Brad Lopez doesn’t come from a traditional accounting background.
Prior to starting his bookkeeping firm, Bookkeeper360, he actually spent more than a decade in the hotel industry. Brad would buy up hotels and renovate them, either selling them afterwards or taking over operations. That’s where he began to sense a common theme.
“Many of the problems these businesses were having stemmed from poor back office management,” said Brad. “Every time I took on a new project, we essentially had to duplicate the back office.”
Over the years, he eventually created a system for replicating the back office. After taking some time off to be with his family, Brad returned to work, but realized that he had lost some business. More importantly, without someone always keeping an eye on the back office, he understood that his company would always be at risk.
And that’s what sparked the idea behind Bookkeeper360. Shortly after, he met his now co-founder, Nick Pasquarosa, who came from an accounting background. He was also a tech whiz.
“Nick knew technology,” said Brad. “He helped me design a system where we could host everything on a server. Not only that, but he could make it mobile.”
Introduce your clients to payroll they’ll actually love.
How Bookkeeper360 Grew Their Client Base
Bookkeeper360 has only been around since last January, yet they already have clients in 30 states across the US and are growing 10 percent month over month. They even have clients in two other countries.
How did Brad and Nick grow their base so quickly?
At the beginning, it was mostly word of mouth. “I started recommending Bookkeeper360 to the people I came across in my previous business,” said Brad. “From there, it started growing rapidly.”
People also resonated with what the firm was selling. Whether you’re a new business owner with no back office experience — or a seasoned entrepreneur wanting to get your back office in order — Bookkeeper360 offered the solution.
“We’re an alternative to hiring someone you have to manage. We’re an alternative to having to learn and research all these products yourself,” said Brad. “Since I’m able to provide our clients with a ‘plug and play’ system that has a proven track record of success, they put their confidence behind me.”
And they also don’t just take on every single client; Bookkeeper360 works best with clients who have a specific mindset.
“Our clients are usually somewhat proactive,” said Brad. “They see a value in the technology that’s coming out. Not only that, they want to be a part of it.”
For example, the New York-based firm recently branched into a unique client category: gyms. More specifically, Crossfit gyms. Brad says he loves the kind of culture they have. So much so that they’ve even created a bookkeeping service just for that vertical, known as Fitness Bookkeeper.
After connecting with accounting software, Xero, a year ago, they discovered a whole ecosystem of solutions they could offer in package bundles to clients. (They’re now a Xero Gold Partner!)
Bookkeeper360’s Unique Approach
Brad believes that his approach, honed after more than a decade in hospitality, is what makes Bookkeeper360 unique.
“We place a huge focus on the customer experience,” he said. “We have a relationship manager that works with clients, along with account managers, a marketing team, and a sales department. We’re not structured like a traditional accounting firm.”
When you go to Bookkeeper360’s website, you also notice something you don’t see too often on accounting firm websites: live customer support. By embracing tools like Olark, they’re already more modern and ahead of the game.
Bookkeeper360 also places huge emphasis on educating their customers. They want to make sure each business owner gets a retrospective view of their finances each month.
“We’re all about teaching our clients about their finances. We go line item by line item with them. The thirteenth time you’re doing this, we’re sending out a tax return,” said Brad, “This upfront transparency is really the best way to show what’s happening in their business.”
Along with educating them, he wants to make sure that he establishes a strong, long-lasting relationship with each of his clients.
“With my previous businesses, I never had a great relationship with my accounting firm. I would dump paperwork on my accountant at the end of year and he would make the business decisions as to how he was going to allocate it,” said Brad. “There was a disconnect between what he did and what I did. There’s a risk when I’m putting my name on a tax return and he did all the work; I didn’t understand it.”
Bookkeeper360 wants to make sure their clients understand exactly what’s going on with their financials — and what it means for their business. Brad says it’s a wonderful event the first time he shows a client a profit and loss statement. Or when they learn how a balance sheet works.
“It’s truly remarkable when our clients realize how much they can learn from their finances. For example, many people don’t know how to set their compensation. Or they don’t know how to keep talent,” he said. “It’s this realization that running their business through their finances is the way small businesses become big businesses.”
“I really like helping small businesses. I know the struggle of a small business,” he added. “I’ve had good times and bad times as a business owner. I’m confident that I can give value to everyone who comes to me, in one way or another.”
The Transformation of Back Office
Brad has seen back office management (and the tools in the ecosystem) change dramatically over the years. He recalls when he was doing “payroll sheets,” which represented the dollar amount one was paying against all the deductions.
The sheets were 4×6 feet long. And that’s only going back 20 years ago! He remembers that it took about 15 hours to do payroll for that company.
“I’ve always known there was a better way to do things,” said Brad. “I’ve always tried to be aggressive in finding those solutions.”
Brad says he’s confident about putting Bookkeeper’s reputation behind services that he trusts, like Xero and Gusto.
“My old accountant never wanted to recommend a product or service to me,” he said. “People want vetted services. They want me to put my reputation behind Gusto, and if I recommend that to them, they’re gonna take my word on that.”
“We’ve had nothing but success so far when our clients use Gusto,” he added.
We love hearing about how modern accounting firms like Bookkeeper360 are helping small businesses thrive. A huge thank you to Brad and Nick for taking the time to share their story with us!