Schulte and Schulte is a bookkeeping firm specializing in construction and contracting firms. They use a suite of cloud apps, centered around QuickBooks Online, Knowify, ClockShark, T-Sheets, HubDoc, and Aero Workflow to streamline their clients’ bookkeeping and give them valuable insight into their finances. We recently sat down with Tonya Schulte to chat about how their firm is changing as it grows and how Aero has helped them manage that growth.
A year ago, Schulte and Schulte had grown to the point where they needed to bring on their first new hire. That was when Tonya realized that she was going to need a more formalized system of managing their workflow. “I was used to sitting down every morning, looking at my calendar and my to-do list, and figuring out what I needed to get done every day. I tried just continuing that – meeting with my employee every morning and going over what needed to get done that day. It just didn’t work.” Her staff person got frustrated at his inability to see his schedule ahead of time. And Tonya had no way of knowing what was completed without interrupting her bookkeeper to get status updates.
A year later, those morning meetings are a distant memory. And it’s a good thing too: her team has grown from one part-time person to what will soon be 2 full-time and 2 part-time people. Client tasks are scheduled and assigned so that everyone simply logs into Aero to see what they need to do each day. And Tonya knows exactly what’s been completed, without having to track down and grill team members. “I can have a meeting with a client and go over all the work we’ve done for them. It’s so easy to see comments the bookkeeper made and relay any important information to the client.” The only preparation Tonya needs to do for a client meeting is run a Completed Aeros report and she has everything she needs.
Tonya feels “more organized and under control than I did a year ago.” She has her firm’s procedures in place and recurring client work is all scheduled. “It actually took me a little while to get my procedures written. I had this feeling that I had to be responsible for writing everything for our firm.” Then a couple of months into using Aero, Tonya took a good look at the Aero Library and realized that there was a huge amount of content they could use. “That was one of those ‘Ah-ha’ moments. Of course, there were procedures we had to write for stuff we do our way. But we didn’t have to write a Close Period procedure for each of our clients. We were able to take the Close Period template from the Library and tweak it a little for each client. That really helped us get everything done.”
The insights gained from Aero has helped Schulte and Schulte refine their business practices. “The way we price works like this: we give prospects a set price for a 5-hour ‘peak under the hood’. Then there’s a price to get everything cleaned up and all the apps up and running, And finally a monthly price for all the recurring work.” They had a policy that if the prospect accepted their proposal, the cost of the ‘peak under the hood’ would be credited to the onboarding fee. However, Aero showed them that the 5-hour evaluation was usually 8 hours or more. And that the ‘peak under the hood’ frequently morphed into something else entirely. So, they no longer offer to credit the client the evaluation fee. Their evaluation gives the client valuable insight into their finances, so they feel perfectly comfortable charging for it.
The scalability offered by Aero is allowing Tonya to hand off all the daily client tasks and concentrate on growing and expanding the firm. “Starting in January, I’ll be reassigning all of my bookkeeping Aeros to my soon-to-be full-time bookkeeper so I can concentrate on the bigger picture and other client services. It’s so great knowing that my bookkeeper will be able to take on all that work smoothly because the steps and procedures are all outlined in Aero for her.” She’s able to step away from the day-to-day firm activities confident that client work will be done right and on time.
Tonya plans on doing more consulting and training in the coming year. Given all that Schulte and Schulte has accomplished so far, we’re sure that she’ll be hugely successful! And Aero will be there with her, every step along the way.