Accountants to Watch: Cathy Iconis

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There's never a shortage of topics to discuss when it comes to QuickBooks Online, and that's where CPA Cathy Iconis saw an opportunity with her "#QBOchat" on Twitter. Iconis, head of QBOchat as well as her own Atlanta bookkeeping firm Iconis Group, has held the live social media event every Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time since July 2013 in order to help bring professionals together and discuss a myriad of subjects, from the latest updates to practice management and leveraging technology.

We asked Iconis to discuss what she's learned from her five years thus far with QBOchat, as well as what she thinks accountants need to do to move their practices -- and the profession -- forward.
What made you become an accountant?

I was originally a political science major in college, but I could never answer the question, "What are you going to do with that degree?" I was not interested in becoming a lawyer and I didn't know what other career paths there were. I had always been good at math, so I said, "I'll take one accounting class and if I like it, I'll switch my major." I ended up liking it and here I am a CPA with my own bookkeeping and training practice.

How did QBOchat first come about?

I created QBOchat to bring the QBO user community together. I wanted to educate others about how awesome QuickBooks Online is and grow a community of people that have similar interests.

What are some of the opinions you're seeing in these sessions? Are professionals getting more progressive in the way they do business?

I believe the participants of the weekly Twitter chat are on the cutting-edge of the bookkeeping and accounting industry. Almost all of us have QuickBooks Online practices and do everything in the cloud. We utilize a variety of third-party apps and are constantly working on becoming more efficient and effective. We all utilize technology to benefit our workflow, work product, and our clients.

What are some of the bigger issues in the profession that accountants not on QBOchat should be paying more attention to?

I think there are two big issues right now: The first is adopting new technologies. There are so many people that still dislike QuickBooks Online and most of the time it is because it is different from desktop. Others are hesitant to test out the new technology to see how it could make their life easier. Even those that have made the switch to QuickBooks Online might not utilize all of the features or know how to use the product efficiently. Practitioners are also overwhelmed with the amount of third-party apps out there. They don't know which ones to try, what each one does, or how to implement them with clients.

The second issue is pricing. There are three main pricing strategies: hourly pricing, fixed fee, and value pricing. So many experts are pushing practitioners to value price. Well, that strategy might work great for some accountants, but I don't think it is the right fit for everyone. It is hard to find a practitioner that doesn't have a pricing issue. I think there need to be more resources to talk about the different pricing strategies and how to deploy them in your practice. Also, we need to accept that every firm isn't the same, so there shouldn't be one solution for everyone.

What do you hope will change in the profession over the next decade?

I hope the profession keeps on adopting new technologies and using them to their advantage. There are so many tools out there that allow us to do more with less time involvement. I hate to see people wasting time manually entering information when they could be out living life. I hope that in the future, we will see a bigger shift away from "busy season" and technologies will be available to allow us to complete all of that work and not be expected to work 60-80 hour weeks.

For more on QBOchat, head to its Twitter page here. For more on Iconis, head to her firm's site here.

"Accountants to Watch" highlights standout members of the profession who are striving to push accounting forward. If you or someone you know would like to be considered, send a submission to with the subject line "Accountants to Watch."

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