Clay & Brandon - How It All Started

Clay & Brandon sit down and discuss where the idea for Firm360 came from, and where it's going.

0:02 hey everybody this is clay and Brandon
0:04 with we're the founders of firm 360. and
0:07 we are here today we're going to do a
0:09 little video we're going to start doing
0:10 a series hopefully we can help out
0:12 um talk about some topics that are
0:14 interesting to accounting firms
0:16 um we're passionate about small to
0:18 medium helping small to medium size
0:20 accounting firms and today we just want
0:22 to talk about how firm 360 has started
0:24 um so Brandon tell us a little about
0:25 yourself and your background
0:28 yeah thanks Clay so uh Brandon gray here
0:31 uh CPA about 15 years in North Carolina
0:34 and we have a medium-sized small to
0:38 medium-sized firm Regional firm uh based
0:41 in North Carolina two offices and
0:43 we've been looking for
0:46 streamlined efficiencies and and
0:49 training and and optimizing the running
0:52 of the firm and we were using four or
0:56 five different platforms to operate the
0:59 operate the firm which was obviously
1:02 frustrating and inefficient so I reached
1:05 out to Clay for some for some help with
1:08 trying to find the software to solve our
1:11 needs and we really couldn't find
1:13 anything so we set out to build a
1:16 proprietary solution for for our firm
1:19 and and during that process and due
1:22 diligence realized that there was a a
1:24 real need for a platform like ours in
1:28 the industry so that's that's
1:30 um that's where I came from and where
1:32 firm 360 was founded that's awesome how
1:35 many uh people worked at BGC when you
1:39 first started there
1:40 uh non-people nine okay and what we're
1:46 um
1:46 how has that changed since since then
1:49 how you said Yeah there it's been there
1:52 for 10 years
1:54 I've been I've been there for actually
1:55 14 years 14 years 14 years yep so so we
2:00 prior to
2:01 uh the implementation of firm 360 we had
2:05 nine people
2:07 um today our revenues are up about 10
2:10 from the from that time period and we
2:12 have seven people currently wow that's
2:15 incredible what are um how have things
2:18 changed since you first started like
2:21 just like what's the journey been like
2:25 yeah the journey it's been a journey
2:28 that's for sure so
2:30 um you know we we thought we were
2:34 solving a a
2:37 pretty simple problem right oh there's
2:39 five platforms just put them into one
2:41 then then you're fixed you fixed it well
2:44 obviously it's not been not been that
2:46 easy we we've had to learn uh best
2:50 practices
2:52 um scalable practices standardization of
2:55 of processes and understanding the
2:59 accountant mindset which is really
3:02 really different from from the typical
3:05 software application because us these
3:10 accountants like myself that we just
3:11 have our ways and we we need things
3:15 um in a different manner than than what
3:17 standard software logic would have so
3:20 you know I think that's been the biggest
3:23 learning curve is but also is one of the
3:27 keys to Our Success here at firm 360
3:29 because clay you would be able to say
3:33 why are you accountants doing that this
3:35 way this is the way Common Sense people
3:38 would do it and we were we were able to
3:40 go back and forth and banter back and
3:42 forth and really get to
3:44 we're able to pull the accounting
3:47 group out of the trenches because the
3:49 accounting industry was significantly
3:51 and still is significantly behind in
3:54 technology from the rest of the world so
3:56 we were trying to pull us out of those
3:58 technologically uh challenged trenches
4:02 into a more modern day
4:05 thought process but at the same time
4:09 keeping the the core values and
4:11 standards of the accounting firm in
4:13 place so that's that's been the biggest
4:16 that I would say the biggest challenge
4:18 but also the biggest reward throughout
4:21 this journey yeah yeah and I had worked
4:23 with like I.T Consulting companies and I
4:26 was like well you accountants and these
4:28 I.T companies do the same thing you like
4:30 do something and then you charge for
4:31 your time but you guys do it differently
4:34 just because maybe whatever system you
4:36 had that's the way they told you to do
4:37 it so it's been fun trying to find the
4:40 best of both worlds
4:42 um throughout this time yeah absolutely
4:44 where do you think
4:46 um firm 360 is going in the next two to
4:49 five years like what's your vision
4:52 yeah I would say that that we're
4:55 expanding our reach for sure so we we
4:58 have a very we've proven the the
5:01 platform's success it's stability the
5:06 best processes we we've really best
5:08 practices we've really standardize those
5:10 things improving them now we're we're
5:14 um well well into the seven to eight
5:17 hundred uh Professionals of using the
5:20 platform every day now so we're we're at
5:24 liftoff point is what I would I would
5:26 say we're really
5:27 um work hard on our our onboarding
5:30 practices and we've got dials now to to
5:34 know are we onboarding too many people
5:36 or not enough people so we're we're
5:38 scheduling out those onboardings really
5:40 making sure that their quality and we
5:42 have the time to to devote to each uh
5:46 client that signs up so I
5:49 2023 is going to be a really cool year
5:51 at firm 360. we're going to really
5:54 change the lives of a lot of accounting
5:56 uh professionals which has been really
5:59 rewarding to to get the reviews I mean
6:01 that I'd like to you know one of these
6:03 videos we'll read some reviews right
6:04 just to just to kind of make ourselves
6:07 excited about what other people are
6:09 saying because it's is really it gets me
6:12 up in the morning makes me feel good
6:13 about what we've done and so I think the
6:16 next two to three years
6:18 um we're going to just stay true to our
6:21 core values
6:22 um
6:23 and and one of those being serviced
6:25 we're just going to stick to the service
6:26 we're just going to keep our head down
6:27 keep digging and and do do what we've
6:30 been doing but just do it on a little
6:32 bit bigger scale because our our
6:34 platform will be able to reach a few
6:35 more people than it has in the past just
6:37 because of its uh maturity at this point
6:39 awesome I guess when I first met you
6:42 you're like the biggest problem I have
6:43 is I have all these systems I don't know
6:45 what my team's working on and I spend
6:47 too much time copying between uh systems
6:50 I feel like you've solved that like
6:52 what's the biggest problem in accounting
6:54 firm like yours has next year like that
6:58 I should be working on
7:00 oh that was a good that's a good that's
7:02 a good loaded question I think the
7:04 answer to that is like a lot of tax
7:06 questions it depends
7:09 um
7:11 man
7:12 one one challenge that that we have is
7:18 more teams are going remote
7:21 um and that doesn't mean that the whole
7:23 team's remote it doesn't mean you never
7:25 have an office but our team is even
7:27 doing our expansion of
7:30 we're in expansion mode at our firm now
7:33 we'll most likely double in size in the
7:35 next 12 to 24 months and we're having to
7:38 do that from from remote based people
7:42 um so and that's a combination It's a
7:45 combination of remote employees and it's
7:47 a combination of remote
7:50 contractors
7:52 um outsourced work so being able to
7:56 communicate
7:58 with those teams and firm 360 has
8:01 allowed us to assign work to those teams
8:03 give them access just to what they need
8:05 and not everything else inside the
8:08 platform that that problem's been solved
8:10 what I see is
8:13 as a challenge is we're still you know
8:16 we're using slack we're using email for
8:19 and and work papers for for review notes
8:23 on projects still a little bit scattered
8:26 uh when it comes to management of of
8:29 those projects and Communications around
8:31 them and those people
8:33 um so that and then I I really believe
8:36 that the time sheets are going out the
8:38 window
8:39 um and and that'll start a big debate a
8:41 lot of accountants will will crucify me
8:44 for for saying that but I really believe
8:48 that long term the in the team members
8:51 of accounting firms don't like to be
8:55 told to show up at eight o'clock and
8:56 leave at five o'clock and got to produce
8:58 X number of hours it's more of a job
9:00 type go do these 12 projects and get
9:04 them done and you and you'll make X
9:06 number of dollars so being able to track
9:11 you know Sally reviewed these 43 tax
9:15 returns this week and being able to have
9:18 that list of who reviewed which returns
9:20 and what the revenue from that was so
9:23 that you could derive a p4p that's where
9:25 I'm going with it pay for performance is
9:27 coming in the accounting industry it's
9:29 in most of the other Advanced Industries
9:31 and and it's going to become widespread
9:34 in the accounting industry and being
9:35 able to
9:37 to Monitor and adapt and give management
9:40 of firms a dashboard that helps them
9:43 with that is where I I think our next
9:45 that's I think I feel like that's our
9:47 next two challenges from the practice
9:48 management so that's awesome it's been a
9:51 it's been a fun journey and I'm excited
9:53 to see where it goes is there anything
9:55 uh about yourself personally you want to
9:58 tell us
10:01 what do you do for fun when you're not
10:02 doing X's or software yeah so um I I
10:08 would say I'm saying golf right now
10:09 because I'm yeah you've taught me back
10:12 into getting some new golf clubs and
10:14 playing golf and I did that last month
10:15 so
10:16 um hopefully I'll play a little more
10:17 golf this fall
10:19 um I like to fly I have a private
10:21 pilot's license and I really enjoy
10:22 flying and
10:25 um and and fishing with my kids now love
10:28 the fish so we're doing some some
10:30 inshore and some close offshore fishing
10:32 and then racing we're a big racing
10:34 family during the in the spring and
10:36 summer uh we do it we do a lot of racing
10:39 so my little little 10 year old girls
10:42 heavily involved in driving and so
10:44 that's that's typically where you see us
10:46 on the weekends we're we're at a
10:47 racetracks and we're hanging out with
10:49 the family
10:50 awesome well
10:52 um this was this was cool I hope uh
10:55 somebody finds it interesting and I hope
10:56 we can do some more videos in the near
10:58 future absolutely
11:01 thanks