Finding the Right Software for Your Firm with Randy Johnston
On Episode 60 of The Unique CPA, Randy speaks with Randy Johnston, Executive Vice President at K2 Enterprises and a leading technology consultant. Randy discusses how to find the optimal software package for client accounting services and shares his thoughts on the radical technology transition he foresees the industry undergoing over the next five years.
Today, our guest is Randy Johnston. I don’t think Randy really needs any introduction. Randy’s actually been in the technology portion of consulting with accounting in the accounting industry for over 40 years now. He is a top rated speaker in our industry. And I can attest to the fact that he is a top rated speaker. I’ve been able to hear him speak before. He has all kinds of awards, recognition, accolades, some of them very recent. But let me go through a list with you real quick. He has been named a Top 20 Thought Leader in Accounting from 2011 through 2021. Accounting Today has put him on the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting lists from 2004 through 2021. And that list just came out in December of 21. He is number 10 on that list currently, and so that’s an awesome position to be in. He writes a monthly column on technology for CPA Practice Advisor. He’s published many books. And you probably could have guessed this because of all those other things. But he has also been inducted into the accounting Hall of Fame. Randy, welcome to The Unique CPA.
Well, Randy, I appreciate the invitation to speak with you and for your listeners.
We appreciate you being here. And I guess we have a Randy and Randy show today. So at least there’s only two of us talking to each other. So we’ll know which Randy is asking what’s your other Randy the question? I actually was on a conference with you, a virtual conference. And I don’t know if you know this or not, but I think it was last October or November. And somebody asked you a question. And I answered it.
But I thought, hey, you know, it’s so good.
And then I’m like, Wait, that wasn’t for me. That was really, I didn’t even know there was another Randy out there. But so I remember that. And I’m thinking, why are they asking me this technology question. I don’t know the answer. So I’m glad you jumped in after me. So thanks for, thanks for saving me on that one.
It’s all good.
All right. So that being said, let’s get into this 40 years of work. And then technology with accounting in general. You know, I know you have multiple businesses. I don’t know what they all are. I know you got K2 Enterprises. I know you have the Network Management Group, or it’s, I think I’m missing one initial at the end of that. NMGI. Correct. Am I missing?
I’m Network Management Group, Inc.
Okay, that’s the part. And so all these different things. So what are these different entities you have? What are they doing? And where are you really concentrating your time? But I think your time is everywhere, it seems like to me.
Yes, thank you for the question on that. I do have multiple interests, kind of a serial entrepreneur might be a way to think about it. So if there’s something that’s worthwhile that comes along, I will tackle that. So trying to keep this short. Yes, I am one of the partners in the K2 organizations. So we provide loosely 1600 events to about 100,000 CPAs, every year in the US and Canada. That continued during the pandemic virtually, some of that being live. But so that’s one business and very fine group of people to learn. We basically study technology and how it can be applied to the accounting profession. So that’s the specialty, that whole group.
My Network Management Group business I founded back in 1983, with a partner. And I bought him out after 30 years and have transitioned that over to my son who actually is a better people manager and a better technician than I am. So I’m anxious to see what happens with that business over time. But that business specialty is supporting CPA firms from Boston to Honolulu 24 by seven. So we’re, to my knowledge, the largest managed service provider to the accounting profession today.
You know, a third business I’ll just call out is, you know, I’m supporting a group called RX Genomics. And we basically have created a product—pharmacogenetics product that if we do a cheek swab on you, we can determine if you’re taking the right medications. 1/3 of the people on the planet are on the wrong medications. And if I can get a genetic test on you, I can get you on the right treatment regimen. And that’s true for people that have high blood pressure or depression medications or, or, or—it’s a lot of very common medications. You know, I understand why people have trouble with the pharmaceuticals. I’m not a pharmacist, but the pharmacogenetics people said, Look, here’s what we can do if you can figure out how to get a technology to deliver that. And that’s what we built. So that’s number three. And there’s more.
But for our audience today, obviously, it’s the deep ties to the profession. And then this is probably the last way I’ll close up. I’ve been fortunate enough to do paid consulting work for pretty much any technology vendor that you can name—not Salesforce, Google or Facebook. But pretty much any tool to the profession I’ve probably done consulting work for. So that includes all the hardware boys, Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, and it includes Microsoft with Windows and Office and includes Intuit and CCH and Thomson, and you get the idea. We could keep going.
Oh, you can keep going. I mean that I’m getting goosebumps listening to this. I mean, it’s—and I’ve known this, but the influence you’ve had on technology in the country in general, but on accounting, for sure, is just amazing. And when every time I read about something you’ve done, I mean, I read about something with Excel. And I think you just mentioned that, that, you know, the accounting format and with pivot tables, and I think I’ve heard you say that pivot tables are no longer the thing—is that, you recommend something else now?
You know, what’s going to happen. And yes, I’m an original designer on the Accounting format in Excel and pivot tables. That’s correct. And so what’s happened is Microsoft has built a new reporting capability. The data modelers, I sometimes call it the hidden table in Excel, and new generation commands, that will do a lot of the things that pivot tables have done up to this point. But it will do them faster, and more effectively, and pull it from databases and so forth. So there’s a pretty big transition that will go on in the Excel world on that point over the next few years.
Alright, so I have to learn something new is what you’re telling me?
I’m thinking that’s probably gonna be the case. Yes, sir.
[bctt tweet=”Microsoft has built a new reporting capability that will do a lot of the things that pivot tables have done up to this point. But it will do them faster, and more effectively, and pull it from databases and so forth.” username=”TriMerit”]
All right. Well, luckily, we have about 40 people working with us. I’ll let them learn something new. And I’ll just keep talking to people. But that’ll be cool. Because we actually, as a company, we use Excel a lot for just credit models for the different credits and incentives we work with. We build a model in Excel, and I think access as well. And is there something that we should be looking at then?
Probably, if you use an access. Yes, I’d probably have you on something different to get those models done more rapidly. But as it turns out, not only is it the modeling you’re doing in Excel and Access, there’s so much across the whole Microsoft suite. And you know, one of the key takeaways from today together is Microsoft is very intentionally trying to get us all into the Microsoft 365 platform. So we use more than a few of their 37 or so modules. And you know, there’s capabilities that we set aside that we absolutely could use and let’s just pick on Power BI as an example. Because you know, some of the new export and import into Excel capabilities are pretty clear to be in place. And you know, a lot of CPA firms haven’t really brought themselves up to speed on Power BI even though XCM workflow reports with Power BI, the Thomson Products can work report with Power BI, the CCH products report with Power BI, a lot of the practice management’s report with power—wait a minute, you can see, knowing Power BI might be a good thing. But likewise, Power Automate might be a good thing to know. And all of a sudden you realize Power Automate, what the heck is that? You know, if you’re asking yourself those types of questions, yeah, there’s a lot of Microsoft Office to learn.
Yeah, well, I am asking myself a couple of questions. What is Power BI? And what is Power Automate? So we don’t need to educate me on those completely right now today, but let’s talk about, because you’ve mentioned accountants and accounting profession and the technology they should be using. This is obviously called The Unique CPA. Our audience is CPAs. Your, you know, technology, knowledge is broad, but accounting is where you spend your time consulting or working with technology. Our in general, I kind of assume that our in general audience is about around that 80 person firm. And so maybe, you know, somewhere maybe between 40 and 80 person. So maybe let’s talk about this mid to large size firm, and what are their technology needs? In general, what are they missing? What is coming up that, I mean, this is a loaded question. And then you could probably talk for hours on this, but there’s some key things that they should, that they’re missing now, or that they need that they aren’t touching on?
What we’re gonna do. I’m going to start off by just saying I’m kind of a simple guy, and I say KIS. KIS stands for Keep it Simple. And so I do tend to keep it a little simpler, but these are, I think, going to be important points. First, I think that firms and practitioners in specific need to be very cognizant about their client experience. You know, so much of the time, we CPA professionals have provided excellent client service, but they haven’t necessarily provided excellent client experience. And so traditionally, we have tried to do that with a, you know, a first and second generation portal type of approach. And some of those are pretty clumsy and have not been refined by the vendors. You know, new generation portals from the likes of Liscio, or ShareLink, would be a little more refined. I know, I did paid consulting work for a CPA firm, where we went through 21 portal products or exchange products that were available, by the way, in 2014, there was one in 2016, there were two. So you know, this is a relatively new evolution in this area, and a product that, you know, I helped create with Jesse Lipson and Ed Cheely, ShareFile, was a very nice little product, I liked it. But once it was purchased by Citrix, they actually haven’t kept ShareFile up very well, it’s kind of like having your child grow up and, you know, go down the wrong path.
But in any case, so there’s 21 of these out there. And not every portal product, every file exchange product actually fits the client model that you’re working. But we believe that a lot of firms are very inefficient, and somewhat ineffective at their PBC lists, their client request lists for tax and audit, or for client accounting services, or for wealth management, simply because they’re doing too many things manually. And again, the clients look at it and say, Yeah, I’m going to ship this to you on paper, I’ll just tell you when I see it. Worse yet, I’ll send it to you in email.
Right? Well, then that gets me into the whole security question then too, email sending files—I’m assuming that’s a no-no?
Well, you typically don’t want to send anything that is, you know, financially oriented, that’s pretty obvious stuff, you know, no social security numbers, no EINs, any of that type of thing. But see, many firms don’t have secure email options. You got to remember that if you send something in Outlook to Exchange or from an iPhone, you know, to an Exchange server, that’s pretty much open text. It’s like sending a postcard in the mail. So as long as you’re willing to have anybody in the world read it. Cool. Go ahead.
But you know, if you want to keep a little more secure, you know, most of us will at least seal the envelopes when we put them in the mail. Well, that’s what secure email does. And even secure email can be compromised today. So there’s multiple steps that we might be able to take on security. And you know, we could do our whole time together on security alone, and it would probably light your hair on fire. And again, I don’t like to scare people. But I’m pretty practical about this. To get security right, you have to have multiple layers of protection. And it’s way beyond the simple stuff of antivirus, which there’s three styles on or firewalls, you know, there’s so many things that have to be done.
So the problem here, I think, for the profession, is we’re trying to comply with all of the regulatory things for tax compliance and audit compliance and client accounting services. And we’ve got all of the things that are related to technology to stay up with. And we’ve got all the risk of security. And we got all the things to deal with people. Not only our team members, but our clients. I mean, you know, I look at most practitioners who are doing a good job, and I just realize they are master jugglers, and just don’t realize it.
Yeah, I bet. Yeah, just all the stuff. Everything that the firm needs to deal with, just that, as you’re speaking right now. I was just thinking, Man, that’s amazing the things that we need to deal with. You know what, let’s do this. Let’s concentrate on one segment right now of technology, which I don’t know if this be a small answer, I’m guessing it’s got a long answer, which is fine. Let’s go into this. Because you just mentioned client accounting services. And client accounting services is a buzzword—client accounting and advisory services, I guess it’s CAS or CAAS. There must be a multitude of options from a technology standpoint to be used in client accounting services. Is there a one-package-fits-all? I’m guessing no. Is there a suite of things you can pick from, is there, just go choose this, this, this and this and make it work for you? How does a firm come up with what they need to be this client accounting or advisory service firm from a technology standpoint?
Yeah, and I’m gonna fork the answer right away and handle one and set aside the other one, even though I think the one I’m going to set aside is more interesting. Because plan accounting services involves a whole bunch of technology answers, which I’m going to try to provide. Now I think the more interesting and valuable to the clients is the advisory work, but many firms have not really done built their advisory practices very clearly. Now, I’ll take that advisory question maybe separately a little bit later. But by my count for the digital CPA, I provided over 70 advisory services that we suggest. Well, you know, a lot of people are thinking 3, 4, 5 advisory services, and yeah, that’s okay. They’re, that’s okay. That 3, 4, 5 you’re thinking about are probably in the list, but there’s a lot more options.
But come to the client accounting services, Randy. I’ve been teaching firms to do client accounting services for 30 years, roughly. And, you know, it’s only been in the recent 20 years or so that the software is a service. The products that run in a browser have started to mature. See, most of those products were designed in the late 90s. So it took them about five to 10 years—2005, 2010 before they became very viable.
Now, is there a silver bullet one size fits all? No, you know, you are correct on that answer. And it turns out, I call those things stacks. So there’s the sage intact, stacked, there’s the accountants world stack, there’s the QuickBooks Desktop stack, there’s the QuickBooks Online stack, there’s the zero stack. And there’s a few more. The ones I’ve named already are the probably the better ones for CPA firms. But other pretty good ones include, for example, Zoho books, or Aplos, or accounting suite. And then probably a distant one behind that would be the Thompson Accounting CS product. And the issue here is, if we can get a SaaS based product that runs in a browser, we’re probably going to have to add several different things to make the stack work. And in fact, in the QuickBooks world, I usually suggest there might be 14 client accounting services you can provide. And you’re going to need a tool probably for each one of those. And I keep track of what I considered the top four tools in each of those categories. So you can do that math quickly and say, well, 14, four times 14, that’s 56 tools. Yeah, that’s kind of the nature of the brute.
So big picture, though, Randy, it’s real simple. We believe that this will evolve into more pre accounting tools, things like hub dock, or Dexter, Vic AI, that gather forms and extract data, or that you process bank feeds, and that you pump it through your systems. And then you can report out in financial reporting tools or dashboarding tools. And that you can do the other compliance work, the quarterly filings if you’re doing payroll, and so forth. So in any case, that’s kind of the CAS world, and we believe that the CAS services, Randy, should be flat rate billed in advance, and that you should define what your service package and deliverable is. And generally, client accounting services can be more profitable than audit services.
Okay, so the client accounting service is in, and I’m a novice with all this. And you said stack, you say, I’ve heard stack a lot. I always wonder what that really means. You just said you have your QuickBooks stack. Does that mean that you have all these different modules within QuickBooks to choose from, and you pick the ones that are going to work for you? And then that’s your stack of software technology that’s going to then work together? And then what, in addition, do you grab other pieces of software to work with that to create this, to enhance the stack?
That’s exactly what you have to do. It turns out the products that are the base, Sage Intacct, QuickBooks Online, Xero, just to name those three, as examples, all have deficiencies. So you have to add third party products to get a complete solution. So it turns out, each of the vendors try to expand the capabilities that they have. But let’s just pick on accounts payable as a simple category. You know, do they have the ability to AP, yes, but can they handle workflow correctly? And can they track the documents and do sign offs and all those things? Generally not. So as it turns out, on accounts payable alone, there are 20 ish different products that you can choose from different vendors.
So Randy, when I’m talking about the stack, I’m really referring to products that are compatible with Xero or Sage Intacct, or QuickBooks Online. And it’s even better in my mind that you have a tool that can be used on multiple stacks. In other words, if we take something like, I’ll just pick an avid exchange, they have lots of different integrations and would work with all three of the platforms I just named. Does that make them the best AP tool? No. But you know, you have very popular tools like bill.com, you know, which have become endorsed by the cpa.com division. And that’s a good product. And I helped René with the creation of that product, and I like it. But you know.
[bctt tweet=”As you might guess, if you’re getting a suite of products, some are going to be strong, some are going to be weaker. Is it good enough to get the job done? Well, that depends.” username=”TriMerit”]
René— is that René Lacerte? I thought I’d heard that, okay.
Yeah. And so as it turns out, there’s a lot of good AP products, you know, Altex Doc Link is a good product, any bill, a calm, Avid, bill.com, CloudX. Notice, I’m only in the c’s. And so you get the idea that, you know, the problem is, as a practitioner, how the heck do we pick the right products?
Exactly what’s going through my head right now.
Yeah, and see, the problem really has come in tax and audit too. The question is, do we pick a suite and run with the suite player? So CCH or Thomson? Or do we pick best of breed? And, you know, there’s, obviously the big boys want you to stay in their suite. But as you might guess, if you’re getting a suite of products, some are going to be strong, some are going to be weaker. Is it good enough to get the job done? Well, that depends. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. And see, the problem in CAS is no accounting software product is good enough to get the whole job done. So the problem is you have to add tools to be able to provide the service offering that your clients need.
And then are most of these going to work together or you bring in a programmer now to integrate these?
Well, that’s a wonderful question. And I’ll defer the answer to my colleague, Brian Tankersley, who calls this digital plumbing, okay. And that’s how you connect these products together. Because some have application program interfaces or API’s, that they can naturally talk to each other. But in other cases, you have to buy third party tools to make the connections. So popular names of these digital plumbing tools include products like Zapier, or One SAS or Bhumi, or C data. And there’s many more, there’s about 30 of those.
But typically, as a CPA firm, we can pick one or two integration tools and make the integrations we need. Some of the tools run better at the low end, some better at the high end. But I’ve actually begun recommending, Randy, that firms, particularly in this 80 person range that you tried to get me to focus on, they’re probably going to have a digital plumber on staff. I figure, okay, it’s gonna be enough pipes that break the need to be put together and so forth. It’s like having your own on team service person, right? So you call him instead of waiting for the outsider to come in. And that’s going to be true with other emerging technologies like robotic process automation, or artificial intelligence or machine learning, your digital plumber’s probably going to run a lot of those too.
So your digital plumber is going to become the most important person in your firm as we get more technology-driven and AI-driven and machine learning-driven and robotics and everything you just, I assume.
It’s a competitive advantage if you’ve got the right person doing that work. And the problem is, I don’t think you can effectively contract it, you can try, but you’re going to have to have somebody that’s very available, because you know, products like Zapier, one of the digital plumbing tools, breaks a lot. Well, that isn’t very good. And, you know, even some of the bank feed tools like Yodlee break a lot. Well, you got to have somebody to fix it when it breaks because the client doesn’t care where the problem’s at and particularly if you’re doing client accounting services, not the clients’ problem, or as my daughter, granddaughter from New York would say, that not be the problem. Right? You know, it’s not their problem and not be the problem.
Right. Right. So let’s fast forward a little bit. Well, I may not be fast forwarding, because I may be living in the past, but I know this automation and accounting is there. Are we to the point where we can go all the way from everything’s automated, where bank and bank information and, and payroll information and everything comes directly in and the tax return populates, and boom, we’re done.
We’re not quite there. But I would just suggest, you know, my favorite saying from a few years back was, if you say it real fast, it sounds easy, right? And that’s kind of what it is but mechanically, in the correctly configured system today, could you do what you just described? The answer is yes. You could gather from the bank, from the documents, pump it through a county, pump it through financial reporting, and do you know financial statements, balance sheet and cash flow statements, populate digital dashboards, deliver reports out to the client and populate a tax return via an audit tool. There might be a little bit of a manual step in there, but not much of one. And then you can actually have auto review of the tax return done by software and artificial intelligence as well.
So I don’t want to make tax people feel like their job is going away, because it’s not. But the fact of the matter is, you could have technology doing a lot of the traditional prep work. And you really become a first line reviewer as opposed to a tax prep person. And even the backend of e-filing is automated with technology tools today. The problem is, those are all from different vendors. So the problem is, you can’t go to CCH or Thomson and get an Indian solution, you got to do best of breed, if you want that level of integration.
That’s amazing. So auditors are already concerned, their jobs are going away. Now we’re scaring the tax people too that their terms are going away. But that’s the importance of advisory services, then I’m assuming as well, because now we can do all this other stuff, automated, but we still are the ones that are gonna give you the information you need to be profitable running business.
Yeah, and see, I’m not at the school that many people are talking about, that compliance has gone away, because tax and all, it’s not going away, it’s going to be around for a while. But it’s going to change. And what we do is going to change as we do that. But I think the strength if we can get the culture right in our CPA firms is we can become advisors of the right type. Now, this is a short rant on advisors. So here’s the split question getting answered. And in this particular case, there’s several characteristics of advisors that I think are true. First, they’re high and wide. Whereas a consultant is narrow indeed. Number two, they’re forward looking, rather than backward looking, and most compliance stuff, tax, CAS, at audit, those are backward looking, we want forward looking here. Number three, there’s services that they provide, but and I’d break them up into three categories, you know, primary, secondary, tertiary, or, you know, core, secondary, tertiary, but usually, the primary service that everybody has to provide is planning.
And the planning is not tax planning, but it’s actually business planning and personal planning, those are core to advisory. And then that leads to the secondary services, which you may provide some of, but if you are not going to provide a service, let’s just say business valuation, then you have a relationship where you can do a referral concierge style, like a hotel. And basically the client’s relationship is with you. And the goal, of course, is to accomplish the client’s goals, whatever those are, which may be growth, it may be profitability, but it may be something entirely different, like spending more time with the family. And your job as the advisor is to find out what is desired, and figure out how to help them hit that goal.
I think that’s great. I think that’s probably a good spot to wrap up the conversation other than I want to give you an opportunity, did we miss something? Obviously, we missed a lot, because there’s so much technology, but there’s any important factor you’d like to highlight before we move on to one final question I have?
[bctt tweet=”The planning is not tax planning, but it’s actually business planning and personal planning, those are core to advisory. And then that leads to the secondary services, which you may provide some of.” username=”TriMerit”]
Alright, I would just say that if you’re looking at your firm, you’re going to go through pretty radical transition over the next five years. I’ve got a long mark here. So I’m looking back, you know, a lot of years. But I would just suggest that the next five years, most of your primary tools will get replaced. Most tax tools, most audit tools, most practice management tools, most workflow tools, most document management tools. And the problem is with all that change going on, your team can only accommodate about one change a year. So the problem is you got to be orderly about thinking when you’re going to upgrade a particular piece of your technology. And it is going to require more investment in your practice than you might like. And you’ve got to be big enough not to worry about your retirement income and try to do what’s right for the practice instead. So that’s kind of a big salvo across that, but you can hear, Randy, we could go back in we could spend a whole session on practice, man, we could spend a whole session on document—you kind of got that just from listening to me. And it turns out it’s a time of radical change in the profession. Not bad. Not good. Just radical.
All I just heard is, well I heard a lot, but you just committed to a weekly recording with me now on all these other subjects. I’m not holding you to that, never mind.
I appreciate that but you can understand why I’m watching this carefully because for practitioners to know all this stuff, it’s a big mountain to climb. Even with a team, it’s hard to get it and there are relatively few trustworthy consultants to the profession, which is a real bother to me, because independence is so heavily compromised right now, across the profession. I’m really concerned about that. And I’ve been banging that column for a couple three years.
Alright, well, I’m glad we have somebody like you out there, not even somebody like you. I am glad we have you out there. And now I’m going to know when I do have questions, you’ll be getting some emails from me, and you can start that clock going, that’s fine, too.
I appreciate that.
Yeah, no problem. And so to end, again, thrilled that we have you out there, as this leader in the industry, this leader in technology, I have no idea how you have time to do anything else. But I want to ask a question, which I stopped doing for a while on this podcast. And I started up on the last one again, what do you do? What’s your passion? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Which I’m not sure how you’re not working, because it sounds like you have constantly, but what do you do that you enjoy outside of work?
You know, I have a very long list on that. So I’m going to keep the answer as short as I can, but I will just color my answer by saying I get an unhealthy little amount of sleep. So part of the way I get this done is I actually function pretty well on about three, max five hours of sleep a night. So that does help for productivity. But, you know, when you’re waking up at two in the morning, you know, you can’t do a lot of extra things. So, but the pleasure things that I do do, and I have a number of these, by the way, we enjoy our grandchildren immensely. And in fact, we see them pretty regularly, including after we’re done with this session today, just to give you an example. But it is very normal that we get to see the grandchildren multiple times a week, which is fun. Number one, that’s part of the reason I continue to live in Kansas. But number two, is I have other hobbies. So I do things like model trains, and I like to play golf. And I like to swim and snorkel and ski. So I do a lot of active things like that. But you know, coin collecting, you kind of get all of a sudden, it’s like, wow, I got all these other hobbies too. But the net of it is, I actually like to just hang with family probably the most.
That’s nice. Yeah, I would agree with that. And then three to five hours sleep, I have no idea. I’m not a big sleeper, but three to five hours, I have no idea how you function, and you always seem full of energy. So somehow it works for you. So, well that’s great. Before we close up, then if people want to learn more about you, or NMGI, did I get that correct? Or K2E?
Yes, those are hard, you know, we were lucky to get very short URLs. As you would guess we were early on in the technology.
I was just gonna say that. I’m sure you jumped in immediately. It seems like any new technology out there, you’re jumping in immediately.
That’s right. But you are correct. K2E stands for enterprise, we actually applied for K2, but some ski company got around. And in any case, and then NMGI, Network Management Group INC, is probably the other website. I do actually have a personal website. It’s not very pretty at randyjohnston.com, too. But the bottom line is I answer my email pretty religiously. So you know, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. I’ll be back in email with you pretty quickly.
Nice. And then I’m assuming LinkedIn too.
Yeah, I’m on all of the LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and so forth. In fact, if there’s something that’s happening in technology, I actually use Twitter as the main feed to say you should be aware of this. So when there’s a security problem, like there’s been three of them in the past seven days, you know, I put them out there, just to make sure people know this is a real deal. You better pay attention to this one.
Yeah. And I’ve been hearing more and more, and I’m probably behind on that, that Twitter is the way to go. I’ve been a lot of LinkedIn posts and stuff on. You know, for me, it’s been a lot of employee retention credit stuff this year, which we’ve been very busy. But Twitter is just you get that instant information out there. So I need to do that—I need to follow your lead and get more on Twitter.
Well as it turns out, you’ll appreciate this. I have mechanisms that actually take it from Twitter and put it to Facebook and LinkedIn when appropriate, so I can post it once and it goes all the place.
Of course you do. I’m gonna have to ask you about that then too. All right. Well, Randy, thank you very much for taking time to do this today. It’s been very informative and very scary for me. I appreciate it.
All right, well, so at this point, we’ll calm you and the listeners down. It’s all good. It’s all good. We just have to think about what we want to do, pick the path and go. So Randy, thanks for the invitation. And we’ll see you another time.
Randy Johnston’s Personal Website
About the Guest
Randy Johnston is an entrepreneur, teacher, leading technology consultant, and speaker who aims to help as many people as possible use technology in the way that benefits them the most. He is the Executive Vice President and co-owner of K2 Enterprises, which supports the application of technology to accounting and reaches about 100,000 CPAs in the US and Canada annually. Randy is also the CEO and co-founder of the Network Management Group, Inc., which offers 24/7 support to CPA firms in the US, and he sits on the board of RxGenomix. He has consulted for a wide range of technology companies, including Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, Intuit, CCH, and Thomson.
Additionally, he has authored a number of books and writes a monthly column on technology for CPA Practice Advisor. Randy has been named a Top 20 Thought Leader in Accounting from 2011 through 2021. Accounting Today has placed him on its Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting lists from 2004 through 2021, where he currently sits at number 10. Randy was inducted into the CPA Practice Advisor’s Accounting Hall of Fame in 2011.
Meet the Host
Randy Crabtree, CPA
Randy Crabtree, co-founder and partner of Tri-Merit Specialty Tax Professionals, is a widely followed author, lecturer and podcast host for the accounting profession.
Since 2019, he has hosted the bi-weekly “The Unique CPA,” podcast, which ranks among the world’s 5% most popular programs (Source: Listen Score). You can find articles from Randy in Accounting Today’s Voices column, the AICPA Tax Adviser (Tax-saving opportunities for the housing and construction industries) and he is a regular presenter at conferences and virtual training events hosted by CPAmerica, Prime Global, Leading Edge Alliance (LEA), Allinial Global and several state CPA societies. Crabtree also provides continuing professional education to top 100 CPA firms across the country.
Schaumberg, Illinois-based Tri-Merit is a niche professional services firm that specializes in helping CPAs and their clients benefit from R&D tax credits, cost segregation, the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction (179D), the energy efficient home credit (45L) and the employee retention credit (ERC).
Prior to joining Tri-Merit, Crabtree was managing partner of a CPA firm in the greater Chicago area. He has more than 30 years of public accounting and tax consulting experience in a wide variety of industries, and has worked closely with top executives to help them optimize their tax planning strategies.