Work-Life Balance in Small Firms

Eric Hersman knows the pressures of taking care of clients while growing your firm all too well. As the owner of Hersman & Associates CPAs, he and his team have built a small firm that delivers big client service. But a few years ago, Hersman found himself at a crossroads. His firm had become quite successful, but now his life was consumed by work.

“Like many small practitioners, when we started out, growth was pretty easy and everything was very rewarding. We grew our client base, we grew our staff, we worked hard every day. We felt if we do the right things, we take care of our clients, we take care of our staff, we’ll be in a better place. . .

. . .Somewhere along the line, things changed and not for the good. It’d become less fun and didn’t feel as good. Moreover, I seemed to work more and more hours, and more and more hours.”

Eric Hersman, Hersman & Associates CPAs

Tax season required grueling 80-hour weeks at the office. Hersman could not even find time to take his wife to dinner, to say nothing of travel or other hobbies. Finally, he and his wife carefully assessed their future. Something had to change. They could either move forward and change the business or scale back the work and clients. After some research and planning, they decided to transform the firm – figuring out a good work-life balance where everyone could work smarter instead of harder.

Work smarter with CCH Axcess™ solutions

The Hersmans wanted to see their “clients taken care of better than anyone” and the “staff to be happier than anybody working anywhere.” So, they dug in to make changes to the firm’s processes and technology that allowed for superior client service while also making work more fun.

“We focused on our staff, getting the right people. We looked at technologies and our workflows and our processes. And, we realized that cloud-based solutions were needed. We thought if we do it, and we do it right, then not only will our office perform the way we want, but also growth will just come naturally.”

Eric Hersman, Hersman & Associates CPAs

The firm adopted digital cloud tax workflows for both personal and business tax preparation, as well as firm management. CCH Axcess solutions share one common database that saves time and reduces errors. After data gets entered once, it populates throughout the system. In addition to CCH Axcess™ Tax, Hersman & Associates uses these integrated solutions:

  • CCH Axcess™ Financial Prep
  • CCH Axcess™ Portal
  • ProSystem fx® Scan with AutoFlow
  • CCH Axcess™ Workstream
  • CCH Axcess™ Practice

Now, the firm has smarter, more sustainable business processes thanks to digital tax workflows, machine intelligence, cloud-based automation, and practice management analytics built into CCH Axcess. As a result, the firm is now positioned to attract and service new clients in any geographic area while maintaining strong existing client relationships. Additionally, the ability to work remotely means Hersman can bring new professionals onto the team that live outside his home state of West Virginia. What’s more, the firm has been able to remain agile and resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, because professionals can work just as effectively from their homes as the office.

Take control of your firm’s work-life balance this tax season

One of the most recent additions to Hersman & Associates CPAs’ technology stack is CCH Axcess™ Financial Prep. It’s the first cloud-based trial balance solution, integrated with CCH Axcess, for the preparation of business tax returns. Firms using CCH Axcess Financial Prep save time because they can:

  • Instantly produce accurate balances for business tax returns in the cloud
  • Bring in client data from Xero™ and QuickBooks® Online using seamless integration
  • Import trial balance into the business tax return
  • Increase efficiency with dynamic views of tax summary reports, financial statements and lead sheets
  • Export financial statements, trial balance, tax summary report and more to markup and annotate supporting workpapers
  • Automate grouping of trial balance accounts and assignment of tax codes
  • And more

With the start of tax season pushed to February, there’s still time to investigate and implement CCH Axcess Financial Prep. It will totally automate the business tax return preparation process, improving efficiency in your tax workflow. Moreover, with it, you will further translate cloud-based efficiency gains into better work-life balance for your team this tax season. See it for yourself in this short demo.

To conclude, listen to this podcast to hear more of Eric Hersman’s tips for creating a better work-life balance in small firms. And check out this blog to learn how Martin and Julie Lepper made better work-life balance a core mission for their firm, too.

AUTHOR

Joel Ortner

All stories by: Joel Ortner