Envolta was taking all of their clients online -- That’s what has contributed to the growth of their practice so quickly. Their thoughts? "You need to use Plooto or the process doesn’t work."
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Started in 2014, Envolta is a rapidly growing 35-person accounting and bookkeeping practice with remote employees from Atlantic to Pacific. Led by forward-thinking CEO David DiNardo, the firm offers a range of services — advisory, tax prep, AP, bookkeeping and more — and tailors its technology recommendations to each customer’s needs: Sometimes Xero is the right cloud accounting platform, sometimes QuickBooks Online; usually it’s Hubdoc for digitizing data.
A few things were non-negotiable:
1) Efficiency and top-tier customer service are a priority.
2) As part of its proven growth strategy, Envolta insists on serving clients using cloud technology.
3) Plooto is a critical part of accomplishing the first two.
David DiNardo grew up around finance — “my dad was an accountant with a tax franchise” — and long before launching Envolta he knew how things were done: Carefully, slowly, in person, especially the day-to-day bookkeeping tasks like Accounts Payable.
"It’s a very manual process, right? Just the fact that you have to enter the information into the accounting software. You have to prepare a check. You have to get a signature. You have to mail it out. And then you have to clear the payment afterwards," says DiNardo.
When DiNardo decided to open an accounting and bookkeeping business, he had no interest in just following the way it’s always been done. With an MBA from St. Bonaventure University in New York, he approached the venture with an eye to maximizing growth and building something truly special.
Now, in a traditional accounting/bookkeeping practice you can only serve customers with whom you can meet in person to exchange files, sign paperwork, and so on — in other words, customers in your immediate business area. Moreover, in a practice built on manual processes, your revenues and your team size grow in linear fashion. Doubling your business? You have to double your team.
DiNardo refused to be limited by tradition and sought out a better strategy that could bring in an exponentially larger customer base, without exponentially more work. His eyes were on a highly automated, fully virtual practice.
By the time Envolta began operations, cloud accounting technologies were beginning to mature and show their promise. But, the accounting platform alone was only one portion of the solution. No matter how good QBO and Xero are, as long as any part of DiNardo’s practice relied on face-to-face processes, physical paperwork or signatures, Envolta’s growth would be bound by those limits.
That made old-school Accounts Payable and payment processes a clear impediment to serving customers well online and being able to truly scale.
"Once you go virtual, you have to find an electronic payment method," says DiNardo, "It has to eliminate check preparation. It has to solve the time and administrative work of finding the approver, making sure they’re available to sign it, which is always a pain for people. Plooto was able to answer that for us.”
With Plooto, check prep is eliminated, and payment approvals are moved online so it doesn’t matter where the accountant or bookkeeper is located and where the client is. And the benefits are more than just virtual workflows: The gains in efficiency are tremendous.
"We receive the invoice. Client gets notified for approval. They approve it. Plooto automatically pushes out the payment electronically. Everything’s done online. And then the payment gets reconciled automatically. In Plooto, it’s literally a two-step process and then you’re done. You’re eliminating a manual process with an electronic tool. Way better," says DiNardo.
The new efficiencies become even more striking when a client’s complexity increases. Non-profits, with complicated approval and compliance requirements, are among the most dramatic examples.
By incorporating Plooto in his tech stack, Envolta can make even complicated approval and payment workflows easy, efficient, and 100% virtual.
Building a Scalable, Efficient Practice
Envolta was an early adopter of cloud applications, in part because of the ability to easily integrate different systems, resulting in low-touch, high-accuracy financial records.
Of course, it begins with a cloud accounting platform. Envolta uses both Xero and QuickBooks Online. DiNardo’s team will connect bank feeds to eliminate manual data entry, and then incorporate Hubdoc to digitize the information that didn’t come in digitally from a feed. Then Plooto comes in to solve all the time-consuming components of approving payments, making payments, chasing down payments, and reconciling payments.
"The app stack we’re introducing to all of our clients is QuickBooks Online or Xero, and then Hubdoc and Plooto," says DiNardo, "Once you understand the Hubdoc/Xero/Plooto process, that’s where you really, automate the process. And that’s what has contributed to our growth, absolutely."
What if a client couldn’t or wouldn’t use the recommended app stack?
"They wouldn’t be a client anymore," exclaims Dinardo, "I have clients all over the place. I can’t send couriers everywhere all the time. The first thing I say is, ‘If you want to eliminate checks and make everything electronic, we’re the company for you. If you want someone on site and prepare checks, that’s OK. That just doesn’t fit our business model."
It’s difficult to say no to a paying client, but DiNardo understood that Envolta could only reach its growth potential by making smart decisions around its own processes, and insisting on maximum efficiency.
By reaching clients wherever they live and work, rather than being bound to his local business prospects; and by maximizing efficiency using a smart app stack that includes Plooto; Envolta has increased revenues by 400% in less than three years, making the practice one of North America’s fastest growing accounting firms.
Outcomes are also better for the clients, who no longer need to make time for in-person payment approvals and signature bottlenecks, or cut checks on their own. Clients can head off on vacation and manage their AP/AR workflows remotely, or they can delegate more responsibility to their own teams with Plooto’s customizable approval roles. In any event, they maintain better control over their business finances than ever, while slashing the time they spent on low-value administrative tasks.
Clients also benefit from improved financial visibility, and improved cash flow with Plooto’s powerful Accounts Receivable features like recurring billing and pre-authorized debit (PAD) agreements. All the while, the Envolta team can focus on providing true value and advisory services to maximize their clients’ profits.