LBA Haynes Strand teams with Ceterus on dental accounting

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LBA Haynes Strand PLLC, a North Carolina-based CPA firm, is partnering with the financial technology provider Ceterus to offer client accounting services to dentists.

Ceterus has designed a system to automate client accounting for CPA firms, using a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Along with automating the bookkeeping for the firm, Ceterus is giving LBA Haynes Strand industry-specific reporting and benchmarking customized for the firm’s dental clients so LBAHS can provide clients with industry best practices and strategic advisory services to increase the profitability and growth of their dental practices.

“We set out to build a platform for small-business entrepreneurs, to do their accounting for them using a lot of automation, but human as well,” Ceterus CEO Levi Morehouse told Accounting Today. “That’s required right now. It can’t be fully done by the machines. With unique reporting, one of our key value propositions has always been a very strong vertical focus. We’ve focused on some franchised brands as well as some other small-business verticals such as dental. Over the last year or year-and-a-half, it became clear that this platform that we’d developed for specific small-business entrepreneurs who didn’t have a trusted advisor could also apply really well to CPA firms, who are an incredibly valuable trusted advisor to many entrepreneurs around the country already. It kind of served two needs: It gave the firm the ability to provide reporting to the end customer that the entrepreneur didn’t have before, but on the flip side the automation from our platform leveraged the firm’s staffing resources to be able to serve more people and provide more higher-value services.”

The partnership with LBA Haynes Strand represents the first time Ceterus has applied the technology to the dental industry. “We’ve had a few pilot CPA firms in the franchise space that we’ve been working with a lot over the last year, and LBA is the first firm to adopt us for a large segment of their customer base,” said Morehouse. “In this environment, hiring is what we’re hearing every firm talking about. Their current staff is utilizing cloud technologies, but they’re feeling crimped on being able to grow, due to the fact that it’s really challenging to hire and train staff, By leveraging our technology, they get more capacity out of their currently trained team.”

LBAHS sees advantages to the new partnership. “Our philosophy at LBA Haynes Strand is ‘Accounting ahead of the curve,’ and we’re always looking for the best partners and tools to bring that idea to fruition,” said firm principal Brad McKeiver in a statement. “We needed a way to scale up our services in the dental sector as we have grown. We want to continue allowing our team to spend time with clients, specifically in the advisory capacity, and this helps us accomplish that goal. By leveraging Ceterus, we’re able to grow more efficiently while providing added value to our dental clients, which in turn helps them grow, too.”

Dental practices are just one of the niches serviced by LBAHS, Morehouse noted. “They’re in a variety of industries, but where they have a concentration of both tax and consultation and advisory as well as heavy client accounting services, dental is a practice area where they’re really strong,” he said.

Ceterus is planning to extend the technology to other types of accounting niches beyond the dental industry. “Our approach with CPA firms is if they have a strong vertical approach within a niche, and if they already have consistency and standardization in how they do the work — or maybe even more importantly, they want to have consistency and standardization, but they haven’t put the effort into doing that across their customer base — that is what we are looking for,” said Morehouse. “Industry specifically, we’re looking to firms that have a concentration where we can really help them leverage that, develop the automation to leverage their team, and implement the standardization that they either already have, or we can help them get it.”

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