Cloud accounting is helping accountants strike a seamless blend between work and life.
With the flexibility to work from anywhere at anytime, accountants like Will Slade, Managing Director at Slade & Company, are able to service their clients while pursuing their passions.
With his office based in the bustling tech metropolis of San Jose, California, it’s understandable that Will needs an escape every now and then.
An ardent woodworker, Will likes to retreat to his friend and client’s Saratoga workshop, nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains just outside of the city
It’s somewhat of a full circle for him, his first woodworking project was building a birdhouse in the same mountain range when he was about six years old.
Nowadays he mostly builds wine racks and toasting boxes.
Using Xero he is able to work remotely in the mountains. Will isn’t a stranger to the unconventional office, in the past he has taken his work with him to the beach and even out of the country. Having that flexibility is freeing, he says.
Keeping it in the family
Woodworking is a family affair for Will – his four-year-old son recently got his first real toolkit. For now Will and his wife are hoping he will stick to using his plastic saw and his imagination; although Will is proud to add that he’s pretty good with a hammer.
Going from the initial planning stages to something that can be held in your hands is one of Will’s favorite aspects of the woodworking process.
“It allows you to build something, you get to see something come to fruition,” Will says.
“Something that you drew out on a piece of paper is now tangible, which is really nice and really fulfilling.”
Although there’s no direct correlation between his hobby and career, one is a manual undertaking and the other involves a lot of business insight, Will sees a similarity between the two – the need for accuracy.
He applies the ‘measure twice and cut once’ approach to both woodworking and accounting.
“If you measure wrong and cut something too short you’ve got a problem,” Will says.
“Same with accounting, if you’re off on the numbers there’s going to be some inherent issue that’s going to arise so it’s all about attention to detail – making sure that you’re taking the time to make sure things are right.”
Luckily for some of his clients, they get to share in the fruits of his labor; in the past he has gifted toasting boxes to his clients on special occasions.
It’s all part of the friendly dialogue he has with his clients, he says they’re like family. He tries to seek out clients he would hang out with outside of work.
“You don’t want to work with someone you don’t enjoy being around,” Will says.
“You don’t want to chase the dollar, it’s about chasing the relationships and building on them.”
Looking at the big picture
Slade & Company works across a few different verticals including construction, hospitality and, due to their locality, tech. This variety keeps things challenging for Will.
“Interacting with clients and really getting to know their businesses has been interesting because you get to know a lot about different companies and a lot of different industries rather than just doing the same thing over and over,” Will says.
“Restaurants are really high-touch, construction can also be really challenging, where startups have a whole different set of challenges, you don’t know what they’re going to be doing until they start doing it.
“We specialize in really challenging cases it seems like more than anything else.”
When it comes to Will’s startup clients, we see another crossover between woodworking and accounting: the need to build from scratch. These clients needs to be built up and taught what they need to know about running their business. It’s about attention to detail.
“We take a holistic view, we look at the big picture, we look at everything we’re doing, but, ultimately, it boils down to the little details that we can advise change in that will allow them to succeed, to thrive, to improve their business. We ultimately want to provide them the lifestyle and returns they expected and wanted,” Will says.
Will is one of the growing number of accountants leveraging Xero to free up their time and focus on the parts of their jobs they really enjoy. For Will it’s the advisory services: interacting with clients, giving them the advice that they need and “not just the penny and dimes”.
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