Cloud Solutions with Kellie Parks
Discover how to bring joy to accounting with cloud technology on Episode 129 of The Unique CPA! Kellie Parks talks to Randy Crabtree about her passion for bookkeeping and how she helps accounting professionals love cloud accounting as much as she does. Learn about the templates and tools Kelly provides to streamline your firm’s processes and hear tips for implementing new technologies step-by-step without getting overwhelmed. Tune in to get insights on automating your work, improving work-life balance, and embracing cloud solutions to reduce stress in your practice.
Today our guest is Kellie Parks. Kellie is a CPB, certified—wait Kellie, what’s this CPB stand for again?
Yep, Certified Professional Bookkeeper. It’s really a thing here in Canada and in Australia and New Zealand.
Okay, got it. So she’s a CPB, I’ll get that. She actually loves bookkeeping. And I know that because she’s told me and it’s on her website that she loves it. She has been running for the last 12 years a bookie business called Calmwaters Cloud Accounting. In addition, she’s got a few other things going on. And I’m gonna let her expand on that. And before we do that, just Kellie, welcome to The Unique CPA.
Well, thanks for having me, Randy. I’m sure it’s going to be an interesting conversation—you and I can definitely riff.
Oh, we’ll be going in many directions potentially, today. You and I, over the last 16 hours have been going a few different directions with the conference that we’re working on right now that you’re helping out with. And I appreciate that. So I mentioned Calmwaters. And I know you’ve got these spreadsheets and processes and things that you work with. Give us the whole picture of these—all your enterprises, your conglomerate of Kellie Parks, what else you’re working on.
Conglomerate, yeah, I got a conglomerate. So I have my elevator pitch, is I want every accounting professional and small business owner to love cloud accounting as much as I do. And to that end, cloud accounting requires a different kind of organization, and way more tightly honed systems to get through it efficiently. So I have cloud accounting templates—I used to own a marketing company where I did a lot of communications, and building out processes was my gig there and communications. And so doing it in the cloud accounting space, I found that it was a bit of a unique skill, that accountants knew what they had to do, but they had a hard time communicating it or getting it down on paper. So I have a template store where you can go and buy processes. You can also buy communications for your clients, like client collaboration guides, or employee hiring guides for them. And you can buy standard operating processes to run your firm outside of the workflows, things like naming conventions, and numbering systems and all kinds of things.
And then I do work with accounting professionals who need very targeted work done. So I don’t do the long term coaching and how to scale your firm. But if you’re having trouble implementing technology, like a practice management app, like an online scheduler, building forms—I do that really targeted coaching, where you come to me with your problem, we solve it. And then I work with the app partners. So at any given time I’m working probably with half a dozen app partners on GoToMarket on AccountantSpeak. Sometimes I’m the face of them, doing some speaking for them. So lots of fun stuff going on.
So the one thing that you said so yes, that is a conglomerate, you have a lot of things going on, speaking being one of them as well, that you just mentioned, which is awesome. I know you and I are going to be speaking at the same conference coming up. Looking forward to that. We’re gonna get a drink together, right?
Maybe more than one Randy. You know, you’ve started a trend by buying me drinks in Las Vegas. So now it’s just expected.
it is. It’s my thing. That’s what I do. I’m known as the drink buyer.
And can I give some shoutouts real quick to our friend Kristen Keats. She’s a mutual friend of ours. I had met you—I mean, heard of you from pretty much everywhere. I mean, you’re out there—I mean, you’re out there—but also you’re out there. And so I had heard of you. And then Kristen was sitting having a drink with you. And I was I was pretty happy to get a chance to meet you in real life. So Thanks, Kristen.
Well, back at you because when we met I remember saying I think I know you—we know each other—how do we know each other? And I don’t think we really had met before. I know we hadn’t. But somehow just through Kristen and through, you know this digital world that we live in, cloud world I guess. So yeah, that was that was pretty cool. That was at the QuickBooks Connect Conference this past December in Vegas. So that was a lot of fun.
The one thing I want to ask then, and it actually ties in with Kristen Keats, I think too, because Kristen talks about bringing joy to accounting, right? You just mentioned, you want everybody to love cloud accounting as much as you. I think that’s a great—I don’t like accounting, so I’m not sure I’ll ever get to that point, personally. I like, you know, I’m a CPA, I like the accounting profession. I’m just not a books person. I’m a tax person. And so what happens when you, I mean, you seem to probably, wow, this is a really long question, I assume it’s more of a, you want them to at least love the outputs that you bring, and be able to identify the, you know, talk with you about the processes and the procedures you’re going through. But not only that, using this data for making informed decisions and being better. I guess the question is, expand on how you want people to love this cloud accounting as much as you—what does that mean?
So I guess, really, it means cloud accounting technology. When it comes right down to it, I want them to love running a cloud based business, whether it’s an SMB, or whether it’s an accounting firm, practice firm, business, whatever you want to call an accounting thing. I want people to love running it. And I want the people that are doing the work, the actual bookkeeping, the actual tax work, I want them those that are in the weeds of doing it, I want them to love it. Which, if you have been using desktop programs for a long time, and then you expect the same level of efficiency in the cloud accounting programs, that’s not going to happen right away. But for me, the cloud accounting programs are way more efficient, because of the tips and tricks and the techniques that I’m using in it. And also some of the outside technology you can integrate.
I want people who are in the weeds doing the work to actually love doing the work in the cloud accounting programs. I want the owners to love the efficiency and the ability to work with a wider variety of clients, because they’re not stuck at their desk. I think it expands that. I want them to enjoy the fun of it. There is some fun in cloud technology. I mean, some of this tech is simply fun. All of that also helps with hiring in the future. I just want them to love the whole ecosystem. And I guess it comes back to loving the technology more than loving, doing the perfect tax return.
Okay, I get it. The technology end, so we’re talking tech stack, we’re talking integration with all these things together. You had mentioned one thing in that statement there about the desktop, let’s say accounting version is probably at least the way I took it, is more advanced at this point than the cloud. So let’s look at QuickBooks Desktop versus QuickBooks Online. Are you saying QuickBooks Desktop has more capabilities at this point?
So it all depends on what type of client, what services you’re offering, what the client needs, but I would have still said QuickBooks Desktop is more efficient overall, and is better for things like multicurrency and job costing, inventory. Is that changing? 100%. Is the pendulum swinging to the cloud accounting programs being more efficient if you use them properly? Yes. I think the change in the last two years has been phenomenal. I have written a couple of articles about it. Some of the—I call them the “ughs,” in QuickBooks Online—I love QuickBooks Online. I love Xero. I love FreshBooks. I love QuickBooks Online. I love all of the cloud accounting programs. But I run a micro firm. I need to dig in with one offering. And that’s been QuickBooks Online for me.
But it’s got some ughs. They all do, every cloud program. Every desktop program has some ughs. But Hector Garcia and Mark Corum built something called RightTool, which has changed the game in QuickBooks Online, in my humble opinion in that they have taken some of the master efficiencies of QuickBooks Desktop and crafted a Chrome extension that puts those efficiencies right in QuickBooks Online. That is only since November (2022) I believe. So even the two year shift to QuickBooks Online being mostly as efficient as QuickBooks Desktop if you use it properly—since November, let’s say, it’s exponential with this one piece of technology.
Really. So the technology then—does what? It integrates QuickBooks Desktop with QuickBooks Online? Or how does it take the—
—No, not at all.
How’s it work then?
I’ll give you an example. It takes all of the efficient things in QuickBooks Desktop. So little things that make you crazy in some of the cloud programs, all of them—I’m not slagging QBO, believe me, it’s changed my life, it’s changed my client’s lives, not just that we get to work where we want to, and we get to collaborate together. Like it’s insanely amazing to be working with a client on screen sharing, they’re struggling with something, you screen share, show them how to fix it, and we’re all in different countries.
And it’s so much more collaborative than being on the desktop where you got to make that change, and then send the file or work in multi user, or have some sort of enterprise hosting system. I could go on forever about working in the cloud with my clients, collaborating with my clients, has been amazing. I’ll give you a couple of examples.
QuickBooks Online, when you’re in a transaction, and you need to know if it’s reconciled. Because you either have to delete it, or you need to alter it. But you want to know if it’s right, you actually have to go into the audit trail in the transaction to see if it’s reconciled, which is just a time sucking thing. It’s frustrating. And when you go into that audit trail, you get stuck, I call it the Hotel California of audit trail.
You can’t track that transaction. you can’t do anything else. So for me what I did, all of my navigation is done in Chrome, I never use the QuickBooks navigation, I always use Chrome bookmarks. So I could duplicate that tab, open it up, have the original transaction and then get stuck in the Hotel California, but half the time you forget to duplicate that tab, right? So RightTool does two things that save your butt on this. One, “reconciled” is right on the face of the transaction. Now, it’s a Chrome extension, that adds little fun bits into your your QBO. So it puts “reconciled” right on the face of the transaction, you don’t have to open it up now. If you do need to open it up for the audit trail, it actually duplicates that tab for you, so that you still have the original transaction, you’re no longer stuck in what they call audit loop, I call it Hotel California.
So anyways, it takes dozens of these little quirks out of QuickBooks Online using this Chrome extension. So are the products, have they come leaps and bounds over the last two years? Whether it’s Xero, FreshBooks, QuickBooks? Yes, they themselves have come leaps and bounds, but the technology around them.
So not just something like RightTool. But also, let’s take Dext, for example, which is a, you know, document management system. So the clients put in whether it’s expenses, whether we’re creating expense reports, whether they’re putting sales created outside of the GLs, those go into Dext, and they’re automatically OCR’d. And then they’re published with the image attached over to the GLs. That’s game changing. And for my clients, it’s amazing for them, because they’re giving me everything, not bringing me paper, and they’re not flipping through paper, and I’m not flipping through paper, and I’m not packing anything in and they’re not packing anything in. You can hear that I’m excited about this stuff.
I know! I can definitely hear this.
But client collaboration is awesome in that. But here’s the thing that people get lost in: they get lost in, let’s take Dext, for example, that they must publish transactions rather than cash code from the bank feed. But that’s because they’re stuck in sideways thinking. If you didn’t enter transactions before, you don’t need to enter transactions now. You can cash code from the bank feed, right? Bank statements, whatever. It’s bigger in the States than it is in Canada, for sure. But Dext allows me to see all of the client documents in case I need to know something. They have a place to put all of the bank statements, but then it does this magical thing that most people don’t know of.
So in the past, a client would bring you a folder with all of the things you need to do the monthly work, right? Bank statements, source documents, whatever, government filings. And then you would work with it and then you would give them back all of that stuff when you were done. Right?
Now that the document management programs are in the cloud, what people are doing is hoarding them for themselves, or putting them into GDrive, Dropbox, ShareFile folders that the firm controls. They’re not giving the documents back anymore. But if you use a program like Dext, there’s actually an automatic download of anything that goes in, that downloads back into folders, and you can connect it to folders that the client controls. So now they have everything.
So you are I mean, one, extremely passionate about this, which is awesome. I love seeing this. It’s still—
It’s insanely overwhelming.
It’s yeah, it’s like I, you know, all these different tools and RightTool, and Dext, and QBO, and Xero. And, you know, everything else that integrates, that just personally, kind of shuts me down, like, how am I going to figure out how all these things work together? And I’m going to spend so much time just trying to integrate things. Am I going to actually save time with this? I’m probably the oddball when it comes to that, it probably makes sense. But how do you get past that, I guess?
So, there’s a couple of things, you’ve got to take that leap of faith that this is going to work, I worked with some of the bigger accounting firms and the ships were too hard to turn they wanted the KP there was, you know, let’s say there’s 10 partners, and they all want the KPIs and the ROIs. They want everything with three letters to justify doing it. I fully believe with the cloud technology, you’ve just got to take a leap of faith—what is going to be helpful?
So do you need all the document management at the front end? No, not yet. You can still have clients bring stuff. But can you get them on to QuickBooks Online? So that if they’re a fit, right, if they don’t, you know, again, back to especially complicated inventory, and job costing with labor burden? Can you pick off the easy stuff first? Or can you start to take clients in that are already on the programs, then move to the document management part of it, then move to the payment processor. You can do the small implementations, and get a cheerleader in your firm. But also, you can get cheerleader clients.
Yep. So from that standpoint: I say the same thing. I do, and I think you and I may have talked about this before, but I do a presentation on mental health and our profession, which I think is extremely important. And I talk about, just take a little step. And so I say the same thing. But me saying it, and then me hearing this on your end, I think it’s just because I’m tax, not bookkeeping and accounting. And I talk about it with mental health. I talk about, we have to embrace this technology, we have to bring this in. Because exactly what I just said, people’s thought processes are, I’m not going to do it, because it’s gonna take me 50 hours, and I don’t have 50 hours right now, because I’m so busy. Well, this is going to in my mind, solve it, you’re going to spend your whatever, and 50 may be the wrong number, but you’re gonna spend your 50 now, and now you’re going to save, you know, 300 next year and 300, the year after and three end of the year after and so you got to do that. And starting small I think is great.
Yeah, I think so you gotta, you can’t overthink this stuff, or you’ll be stuck. And you know, you can lean on people. There’s enough people who have been on this journey. So since 2012, essentially, let’s call that the tipping year for cloud technology in the accounting space. And there’s people out there who can help. So you don’t need to go it alone. And so that’s when I say, when I work with firms, or business owners or whoever on implementing this, I’m not the Ryan Lazanis who’s got this program of how to scale. I am not Jason Staats who brings people along on the long journey with all of the heavy stuff. I’m one of those people who is, “Are you having trouble using QuickBooks efficiently? I can train you to use it efficiently. Are you having trouble implementing a document management program?” Or, let’s take the CRM practice management. They’re magic! I personally use Financial Sense, and the notifications, the backend work it does to send stuff out to my clients to remind them to do things, to remind them to get things, to put in links so that the uploads are easy for them to direct them. They’re super powerful. So Financial Sense is the one that I use to delegate the work for me to go in and look and see what’s going on, and to have these robust checklists that recur. It’s amazing.
But do you need help setting it up? Often, yeah, sure. So those are the implementations I love. So you’ve got like the, you know, Financial Sense, you’ve got Karbon, but I mean, there’s a ton of them. It’s a magic place for us right now to be able to run our firms. But yeah, can you get stopped out on the starting. What if somebody wants to set those programs up? Call me you want the templates for cloud accounting? I’ve already got them done. Yes, it’s that stopping part I’m trying to help with.
That’s awesome because and Ryan and Jason, who you mentioned that both been on the podcast as well. So now I’ve had the three top cloud accounting people in the world on the podcast, oh, Blake Oliver too, you have to count him I guess as well.
I would never call myself one of the top cloud accounting people in the world, I would call myself definitely an advocate and enthusiast. I love this stuff. But I realize it’s hard for people to implement, for sure.
Yep. And then so you just mentioned, and I think this is a good transition—these templates you have now this isn’t going to help people, you know, when they’re doing the implementation, plus you as well. So once you explain what all these that your template portion of your conglomerate is.
Sure, okay. “Conglomerate,” I’m still laughing at that word. Um, so let’s take onboarding for example. I’ve got onboarding templates already built out, because onboarding is a pain in the butt for most firms. There’s a lot to get clients and team members engaged in. So there’s the technology, there’s the contracting, there’s the vetting, there’s all of that. And I built them. There’s a spreadsheet version that’s got all the tasks in one tab. Do you call it a tab or a sheet? You got a spreadsheet, and you’ve got multiple tabs, what do you call them?
I call it a tab.
I call them tabs. Some people call them sheets, some people call them pages, but you know, the multiple pages. So the first page has everything: it’s got the task list, it’s got the best practices, it’s got, like a built in email text that you copy, and you send it out, it’s got the form links, so you open up a form to send to somebody, it’s got that. Then it’s got a middle tab that just has the task, because maybe you want to just copy them into an application like Asana, or Clickup, or whatever. So you got the forms already built, starting with the prospecting discovery form. And then you know, then the information gathering form, and it’s built in seven milestones. And you go in the order of the milestones.
I’m actually doing a series with Jason at Realize, on building an onboarding process from start to finish the seven stages, milestones of onboarding. And then we also touched on the ideal client and tech stack and where to automate. But this template has everything built in. So I’ve got it in a spreadsheet, but I also have it built proprietary for applications. So there’s an application called 17 Hats that you can do the whole darn thing in it. And it’s built proprietary code. And then I’ve got one built proprietary code for Financial Sense. I’ve got one built proprietary code for Pixie. That’s a really a UK program. So I’ve got it built for Clickup. I’ve got it built for Asana. So you can either take the spreadsheet versions that have everything in them with links and everything, or you can pop them right into, so if you pop it into Financial Sense, you’ve also got all of the let’s call it dependencies. So you can’t engage a client until they have given you all of the documentation you need to know about their business, for example.
Alright, that’s nice! Again, getting rid of the barriers to entry to get into this is extremely important because it’s needed. Let’s talk about that a little bit further. We didn’t even define what the cloud is, I suppose that could have been something we could have talked about, but I think people will start having an understanding of that now. But where do you see things going? I mean, we got AI now, we got ChatGPT, we got all these others. I mean, is AI going to be, or is it a integral part of accounting now? Or what’s going to be in the future, if you can tell?
Yeah, so I wouldn’t exactly call myself a thought leader. And I want to come back to that. But actually, and I do want to come back to the whole ChatGPT thing because it’s making my head spin probably in a good way.
I want to go back to a few of the templates, though.
Oh, yeah yeah, sure.
Some of the things that I think are important that are missing in firms, even before the cloud part, but especially now that we’re collaborating remotely with a lot of our clients, is telling the client how—educating the client how your firm is now going to work. How do they contact you? When do they contact you? How do we share? What’s a secure document? What’s not a secure document? So I actually have client guides that you then take and you can roll out to your clients to explain to them how we’re going to work together, because it’s become more complicated in setting those experiences, setting the expectations, setting the boundaries, setting all of it. But teaching them how to communicate and share with you respectfully so that you’re not overwhelmed with all of that, I think that that is a big missing piece. Accounting firms just think client, they’re either letting them guess, and then they’re getting upset with them because they’re calling them at weird hours or they’re calling their team or they’re emailing them. So I do have a client guide that helps to start that ball rolling.
Yeah, I’m on your website right now looking at the cloud accounting templates, right? That kind of—
—Yep, CloudAccountingTemplates.com. Very, very confusing. Name it what it is, right?
So back to the ChatGPT and the AI. So it has existed for, especially in the document management programs in a fairly robust manner. So Hubdoc and Dext have been OCR, and I’m not sure if that’s—I think it’s AI, it learns stuff.
OCR, AI, I’m not really sure. But you know what I mean, it’s taking that data so that you don’t have to pack it all out and look for it. It’s building out the amount, the receipt, document number, you know, the date all of that stuff for you. So you don’t have to deal with that. And then you’ve got the bank feeds, whether they’re in, you know, QuickBooks Online, whether they’re in Xero, whether they’re in—QuickBooks Desktop has super robust bank feeds, they’re one of the most underutilized things in QuickBooks Desktop. I have used them forever. Like before, I even had a bookkeeping business in my marketing business, I was using the bank feeds to make sure everything was live and in real time. Totally underutilized. Because the cloud can include QuickBooks Desktop, hosted by Cubox, Right networks, Swizznet, that’s that’s the gateway to the cloud, right? That’s a gateway to collaborating remotely with clients, for sure.
And so that’s the cool thing, have you seen then this, obviously, the last three years we’ve had in living in a little different world, and this cloud and communications, and I assume it’s allowed you probably already before this, but to work with people all over the world, rather than just people in your backyard. And, and that’s just been such a nice, I mean, look at me, I’m working in Texas right now, I live in Chicago, I’ve been on the road for two and a half months. I’m in Austin, and I can work from anywhere. It’s just so cool.
Yeah! It’s amazing. I’ve actually been remote since 2009. My marketing firm was—so marketing, printing, branding, marketing, all of that was way ahead of virtual technology, if you will. We were using FTP sites which had horrendous fails in the beginning. We went to Adobe PDFs, and we moved away from paper proofs, if you will, proof outputs, we went “filmless” in our printing processes. But I have been dealing in email and in the beginning phone calls, and then Skype with my clients since 2009. I have been hanging out in Florida or other parts of the world for the winter. So it was a natural transition for me in cloud-based accounting technology and our practice management apps to transition to those was natural for me.
But back to the AI part of it. You know, the AI can run amok in the bank feeds. I call the bank feeds that, you know, the kid at the front of the class, it’s got its hand up, and it’s like, I know the answer. I know the answer. But it doesn’t always have the right answer. It’s very excited.
I know what you mean.
Manage it like that kid, right? You’re like, okay, let’s learn. Let’s take some more learning. Let’s feed you some more information. And let’s give you some rules around when you spew out your information. So the bank feeds are like that. They learn. They’ve got that AI as it goes along. So in the accounting business, we’ve been using those bank feed AIs since 2012, let’s call it. And it really wasn’t pretty. So I think the accounting profession embraced AI more than they even know. But they fought with it because the AI needed years to learn properly, just like the kid at the front of the class, right? And you have to put those guardrails in. A lot of people are like, oh, I’m going to automate it. Don’t automate those bank feeds for crying out loud, don’t even, like I rarely automate a rule in the bank feeds. Because you can roll through those feeds so fast and batch everything off or batch update them, batch fix. It’s way better than trying to pull them back out. When you realize you’ve got duplicates, or it’s coded it wrong or any of that. You can sort and filter lay eyes on it and ship it out way faster than you can undo the mistakes. And I think that’s what you need to keep in mind with the AI like ChatGPT: you’re gonna have to talk nicely to it, train it how, what your voice is it’s gonna take some work the same way that we manage. Don’t don’t just blindly believe what ChatGPT is telling us, right?
Right. Yeah, I did this a search on ChatGPT last week asking something about the Oh, to give me information about my wife’s name and where she worked and it found stuff, and then started saying things about her like, she’s the president of this organization or whatever and it’s like, no, she’s not that. So it doesn’t have all the correct data.
But I actually this morning asked it, what are the main topics Kellie Parks CPB discusses on podcasts? And then it actually said it needed more information. And so I said, Kellie runs a Canadian bookkeeping firm, Calmwaters, and then it says, “Okay, thanks for the additional information. You know, based on that, Kellie likes to discuss bookkeeping and accounting services for small businesses and self employed individuals, cloud accounting solutions using platforms such as QuickBooks Online and Xero, payroll and tax compliance for small businesses, financial analysis and reporting, bookkeeping best practices and tips for small business owners.” This is what Chet GPT told me. Is it accurate?
It’s somewhat accurate, except that I don’t I try mightily to avoid payroll and it actually said something that was absolutely not true in there. I can’t remember.
Financial analysis and reporting, bookkeeping best practices and tips for small business owners, you do that, right?
Bookkeeping, accounting services for small businesses and cloud accounting solutions. Yeah, I don’t know.
Yep. I don’t know either. But it’s interesting because ChatGPT has a fun spot too. I’m not sure if I can use it. I blog and I try to push out a blog a week and then it goes so I’ve got an email list of about 2,500. I try—I don’t hit the mark every week because client work always comes first. And I got a couple of clients, I take on hot mess projects. Oh, that’s what it was. It didn’t say my ideal client, it said small business owners. That’s not true. I only take on incorporated businesses of a certain size, multi entity.
So okay, anyway, it was close. So I’m not sure if it is going to replace my style of writing because I do stories, and actually I take great joy in doing them. But my husband is a fly fishing guide. He owns a guiding company. He is also the host of a fly fishing show. And he needs to do some writing and he needs to do some editing. For him, it’s been great. It’s better than Grammarly. I use Grammarly, it’s embedded for me, it’s a Chrome extension that makes sure I’m not misspelling and miss-grammaring, which I still do. It still manages to slip through my emails go out, they’re not perfect. But Grammarly wasn’t what he needed. What he needed was somebody to rephrase it, to think through what he was saying. And it worked out great for him in editing some of the shows when he has to send back something called shotlisting and do the transcription of some of it to make sure it’s what they want. It’s been brilliant.
Oh, yeah, I’ve used it to help with some of my presentations. Just uh, you know, one of the things with ChatGPT, I had spent, you know, hours researching statistics and mental health and the accounting profession, and didn’t find a lot of good stats, and you know, did a conversation with—I can’t even say it—ChatGPT. I’m just going to call it “Chat” from now on. Started a conversation with Chat, and within five minutes, I had all these statistics out there that I couldn’t find anywhere before, which just helped me with my presentation and showing the need for, you know, for better mental health within our profession. So it was pretty cool, things like that.
I would love someday to have a discussion with you, maybe on your podcast—I would love to have a discussion about mental health or some of those things. Because when it comes to the work-life balance, I’m probably a little unbalanced because the life part is definitely winning.
It would be a great discussion how cloud accounting has really helped with that—cloud technology, not just cloud accounting—all cloud tech. I am 100%, I don’t have a single desktop program anymore other than my stream deck. The base of it is desktop. And Jason Staats had a scan something or other app that looks like it’s desktop I haven’t downloaded it, yeah, but I bought it. If a friend is selling something, I’m buying it right.
But then you get to play with it and see what it does and see how you can integrate it. And I think you probably have a lot of fun doing that.
Yeah, I do. So I would love to talk to you totally about work-life balance, utilizing cloud technology.
Well, I do and that probably a topic that we need to discuss, you know, you are a part of our advisory council for the Unique CPA Conference. I think that would be great. Because the whole point of the conference is, how do we be better mentally, physically, spend less time, be happier, as Kristen Keats says, “bring joy to accounting,” how do we do all these things? And cloud accounting and technology and AI is a pourtant aspect to that. So it’s people who’ve new and I may not have talked about this, but people have heard the podcasts have heard me talk about, you know, I had a stroke nine years ago, after my stroke, I went through depression and PTSD and panic attacks. And it’s something that unfortunately happens just in our profession. For me, it was a combination of the business, because we were growing fast, and I was probably too stressed out, and partly from my health. But the same thing can happen just in our profession from people just burning out.
And so what I want to try to do is educate people through this conference and through this podcast of ways that we can be better at things we’re doing and make this profession a go-to profession for people that are going into college and universities that you know that look at accounting and bookkeeping and tax as the fun profession it really can be and I believe it is.
Yeah, I’m with you. Sing it.
I feel like I’m wrapping up now. Was there anything else that we need the put a bow on top of everything here? I think we did a pretty good job.
I think we covered a lot of ground there, Randy.
Yeah, we did. This was awesome. And that’s just the need for this, and the templates, you have, I think, are going to reduce that barrier to entry, the technology which everybody has to embrace. Everybody has to go cloud, everybody has to get to this point where automation is involved and so that’s pretty cool. So I think people need to start following you. And we’ll get your contact information before—in a few minutes.
But one thing I asked every guest at the end and you’re you’re winning life right now because life is winning the work life balance part, but when we are talking about the outside of work passions, what is it that you do that are you enjoy that when you’re not sitting, creating templates, or helping small businesses?
Okay, so I am out either for a run or a walk outside. I’m generally on trails somewhere in many parts of the world, but when I’m home, here, we’ve got 250 acres jointly owned behind us. I am out either running or hiking every single morning. It would be a very, very like, when I say every single, I mean out of 365 days a year, probably 360 days a year, I’m out for one or two hours in nature somewhere. I love waterskiing and snow skiing. Both of those are my passion. And I live in a cabin on the lake, our lake is very social. And my husband and I love having our friends here. Anyway, so that’s me. And I have three grown kids who have each have other partners, if you will. And I have grand alpacas, grand goats, four grand dogs, and I think maybe three grand cats. That’s what I love.
That’s what you love. And then the one thing you mentioned dogs in general, but you have two Australian shepherds, I think, and my wife and I have one so you’re an Aussie fan.
I’m an Aussie fan. Yeah. And one of them has a death by coyote wish and she did take off for 20 minutes after something, squealing, screaming but she did not come back the loser of the fight this morning.
Yes, she’s a pain in the butt.
Yeah, we back up to a park, 27 acres. We don’t have 250 acres, but we back up to a park and and we’re in the Chicago suburbs, but we get quite a few coyotes that come by the backyard and our dog usually is on a tie out, because she won’t run but she just likes to investigate things, and she just pulled this out of the ground because a coyote was there and took off after it and and I’m running chasing and screaming, but she scared it away I guess—I was afraid it was gonna be the other way.
Right? Yeah, no.
Alright. Well, if anybody wants to get a hold of you or find out more information about Calmwaters, or the templates or the other portions of the conglomerate, where can they find more about Kellie Parks and your companies?
So I have a landing page with links to all of the businesses or things that I do, and I try to keep it Simple. It’s Calmwaters.ca. Nice and simple, takes you to any of the business models I have, Randy—not conglomerate models.
Conglomerate. You don’t want me saying conglomerate. That’s alright. I think I did the same thing with Kristen Keats actually, or something similar.
She’s got a few things going on!
She does have a few things going on as well. Alright. Well, Kellie, it’s been a pleasure. I had a great time. You’ve educated me, which is part of the goal of the show, because I figure if I get educated on it, people are gonna learn. So thank you so much for being here.
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
About the Guest
Kellie Parks is the founder of Calmwaters, which offers cloud accounting and bookkeeping services to multiple entity companies, developes accounting templates, workflows and processes for accounting businesses, among other products, and consults with accounting firms to initiate the adoption of technology. An ardent devotee of online accounting platforms, Kellie adopted cloud financial technology using Freshbooks and QuickBooks Online.
Cloud accounting technology has made it possible for Kellie to enjoy working from out-of-country locations for the majority of the winter while maintaining her education, coaching and bookkeeping business seamlessly.
Kellie is QBO Advanced Pro Certified, Freshbooks Certified, Dext Certified, a Hubdoc Advanced Partner, WagePoint Certified, QBTime Certified, a Plooto Partner, an Ignition Partner, a 17Hats Partner, a Karbon Partner, a Pandadoc Partner, a Zoom Partner, a Reply Partner, and an Acuity Partner.
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.