Recently we discussed how beneficial it is to hire a CPA who is also a ProAdvisor to handle your books – so, how do you find such a person? There’s no yellow pages section for “QuickBooks Experts,” unfortunately – plus, who uses phone books these days? So, where do you start looking for QuickBooks ProAdvisors?
Intuit provides a slick page for you to search for ProAdvisors in your area! A quick search for QuickBooks ProAdvisors in the Chicagoland area brings up 361 results. That’s three hundred and sixty one people who are certified QuickBooks specialists; talk about having a choice! What happens, though, when there are too many choices? Where do you start? All QuickBooks ProAdvisors are skilled in QuickBooks, but how do you find one who is right for your business specifically?
Thankfully, Intuit helps you out – at the top of the Find a Local QuickBooks Expert page, there are some options for filtering. For this experiment, we’re going to say that we’re using the product QuickBooks Online, that we need help with Book Keeping, QuickBooks Setup, and Income Tax Preparation/Planning. We’re going to select No Preference from the ‘Industry’ drop-down menu, saying that we have no preference as to what industry the QuickBooks ProAdvisors specialize in. As soon as you check mark those filters, they’ll be applied to your search results, so just scroll down to see your results!
Now we’re down to 148 QuickBooks ProAdvisors to choose from. Since you only want the best of the best for your business, we’re going to select ‘Highest Rated’ from the Sort By drop down.
Strategy 1: Use Reviews
While judging solely based on reviews can be flawed – grumpy customers are far more likely to take the time to write a review then satisfied ones – they’re still extremely useful. You can see what real people have to say about their experiences working with each QuickBooks ProAdvisor.
So, when you’re going through the list of results, jot down the names of QuickBooks ProAdvisors who have a high number of reviews. Then, once you have your top twenty or so, go back and read those reviews. This isn’t as daunting a task as it may seem. Most reviews are short and easy to read, as they’re written by regular people. Look for certain key words in these reviews. Is the ProAdvisor knowledgable? Is he or she patient? Maybe they’re even fun to work with!
Now, use that knowledge to narrow down your results to a top ten list. Email all ten people asking for quotes and more information. It’s not uncommon for QuickBooks ProAdvisors to offer free initial consultations to potential clients, so you can take your QuickBooks ProAdvisor for a test drive before committing to using their services (just don’t get a consultation without the intent to hire; it’s never cool to waste someone’s time).
I wouldn’t recommend meeting with all ten, but maybe meet with two or three. You’re going to be working closely with this person, and they’re going to be teaching you about QuickBooks, which is a program you may or may not be comfortable using already. So it’s okay to ask yourself, do I like this person?
Strategy 2: Use the “Help Me Choose” Button
On the Find a Local QuickBooks Expert page, you’ll notice a big orange button that says “HELP ME CHOOSE.” It’s there to do just that! Intuit will take a look at the preferences you set and generate a list of four or five QuickBooks ProAdvisors that they think are a good fit for you! Just fill out the form and click ‘Submit,’ and pow! You’re done! You’ve contacted all of those ProAdvisors, and all you have to do is hang out and relax until they get back to you.
You’ll notice that the QuickBooks ProAdvisors listed there aren’t the same as are listed on the first few pages, and this isn’t always a bad thing! All QuickBooks ProAdvisors are qualified to help you; they all have to take the same certification test, which requires that they know QuickBooks in and out. An advantage of contacting a QuickBooks ProAdvisor from somewhere other than the first page of results is that they have fewer people contacting them, meaning that their response times are going to be quicker, and that with a lower volume of inquiries they’ll be able to really focus personalized attention on your business and QuickBooks needs.
Strategy 3: Use Social Media
Is your QuickBooks ProAdvisor also your Facebook friend? Do you follow them on Twitter? QuickBooks ProAdvisors who use social media are up-to-date and technologically savvy. Plus, maybe more importantly, they’re actively trying to communicate with you, the client. By reading their blog you can not only see their knowledge and smarts displayed, but you can also maybe learn something about QuickBooks and accounting!
There are several Facebook groups dedicated to ProAdvisors and QuickBooks, as well as groups on LinkedIn. Just type “proadvisor” into your social network of choice’s search bar and see how many people come up! Even if you’re not a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, you can still join those groups and ask questions. Maybe that’s where you’ll find your new QuickBooks ProAdvisor!
Or, take your top 25 list from Strategy 1 and see if you can find them on the social networks you use. That can help you further narrow down that list.
Your business is important, so it’s important to hire the best possible QuickBooks ProAdvisor forthe job. With these strategies, you can narrow down the bulk of search results and really focus on finding that person. Remember, they’re going to be handling your company’s finances, so choose wisely!