Does adding a new quality QuickBooks client every month interest you? If so, consider becoming a highly rated ProAdvisor!
I have no inside information about the ProAdvisor program, only my experience over the last
ten years. Three simple steps can propel you to the front page of the QuickBooks Find-a-ProAdvisor list.
The first is to love what you do. If you do not enjoy working with QuickBooks and love working with people, don’t read any further. You must exude enthusiasm about what you work with to be successful and since 85-90% of small businesses use QuickBooks, and you are enthusiastic about QuickBooks, you have a huge advantage over other QuickBooks ProAdvisors.
Second, become certified in all of the Intuit QuickBooks products. I cannot begin to tell you how our knowledge of all the QuickBooks products allows us to guide our prospects and clients to the right QuickBooks product.
Third, you must actively request reviews from every single client. Without good reviews, you will never get on the front page of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor website in any area where there are many good ProAdvisors. You must be better than the average ProAdvisor and reviews are one of the best way to differentiate yourself. I will talk about this more later.
By doing these three things over the last ten or more years, we have been listed on the front page of most of the zip codes within a 30 mile radius of our office. Being on the front pages brings us at least 1-2 qualified QuickBooks leads a week through the QuickBooks Find-a-ProAdvisor website.
We have taken two additional steps to improve on our client’s and prospect's interaction with our office. First, I have employees who help me with our QuickBooks clients. Every one of them is certified in QuickBooks and is encouraged to talk to every prospect and client to answer their questions. We pay for their participation in the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program and ask them to stay current on their certifications. Not everyone has employees, but an alternative is that you can team up with another QuickBooks ProAdvisor. If each of you focuses on a slightly different area, you will complement each other.
Additionally, we have become an Intuit Reseller participating in the Intuit Reseller Program (IRP). By becoming an IRP, we receive additional leads through Intuit for sales of their Enterprise and Point of Sales Products above and beyond the QuickBooks ProAdvisor site. These are leads which in addition to selling the product, the prospects usually needs assistance in upgrading or installing the programs. This is not for everyone as there are minimum sales targets we must meet to remain in the IRP program, and while it helps, it is not the key factor in becoming a highly rated ProAdvisor.
So let’s be more specific about what it takes to become a highly rated ProAdvisor. I want to expand on the second and third steps I mentioned above starting with certifications. Getting your basic QuickBooks Desktop and Online certifications are the first step. Then do the following:
- Become an Advanced Desktop ProAdvisor If you want to accelerate your ability to take the Advanced Desktop ProAdvisor test, get certified in all available versions of QuickBooks Desktop, which is usually the current and prior versions. The next year will provide you with the required three certifications to take the Advanced Desktop ProAdvisor Certification Test.
- Become an Advanced QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor.
- Become certified in the Enterprise version of QuickBooks.
- Stay current on your certifications. This means that as soon as a new certification comes out, you complete the certification.
Certifications take time, but I have no problem spending 100 hours a year in continuing education. The certification process is nothing more than continuing education as you need to be knowledgeable on all current versions of QuickBooks, whether it be Online or Desktop, Premier or Enterprise. The time spent maintaining current certification comes back many times over as you gain new customers due to your knowledge—oh yes, and enthusiasm!
Last, but as important as maintaining your certification, is that of getting positive reviews from your clients. Every client you work with should be asked to submit a review. Ask them personally at the end of a conversation. Add the direct ProAdvisor website address to submit a review to every email that is sent out and to your website.
Have you noticed that all of the highest rated ProAdvisors have reviews and that those with the most reviews and the most certifications are close to the top of the list, if not at the top of the list? The combination of having good reviews and all of the certifications is what brings us 1-2 quality leads each week. We have clients from as far away as the Micronesian Islands who searched the ProAdvisor list in our area and selected us based on our reviews and certifications.
Now let me share with you that we are located in the Los Angeles area. This provides us with a large number of businesses who use QuickBooks within the 30 mile radius of the standard ProAdvisor search. It is also an extremely competitive market where there are hundreds of QuickBooks ProAdvisors. We also charge well over $100 per hour for our time and define a quality lead as one who is serious about learning how to best use QuickBooks to improve their business and is comfortable with our fee structure.
Interestingly, only about 40 of us in the Los Angeles area have more than 10 reviews. The highest rated ProAdvisor in the Los Angeles area is approaching 100 reviews and their listing is almost always one of the top three ProAdvisors. It should not be surprising to you that they have almost every certification that can be obtained going back at least ten years. The combination of a high number of reviews, certification in every QuickBooks product, and I dare say an enthusiastic ProAdvisor, keeps them on the front page of the ProAdvisor search throughout the 30 mile standard radius from their office.
I should mention that there are two additional steps that need to be taken to connect well with clients. First, have a professional photographer take a headshot of you and upload it to your ProAdvisor site. Second, Fill out your profile and write something interesting about your practice and the services you provide.
Not everyone is located in a large metropolitan area, but if you are enthusiastic, pass every certification possible and request reviews from you clients regularly and consistently, I will not be surprised to see you on the front page of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor listing within five years in your area.
Steven Clement is a CPA located in the northern part of the Los Angeles area. Twenty years ago he realized that QuickBooks was quickly becoming the accounting software of choice for small businesses and decided to focus his business side of his practice on clients willing to use QuickBooks. His firm will prepare over 1,000 tax returns this year with approximately half of his business focusing on business clients QuickBooks and tax preparation.