Meet Darren Dowdell, founder of Acade Tax Services LLC in Buffalo, NY. Darren is an EA, MBA, and practicing accountant focusing on tax preparation services for over 30 years. Since 2008, he’s managed to grow his client base up to 600 clients, and is adding 400 more in the coming year with the help of TaxDome’s workflow automation.
Growing with the help of technology
Our ears perked up when we heard the number of clients that Darren is able to process all on his own.
“I’ve been growing the business since 2008. Through my own marketing efforts I got up to 600 clients. Being solo, without even a secretary and still growing 20-30% year over year, I try to solve problems with technology.”
Seven years ago Darren started looking into paperless document storage. He settled on SmartVault, but soon realized the need in other systems. Darren added a CRM (Cloze), Email and signatures (Encryo), Tax Help Software (transcripts), Outlook (Emails), Quickbooks and more.
Having such a large technology stack, Darren found that the subscription fees for all these services were adding up and importantly, he was spending too much time on admin work because his information was scattered amongst many different cloud platforms, and his clients were being sent on a wild goose chase through different systems for different tasks.
“Last year was a headache. My admin time was taking up nearly half of the day. I realized how ridiculous this was. And my clients – they were confused with all of the systems I was using to communicate with them. That was when TaxDome came in. I just loved the all-in-one approach.”
As we discuss Acade’s growth plans, Darren insists on staying solo. With the help of TaxDome, he aims to spend far less time on admin work and more time on tax prep.
Now that he is less encumbered by admin work, Acade bought another tax practice from a retiring competitor. With the addition of these new clients, Darren is very optimistic about filing over 1,000 returns next year with the help of TaxDome’s automations.
How to sell a practice at a higher multiple — read the Tax Therapy story to learn more.
Digitizing the customer experience
Prior to COVID-19, half of Acade’s clients were virtual and half in-person. But, the pandemic revealed many weak points of other software stacks.
When clients came into the office, there was no need to do KBA to sign form 8879 and accepting payments was also done on the spot. With these and other processes now being handled remotely, Acade’s clients appreciate the ease of use provided by TaxDome’s portal.
“Most of my clientele are in their mid fifties. Some are tech-savvy people. They love software, but are annoyed about having to know all the systems, log-ins, etc. So I’m glad to introduce TaxDome to them. It’s a win-win for both sides rather than depending on me on the phone, which I won’t do anymore during my working hours.”
How to streamline processes: write down what you already do
Darren was all-in on automating from the very beginning.
“I’m real good at detecting patterns and seeing efficiencies. When I was using Outlook, I went through all the emails, noticed patterns, and wrote them down. This showed me what I was doing over and over. So I had a lot of outlook templates and tried to get rid of menial repetitive work. TaxDome allowed me to automate all the things that I’d already done in my own semi technological way.”
TaxDome allows tax firms to systematize their processes, clients, and documents in one place. It’s fully customizable, and our customer success team is ready to help you get started.