[IMGCAP(1)] More than four years ago, I formed a group of diverse bookkeepers, CPAs, and accountants into a Chicago-area QuickBooks ProAdvisors group. That, of course, is the official name. We are more apt to call ourselves the Tax Season Survival Support System—a group of professionals (and friends) that joined together to form a unique support system around QuickBooks. We meet once a month over coffee and discuss QuickBooks, CPE, and other relevant topics.


Having an established system of support has been a life saver for all of us.

The idea first came about out of a need to augment existing support. Intuit support is fine, but there is nothing like the support of your colleagues…others who are in the application everyday like you are. The group offered a  “space” to learn, exchange knowledge, share QuickBooks stories (good and bad), and even refer business. Today, we have more than 40 paid members, and have launched our own formal conversation board.


Our local group, of course, is just one example of learning networks available to the accounting profession. The Internet has made it easier than ever to connect with peers. Just consider all that’s out there: Intuits online community, Thomson’s ARNE, Twitter and LinkedIn groups, and now one of the newest, Jason Blumer’s THRIVEal +CPA Network. Everyone is talking! Just as it should be.

The accounting world  is changing so fast, and will continue to do so. It’s hard to keep up with information turnover, not to mention practical application. The best thing that we can do is look out for each other, offer support, and be gracious with information sharing. And with the internet, knowledge exchange is easier than ever and the opportunities to create or join forums are virtually limitless. We are all on the same journey—trying to grow our firms through applying the right technologies and practices and attracting the right clients—so why not help one another along the path? This is a journey that requires life-long learning, so why not teach each other?


We all need a little help from our friends once in a while.

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. Reach her at jody@matousekconsulting.com.