Editor's Note: In our continuing effort to give you the content you need, our "Top 100 Insightful Accountant Spotlight On..." series offers insights and perspectives from some of today's leading accounting professionals.
After 30 years in the bookkeeping and accounting worlds, Natalie Browne understands what it takes to show her clients how to succeed. The founder of adding technology and Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor in Santa Barbara, Calif., works diligently with her clients to share her confidence in QuickBooks software and some of the many applications that can be integrated to create an awesome accounting and management system.
Natalie, a "2016 Insightful Accountant Top 100 ProAdvisor," started her career in 1985 as a receptionist in an accounting office in the old Piccadilly Square in Santa Barbara, where she quickly moved into a bookkeeping position while working part-time for another local bookkeeper. After a stint in private accounting for a publishing company in Woodland Hills, Calif., she returned to Santa Barbara, eventually starting adding technology in 2001.
In 2004, she accepted a position with the premier accounting firm, Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co., as a bookkeeper and QuickBooks consultant. She continues to work as a bookkeeper and QuickBooks consultant there, while maintaining adding technology as the software side of her Intuit affiliation.
We sat down with Natalie to get her thoughts on where the industry is heading:
Give us a snapshot of today's accounting landscape.
Technology is giving accountants and advisors more freedom to work away from the office. I have the privilege of operating my own business and working for a full service accounting firm. With remote desktop, Cloud-based applications and even GoToMyPC, I am not as chained to the office as in the past.
Technology is giving accountants and advisors more freedom to work away from the office. I have the privilege of operating my own business and working for a full service accounting firm.
What was the biggest surprise you saw in 2016?
I am not sure I have been surprised by anything. I think what does surprise me is when others are surprised by change. Talking QuickBooks, as an example, I was not very happy with the new security releases causing password changes across the board, but I was not surprised and I understand the necessity to stay in front of security threats.
I was a little surprised by the number of clients who were more than upset. With all the added security everywhere else, i.e., online banking, I thought there would be more acceptance of the situation. Instead, I had countless emails and telephone calls from clients wanting to know how to change it back.
In other words, instead of being thrilled by many of the new features we have seen roll out, clients and other users can only see the perceived faults in the systems.
What is the biggest item on your to-do list for 2017?
Gosh, I haven’t had time to think about 2017. Off the top of my head, one of the things is to convince the clients who have not already embraced the "remote" future to either move to QBO or, at least invest in remote access applications so I spend even less time driving from office to office. I would rather travel to Hawaii and work remotely.
What three areas should every accountant keep an eye on next year?
We should keep our eyes on technology. Cloud solutions are jumping forward by leaps and bounds. OCR technology is becoming the “data entry” clerk of the future. And, of course on a completely different note, the ever changing tax laws that keep throwing us curve balls, causing us to step back. The new 1099 deadline also comes to mind.
What goals have you set for 2017?
I want to work on finding more balance between life and work. I read somewhere recently the saying, “I used to have a life, but my job ate it.” I need that on a bumper sticker. My goal for 2017 is to work harder at saying “no,” and to stop trying to be everything to everyone. In other words, I need to quit being such a people pleaser and start thinking about what I can do to improve and empower myself. In the long run, it will make me a better advisor.