Kurt Grantham has fond memories of his childhood days stapling W-2s to 1040s as an honorary member of his father’s CPA firm. As he grew up, his passion for building relationships with small business owners led him to take over his father’s business and build an accounting firm of his own.
On this episode of Gearing Up, we welcome Kurt Grantham, CPA, MBA and Owner of Grosser & Company, LLC. When Kurt was scaling his firm in 2019, it was difficult to find domestic talent with cloud-based accounting experience. But thanks to TOA Global, Kurt tapped into outsourced talent and grew his team by 30% within a year.
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If you’re new to Relay, we’re a business banking and money management platform designed for accountants and their clients. Relay is obsessed with making firms more effective and efficient, which is why we launched our video series Gearing Up. Hosted by Blake Oliver, CPA, Gearing Up is dedicated to amplifying the creative and smart ways accountants and bookkeepers overcome the day-to-day challenges of running a successful firm.
In each episode, we ask a practicing accountant or bookkeeper about one challenge they faced in their firm and how to solve it. If you’d like to share your knowledge on an upcoming episode of Gearing Up, submit your challenge + solution using the form.
IN THIS EPISODE
WATCH: Gearing Up Episode #12 with Kurt Grantham
Grosser & Company’s story
A second-generation firm owner, Kurt took over his father's CPA firm in 2013 and started down the road of entrepreneurship.
Prior to taking over, Kurt worked at ADP, a payroll processing software company, and at his dad's firm for a number of years. With experience in the small business, accounting and payroll space for almost his entire career, Kurt had the vision to create a firm that was built on a team concept and provide great work to his client base.
Grosser & Company, LLC serves small professional services businesses — knowledge-based organizations like themselves — looking for business consulting, tax planning, advisory services, bookkeeping or accounting solutions.
Currently, Kurt has six full-time and 2 part-time team members, with clients across the globe.
How do successful firms solve day-to-day challenges?
Find out in Gearing Up — our bi-weekly video series. Blake Oliver talks to practicing accountants and bookkeeper what tools and strategies they use to thrive.Subscribe
Kurt’s accounting tech stack
Kurt’s accounting software and technology stack include:
Slack and Zoom
Microsoft Office Suite
For day-to-day business operations, Kurt and his team utilize everything within the Microsoft Office suite, including Word and Excel.
SurePrep is a tax preparation software that automates the 1040 tax workflow, helping firms minimize data entry, streamline information gathering and reduce review time with clients.
Ultratax is a tax preparation software that streamlines and automates tax filing and returns.
And lastly, Kurt partners with TOA Global to hire, train and onboard remote team members from overseas.
Problem: Hiring talent to grow his team
In 2019, Kurt was looking to add staffing to his team in order to round out support for his small business clients. In particular, he wanted to find talent to help with administrative tasks, bookkeeping, accounting review and tax preparation.
He quickly realized that it was difficult to find high-quality, domestic talent that was trained in cloud-based accounting tools like Quickbooks Online — it was faster to source talent from overseas. While he initially had doubts about accounting outsourcing, the structure was cost-effective, offered lower financial risk and had the potential to help his firm achieve its growth goals.
Solution: Outsourced accounting services with TOA Global
For Kurt, it was important to find a strong technology and security partner because his staff would be working remotely. After learning about them from a business advisor, he soon turned to Philippines-based TOA Global, also known as The Outsourced Accountant to help hire remote talent.
TOA Global is a leading global outsourcing company specializing in outsourced accounting services. Their platform offers security, collaboration tools and the ability to easily source and vet talent.
“For us it became a real good marrying of the minds in terms of the technology workflows that were already in place there, the level of knowledge of the team that we were able to pull with their QuickBooks Online and Xero certifications already in place in many cases,” says Kurt.
“So we've just found an incredible relationship with a technology partner, I think, and also a partner in TOA that helped us navigate the people relationship side of hiring in the Philippines.”
With TOA’s help, Grosser & Company, LLC began hiring outsourced staff to support bookkeeping services and workflows.
“For us, we started with our bookkeeping workflows as an entry point because we had some concerns [about outsourcing services] and we wanted to make sure that we really understood how to protect any client data and that we were doing things in a compliant way from a tax shop,” says Kurt.
“So we started with [outsourced bookkeeping] because we felt like it was an area that we had a need. We needed to grow the accounting function of our practice in-house.”
In the end, TOA navigated the whole hiring process for Kurt. They helped to source high-quality talent that already had accounting degrees, and in some cases CPA licensing. In addition to hiring, TOA helped onboard and train new team members on the accounting systems like QuickBooks Online and Xero.
How TOA solves the people side of the accounting firm equation
When asked how TOA solved the people side of the account firm problem, here’s what Kurt had to say: “We really wanted to find great talent. I mean, that was the starting point for us. And we felt like great accounting talent could help us serve our clients really well, to get them the data that they needed quickly.”
As he sat in front of a map of the world, Kurt told us about his global vision: “What if our firm could start to reach out beyond our city of Denver? How could we even start to operate in a vast world that has incredible talent and has businesses all over the place? And so we found that we were picking up clients in New Zealand and Australia and in Germany and all over the country, and we were fighting vendor relationships in South Africa and now the Philippines. And I mean, it just started to evolve where we started to really get passionate about this idea that serving the needs of our clients can be done in a way that allows us to touch into the lives of people everywhere.”
For Kurt, TOA provided his firm with the opportunity to provide meaningful work for solid talent. Many of the team members he’s hired through TOA have extensive accounting and payroll experience. They join the firm already QuickBooks and Xero certified, and are looking for the opportunity to work for a US-based company.
“We hire on our time zone, so they're working an overnight shift and they're paid a differential on that,” says Kurt. “But it's, more than that, TOA Global has allowed us to provide fulfilling work for solid talent. They’ve allowed us to participate economically in changing our team members’ lives.”
Providing fulfilling work for solid talent
As a business owner, Kurt believes it’s not just about profit. Of course, profitability is important for any business, but beyond that, Kurt is passionate about building a firm that is generous with its team members, no matter where they are in the world.
“For me, that became really apparent when one of our team members shared that she was able to buy a pair of sneakers for the first time. And I came back and I shared that story with my wife and my kids, and we almost broke out into tears,” says Kurt. “We don't oftentimes think through the benefit that we're providing with, not just pay, but also giving folks good work to do and giving them work that they can feel a sense of accomplishment and then a career path where they can grow.”
Putting people first
He believes it’s the answer to deeper accounting questions like finding accounting talent anywhere. As small, regional, or even big firms, in order to provide good work, Kurt believes it starts with treating people with respect and valuing their time and their talent.
Blake agrees, stating: “I love that so much, Kurt. I agree with you a hundred percent. I think in accounting, we focus so much on the work to be done, and we don't stop to think about why are we doing this work, and who are we doing it for and what is our greater mission? And as you've demonstrated there, owning an accounting firm can be more than just about making profits and making money. And that doesn't mean we don't do it, but we can also impact the lives of our customers and our employees in a really positive way.”
How do you begin to do that? It’s a matter of making people aware of the fact that accountants and bookkeepers are serving a small business community and small business owners that are in need of financial expertise.
Or as Kurt says: “we really wanna make sure that we're finding the best talent for our clients. And we can do that anywhere in the world by having a paperless back office and by shifting our focus that way.”
Get in touch with Kurt Grantham
Big thank you to Kurt Grantham for joining us for this episode of Gearing Up. If you’re a small business, looking for accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation, or advisory services, reach out to him.
LinkedIn: Kurt Grantham