes, Dawn uses a systematic, profit-minded approach of continuous improvement.

“When it comes to implementing new technology solutions in my firm, my key criteria are how they will allow me to scale my business further an improve my profitability,” shares Dawn. “For example, I have been able to increase revenue by serving more clients, while still lowering overhead costs by creating a repeatable workflow system for tax and accounting work, supported by a best-of-breed tech stack.”

Dawn spent several years looking closely at her practice needs, her desired revenue and profit goals and how she could use the full power of the technology systems she was using to power up her practice and maximize ROI.

Today, Powerful Accounting runs on a seamless workflow system that Dawn created. She was even able to add more clients during the pandemic, increasing her revenue and profitability even more. How did she do it?

“Essentially I looked at all of the tech solutions I was using and how they could fit together to create a seamless workflow which allowed me to increase revenue by spending less time handling data between applications and increase my overall throughput of client work within a system that allowed others to do the majority of the administrative, non-billable work.”

Power Up Your Practice by Adding $30,000 of Profit to Your Bottom Line

So how exactly did Dawn increase her net profit, reduce the time she spends at the office while also creating a scalable practice? Dawn largely credits her tech stack, as evidenced by these examples of how they work together to maximize her ROI:

1. Integrating Lacerte with SmartVault & DocuSign. For Dawn, her tax preparations workflow relies heavily on the integration between Lacerte, SmartVault, and DocuSign.

A tax return preparation process only begins when clients have submitted all of their documents to Dawn’s SmartVault portal. Once all files are received, Dawn will start processing the returns in Lacerte and when she’s done, the entire tax return package along with the client invoices can print directly as PDFs from Lacerte into SmartVault.

Because SmartVault integrates with DocuSign, Dawn can directly send the 8879 form and invoices (now exported into SmartVault from Lacerte) from the client’s SmartVault folder for eSign and payment approval.

This connected tech stack gives Dawn the convenience of not having to attach files, move files between apps, or download/upload files from different locations. It removes lots of frictions in Dawn’s tax preparation process, which saves her time in admin-tasks and gives back more time to do billable work.

Savings: 5 min./return x 310 returns = 25.84 hours @ $375 per hour = $9,690

2. Embed SmartVault client folder links in Karbon allows Dawn to “live” in Karbon but have access to clients tax docs with the click of one button.

Savings: 5 min. /return x 310 returns = 25.84 hours @ $375 per hour = $9,960

3. DocuSign is used for onboarding in Dawn’s firm, including payment method capturing, which saves time in phone calls and having all the information for a client in one place.

Savings: 10 min/return x 310 returns = 51.67 hours @ $30 per hour (admin rate) = $1,550

4. Connecting TSheets to QBO and ADP increases time savings for billing and payroll processing. This includes invoice generation for time invoices and payroll creation combined time savings of the 5 min per invoice and the weekly payroll preparation.

Savings: 5 min per invoice/52 weeks of payroll x 135 invoices in 2020 = 11.25 hours @$375 per hour = $4,218

5. Quotient to QBO for generating tax invoices.

Savings: 2 min./invoice x 310 invoices = 10.34 hours @ $375 per hour = $3,877.50

6. Lacerte to Karbon for updating clients’ return statuses.

Savings: 2 min./return x 310 returns = 10.34 hours @ $30 per hour (admin rate) = $310.20

Dawn’s total time savings = 135.28 hours

Dawn’s total cost savings = $29,337

An ROI-Maximizing Best-of-Breed Tech Stack Powered Up Dawn’s Practice During the Pandemic

Dawn’s ROI-driven tech stack has given her the edge she needs to power up her practice by scaling her ability to serve clients, especially through the pandemic. By having the ability to scale her practice and create a remote team, Dawn has grown her business with a lower cost structure which adds revenue to the bottom line. She has even grown her business since COVID 19 using this model, processing more tax returns in 2020 than in 2019 and 2018 in less time.

Dawn believes that the keys to her success are using the right connected technology solutions and honing her operational workflows. “If you think you are limited to a certain number of clients based on the number of hours you have in a day this is simply not the case,” she states, “With the right processes and technology infrastructure, you can actually work less but deliver more in the same amount of hours.”


Interested in growing your firm and maximizing your profit potential as well? Join Dawn on her Practice Power Hour: Maximize the ROI of Your Firm with a Best-of-Breed Tech Stack webinar May 25 at 10 am central time.

In this webinar, Dawn will showcase her firm’s workflow and how her tech stack works together to deliver year over year growth in revenue and profits. Watch here to Power Up Your Practice today.