Accountants to Watch: Hector Garcia
Hector Garcia wants you to be better professional. In addition to his day job as CEO of full-service accounting firm Quickbookkeeping and Accounting just outside of Miami, Garcia, 36, oversees a number of side projects focused on QuickBooks, practice management, and other accounting topics to help grow value and change in the industry.
His main side project is overseeing his own YouTube channel, covering the ins and outs of QuickBooks and tutorials therein. Started in 2011, the channel has garnered over 17,000 subscribers and 2.1 million views. Garcia also serves as a member of the Intuit Trainer Writer Network, having trained over 10,000 professionals via live QuickBooks certification classes, webinars and virtual conferences. Garcia also co-hosts "QB Power Hour," a free CPE webinar series for accountants, further covering QuickBooks topics, in addition to being a regular QuickBooks teacher at conferences and contributor to Firm of the Future, among other endeavors.
We caught up with Garcia to uncover the drive behind his work, and what he considers to be the biggest issue facing the profession today:
What made you want to become an accountant?
The opportunity! I used to work in a bank as a small-business banker, and in five years I must have pre-underwritten about 300 loan applications, from which less than 50 were approved/funded. The vast majority of the unapproved loans were really profitable businesses, but horrible financial statements; I just did not understand it. When I spoke to their bookkeepers, they just shrugged their shoulders, and when I spoke to their accountants, they acted like they did not know anything about the inner workings of their client's business. Yet, I was the bad guy because I could not get their loan approved. I searched and searched for great accountants and bookkeepers to recommend to my bank clients so they could get on the right track, but it was like pulling teeth — people did not want to change.
I felt that whole situation was nonsensical. I figured the only way to change it was from the inside, so I quit my job at the bank, went back to school and became an accountant. My journey began there.
What was the drive behind creating your YouTube channel?
Two answers: The creation of the channel was partially by accident. Back in 2014, I started a webinar series called "QB Power Hour," all about QuickBooks and related apps. I used YouTube to post the recordings as it is the easiest way to refer people back to the recordings. About six months later, I had 1,000-plus subscribers on my channel and YouTube invited me to "monetize" my channel. Long story short, I figured if YouTube shares advertising revenue with me, I kill two birds with one stone: I promote myself and my skills, and I get some additional income. However, it is not as glamorous as it seems; after 2.5 million views and 17,000-plus active subscribers, I only get $700 checks from YouTube every month. At this point, I spend 20 percent of my "billable time" creating content for YouTube, so monetization is not the reason why I continue to do it.
The driving force behind maintaining my YouTube channel is to command premium pricing for my consulting services. A lot of prospects tell me I am the most expensive of all the quotes they get. To that my answer is: "Yes, but I am the only sure thing." My logic is [if] people can see me, hear me, and watch me work in my videos and webinars, they get a much deeper understand of my capabilities and experience than some bio on a website. YouTube has been the most amazing lead generator ever; without exaggerating, I get two to three emails per day of people asking questions about QuickBooks and my service, and they all start with: "I found your e-mail in YouTube ... ."
Have you found that the people you work with in webinars and online classes have trouble with QuickBooks or do you feel that professionals aren’t utilizing it fully?
Most of the attendees for my webinars are experienced QuickBooks users, are just curious, [or] are aware that they don't know what they don't know. They watch the webinars with the glimmer of hope that some hidden gem will unlock some productivity opportunities. But there is a group of attendees that do not know where to start; those end up going with some basic online classes I have or searching YouTube for their particular issue.
How do you come up with topics for your videos? Are they topics you feel are current issues, or topics you feel like professionals should learn to master?
I write down everything that I learn on a daily basis; I also keep a log of the QuickBooks questions I get. I [also] search Google—if that new learning or question the client asked is not in the top 10 hits, that is an opportunity for me to create a video about it.
Hot topics now are: converting from desktop to cloud; implementing value pricing (charging fixed fees instead of hourly rates); importing data into QuickBooks to avoid manual data entry; integrating QuickBooks with other apps that business owners use to manage other parts of their business; [and] downloading transactions from the bank. Mastering those will help a professional be much more proficient.
As someone who’s constantly teaching and communicating with accountants, what do you feel are the biggest issues in the profession that accountants should be paying more attention to?
The answer is "changes." Changes are the biggest issue with the profession. This is a profession that has enjoyed a very slow evolution, and accountants have gotten used to steady, repetitive, predictable results. These changes are really shaking things up; they are forcing accountants to learn technology, software, social media, and e-communications, which is making a lot of us uncomfortable, and maybe even affecting our work. Clients are also changing; they are expecting faster response times, mobile access to information, and even real-time information. Accounting firms need to almost have a full-time team member in charge of keeping up with the technologies; otherwise clients will quickly move to another, "tech-ier" firm.
What are your biggest aspirations for the profession going forward? What do you hope will change about the profession in the next 10 years?
My aspiration is that as technology gets better, the client side of accounting and compliance gets more accurate, freeing up the accountant to provide added value in business consulting, tax planning and general advisory services that helps their clients unlock their full potential, rather than spending so much time cleaning up the books. In the next 10 years, I hope to see more accounting professionals embrace technology and evolve their roles to trusted advisors while also ditching hourly billing.
"Accountants to Watch" is a new feature highlighting 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 AcToday@sourcemedia.com with the subject line "Accountants to Watch."