Liz Branch of Accountingfly: Empowering Change in the Accounting Profession

Episode Transcription

Glenn Harper [00:00:00]:

Hello, everyone. Welcome to another edition of the Empowering Entrepreneurs podcast. I’m Glenn Harper.

Julie Smith [00:00:05]:

Julie Smith.

Glenn Harper [00:00:05]:

What was so funny about that?

Julie Smith [00:00:07]:

Your words got a little twisted there.

Glenn Harper [00:00:08]:

12 cups of coffee today. I’m a little bit, shaky here.

Julie Smith [00:00:11]:

Oh, I thought we’d set for a diet Coke on the way back to the office.

Glenn Harper [00:00:14]:

I can’t deny that. That would be most pleasurable. How are things with your world?

Julie Smith [00:00:18]:

Too hey. You know, I I was just saying I wanted to stay in bed today. It’s gray and rainy.

Glenn Harper [00:00:24]:

We don’t get many days like that in Ohio. Kidding. We get them all the time. Too well, we’ve got a, a wonderful guest lined up for today, and this is gonna be a little bit different than normal. This is more of, too As an entrepreneur, what would you like to get in your world to help you be a better entrepreneur? So we’ve got I’d like to introduce our guest, Liz Branch, twitchy. A fellow psycho in the accounting space. She is the COO of Accountingfly, which is like a dating app for accountants and the companies that need them. Too She’s also COO of A Going Concern, a company that is the TMZ of the accounting world, all the hot topics that are coming up.

Liz Branch [00:01:01]:

Too Liz is an innovator,

Glenn Harper [00:01:02]:

and her passion and commitment in to change the accounting profession is contagious. As soon as the AICP and the rest twist. The accounting world received her message. Accountants all over the world will have a new way to find their new career home. Thanks, Liz, for being on our show.

Liz Branch [00:01:14]:

Too No problem. Thanks for that intro.

Glenn Harper [00:01:15]:

You bet. It takes a lot to figure one of those out.

Liz Branch [00:01:18]:

But I love I know.

Julie Smith [00:01:19]:

So Liz and I have had you know, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with to her, you know, multiple times over this past year, and I’ve just become a huge fan of hers. And I think, you know, our minds are too alike in the regards to how we think and what we wanna do. And, you know, we both are working moms and, you know, having to have a you know, have these careers. And so too we just really jibed and I had this idea that I wanted to have her on the podcast because I think the brains behind some of the operations of those entrepreneurs, this position is just so important, and I also think she has entrepreneur tendencies. She just maybe hasn’t, you know, made that leap. Too and it might be because she has 3 boys and, you know, she’s doing all those fun things. But, so I just wanted to invite her on to to have this conversation.

Glenn Harper [00:02:07]:

Too It’s all only a matter of time before people make the leap. We just don’t know when or how. And sometimes it’s okay if you don’t too. It’s you gotta you it’s your own journey. You gotta figure it out. Well, you Julie has bit. We obviously talked with you before and spoken very highly of you. And, again, everything that you’d do for us, we’re very pleased with, and we’re happy that what you do.

Glenn Harper [00:02:25]:

And so, like, I thought this too This was a good fit. And you always like to try to start off the show and try to get to know our guests a little bit and try to find some obscure facts twisted. Things about them. And, I’ve done extensive research on this and, on you. And, you know, too All the, on the Facebook and everything and the Instagram, all the, college picks that were quite, interesting, they have been, you know, too Dealt with the privacy. I couldn’t view them. So I didn’t know if you could comment on how you hid all those things from the general public.

Liz Branch [00:02:59]:


Liz Branch [00:03:00]:

Well, being a mom of kids, try to be, you know, a little bit private in that in that area, and, but I do have LinkedIn. That’s public. Too that’s where we kind of put all the the good, glorious stuff that we do, from a professional standpoint. Sometimes I put some some, too Private stuff on there, so that’s pretty that’s kind of how I I try to balance it. My background’s marketing, so I think from doing social media for too 20 years, it kinda you get to the point where you don’t do much of it personally either.

Julie Smith [00:03:33]:

Well, he’s just upset because he spent hours tough. Trying to look you up, you know, Elizabeth, like, any anything that could’ve you could be hiding from him in that down.

Liz Branch [00:03:41]:

And then I

Julie Smith [00:03:42]:

said, well, maybe it’s a maiden name. He he’s like, I too I can’t find anything.

Glenn Harper [00:03:45]:

Either. Something scandalous or looking for something to really to break the ice, really. But, no, that’s that’s good. And and so, ultimately, I was too Forced to just deal with what you had on LinkedIn. And and, apparently, you know, right now, it looks like you live, in Florida in on the Redneck Riviera. Is that a true

Liz Branch [00:04:05]:

bit statement. Is that where you at?

Liz Branch [00:04:05]:

It’s the greatest place on the planet. Right? I I do

Julie Smith [00:04:06]:

live on the

Liz Branch [00:04:07]:

Gulf Coast right on the beach, in the 30 a area, so it’s a beautiful part of the The state and sugar white sands and blue water, can’t ask for anything better. Right?

Glenn Harper [00:04:18]:

Yep. Do you ever spend any times at Shades Bar and Grill?

Liz Branch [00:04:22]:

Too I have.

Glenn Harper [00:04:22]:

There you go.

Liz Branch [00:04:23]:

It’s right around the corner.

Glenn Harper [00:04:24]:

That’s what I thought. It seemed like, it seemed like my kind of place. And are you originally from too Florida, and you just stayed there, or were you from originally?

Liz Branch [00:04:33]:

I’m originally from Pensacola, Florida, so the western part of the Panhandle and lived in Tampa, and we’ve lived here. So kind of stay on the Gulf Coast. That’s where we’re happy. My husband and I like to be around the ocean, so too That’s where we’ve kind of figured out where we’re gonna live, and he’s done his training. So we’ve been all over.

Glenn Harper [00:04:56]:

Too How about that? And it looks like you, eventually ended up at the University of West Florida in Pecola, BA in organization communications. Too What what is

Liz Branch [00:05:04]:


Liz Branch [00:05:06]:

I I always say it’s it’s the degree that makes you a consultant to to business is in communications and and, finding the holes and the fixes and the solutions for businesses. So too It was a perfect degree. I think my 1st degree my first choice was how many times do we switch, your degree. I think my first one was I IT, too And my IT, professor goes, Liz, you’re you’re good at this, but I think you’re just too extroverted. I think you need to go talk to the communications department, and so that’s where I kinda found my my home and what I continue do to this day. You know? Too That’s kinda what my job is. Yeah.

Glenn Harper [00:05:47]:

I get that. I I can’t that was probably you owe a lot to that professor, just getting you out of something where you really found who you really were. Too did you always when you grew up, did you, when you grew up, do you have siblings and you grew up and both parents, were they, too Entrepreneurs, would they work for them work for a living at real jobs, or what do they do?

Liz Branch [00:06:07]:

Yep. My dad was an entrepreneur. He, had a financial, too business. He helped with stocks and bonds, for government entities and cities and states. So grew up too Grew up with a checkbook at 6 years old and learned how to deposit checks, and, we had a Sunday board be family board meeting that we would check our too Check registry. So it was learned at a very, early age the importance of that piece, and my mom was a dental hygienist, too Retired now. Both of them are retired now, and then I have an older brother. He works in the mental health care, area, so very, too Loves all people.

Liz Branch [00:06:47]:

Again, we’re we’re fixers, so that’s kind of our family.

Glenn Harper [00:06:51]:

Well, I gotta tell you, I got a tear in my eye that doing accounting at age 6. Twisted. That is just fantastic. So now I know why you’re in this space. Like, how could you not be in this space? Yes. Bit. So it’s it’s funny how you people end up where they end up. And on your journey to be where you were literally, too I from what I gather, talk with Julie and seeing what you do, it’s like you basically run these companies.

Glenn Harper [00:07:14]:

I mean, you’re the one that kinda makes too Makes the sauce. Makes things happen. How did you decide that you wanted to be at that level as a company where you kind of are too It seems like you kinda can make decisions. Just do what you want. You get quick answers. You don’t have to go to a board and deal with that at big corporate America. You’re kinda, like, at the best of both worlds. You’re in a

Liz Branch [00:07:38]:

too A smaller company where you have

Glenn Harper [00:07:38]:

a say, maybe you don’t have your maybe you’re not financially liable for things, but you are too principally liable for everything, and that’s a pretty Mhmm. A cool place to be in. How did you end up with that?

Liz Branch [00:07:50]:

Well, too It was a journey. That’s for sure. So my husband’s an orthopedic surgeon, and so there’s a lot of training that goes along with that with medical school and residency. So too When when we left Pensacola for him to start his residency in orthopedics, we had to move to Tampa, which means I left my job,

Liz Branch [00:08:12]:

too 7 years in the hospital

Liz Branch [00:08:12]:

system in Pensacola that I loved and moved to Tampa and was trying to find my way. What am I gonna do? Too And a couple of my friends, 2 of them from 3 of them from college and then 1 of them from post college too Started Accountingfly, and they were like, hey, Liz. What are you doing in Tampa? You know, do you wanna kinda work remotely? And I’m like, hey, guys. That would be great. You know? Let’s

Liz Branch [00:08:38]:

too see where this goes. You know? There was kind of new,

Liz Branch [00:08:39]:

newer, kind of figuring out their own legs of what accounting plan was gonna be when they grew up. And so I started, and I’ve kind of done sales. I’ve done marketing the marketing director. I’ve done the content, and then, just too Been promoted to the c o COO of both sides of our, company, and it’s kind of a right brain, left too for me because going concern, you got more of the creativity there working with our managing editor, Adrianne,

Liz Branch [00:09:11]:

too On the accounting wise side, a

Liz Branch [00:09:11]:

little more technical, talking to c e CPAs, and partners and CAOs all day long. So too It’s it’s kind of the best of both worlds, how I ended up here. Never in my life would I think that I would end up in the accounting area, but here I am, and I love it and love our clients. And, of too course. You guys are one of our clients, so it’s fun. I like to talk to people and, again, figure out, hey. What’s not working?

Liz Branch [00:09:37]:

Too What’s not working in your company, and let’s see if we have

Liz Branch [00:09:38]:

a solution for it.

Glenn Harper [00:09:38]:

I gotta tell you the there I can think of nothing better to do all day than talk to accountants. Choppy. And, not only companies that need accounts that have no idea what they really need and accounts that are great at communicating that I have no idea what they wanna actually do for a living tricky. And who they wanna work for. Sounds awesome. I I don’t know how you do that every day. That that’s impressive.

Julie Smith [00:09:57]:

But I think that’s where her communication marketing degree comes in as tough. She has figured out, you know her and I have had like, you have to figure out how to communicate to each person for them to understand what they need or what they want because they don’t necessarily know, but they always want it to be their idea, ironically. And so I think she’s mastered that to skill of being able to pull out of people and get people to think in a different way when she talks to them.

Glenn Harper [00:10:26]:

Would I and I I’m gonna guess that the old days, too You’re just, like, matching up an account with a firm because they just need a task, but now it’s way different than that today, probably. It’s more about lifestyle expectations, what they’re looking too for trying to be more niche specific. And, you know, again, the whole working from home thing and remotely, I bet that all is a big factor now where that probably didn’t exist 5 years ago.

Liz Branch [00:10:49]:

Well, since I’ve been with Accountingfly, we have always hired remote, and that’s always been our focus pre pandemic. We were, I’ve heard our Our cofounder, Jeff, tell the stories of when they first hired and started talking about remote workplace in the accounting area, people thought he was crazy. Too Like, this can’t work. They have to be in the office. And he’s like, this is where it’s going. You know, I’m telling you. And as the cloud accounting firm started to form and develop and and get, too you know, clients and stuff like that, they kinda gravitated towards Jeff and kind of his talk, too You know, thought and vision of, like, what the accounting fly, company could do and help these types of firms find better talent in the United States instead of finding it just in your hometown. And so that’s kind of where it blossomed and and formed was too was Jeff’s passion for remote work, and, here we are.

Liz Branch [00:11:44]:

I mean, yes, it’s people still want that location, and there’s definitely a place for that, too but it’s the options are all there now.

Julie Smith [00:11:53]:

So you it sounds like these were college friends, buddies that, you know, tough. Started the company, but it sounds like you’ve been there since the beginning. You’ve really Not

Liz Branch [00:12:04]:

the begin pretty close. Our head of fulfillment, Beth, she was there about a year and a half before me, and so that’s why we, work so well together in a too Crazy story for everyone that has met Beth and I. We have only met in person one time.

Glenn Harper [00:12:21]:

It’s crazy.

Liz Branch [00:12:22]:

Too and I I love Beth too. Brain. We share a brain. Yeah. We share a brain. So, it’s just pretty crazy. But, yes, my, The the founders of Accounting Fly were either college buddies or right after a college of mine, and that’s how they kind of

Liz Branch [00:12:41]:

too Roped me into this crazy,

Liz Branch [00:12:41]:

family that we have at Accounting Fly, and it’s it’s been a whirlwind and and awesome.

Julie Smith [00:12:46]:

Too but I think much like entrepreneurs I mean, I know you don’t wanna call yourself 1, but you’ve had to fulfill almost every role too that has come across because for whatever reason, that was the need. And instead of thinking of yourself, you thought of tough. The company. And what does the company need? And you were able to kind of pivot, change, and fulfill whatever role that was. And I I mean, I think that’s a tendency of an entrepreneur, but I I don’t know.

Liz Branch [00:13:15]:

Well yeah. And all of our founders, they have true. Their own professions, their own jobs. Like, they do not work day to day, and accounting fly. And so, really, our executive team is too Our CEO, Jim Prince, which is amazing, Beth and I, and then our managing editor, Adrian, for Going Concern. That’s really our leadership team. So we do. We we are running the company for the founders, and we do also have a small board too that helps us make those advisory, more strategic decisions.

Liz Branch [00:13:45]:

So we kind of have some great cookie jars to fill, and and kind of take from where we need it.

Glenn Harper [00:13:51]:

Too Well, I think, you know, for our listeners that are listening to this again, I don’t know who listens to this podcast, but I’m sure it’s a very diverse, clientele. Too But I think the the main thing is that as an entrepreneur, you would be what we would call, like, too Julie, you would be the person that the entrepreneur has this idea, and they know what they wanna do. And they just know this idea, but they don’t know how to put it all together. And too When somebody can come in and be the facilitator of that, that accelerates the success of that entrepreneur too beyond comprehension because the entrepreneur would normally would try to do all this stuff by themselves, and it’s just it takes forever to learn it all. Too So to find someone like yourself is really, really a key for you entrepreneurs out there that when you can find someone that has too The passion and and works for the team and wants to be part of, man, that is just, like, the secret sauce. Just Yeah. This is like a drop in a bomb or whatever. Like, people like, too If you can find that person that can help you implement and do those things operationally wise, that’s it.

Glenn Harper [00:14:54]:

That’s what you need.

Liz Branch [00:14:55]:

Yeah. It’s definitely having the visionary and integrator working hand in hand together. And sometimes they swap places, and that’s okay. You don’t always have to twist. Stay in one lane. It’s okay to, merge lanes as long as y’all are all merging together.

Liz Branch [00:15:11]:

But I

Julie Smith [00:15:11]:

also on each other. I also think from talking to you, and that was funny because I twist. Thinking about that as he was talking, and then you kinda took the visionary and integrator out of my right out of my mouth. I think you are able to be both. And I think that’s what’s really sets you apart and allowed you to become this, you know, this force to be reckoned with in this industry, tough. To be able to be able to have both of those roles and pivot on those.

Liz Branch [00:15:38]:

Mhmm. Yeah.

Glenn Harper [00:15:41]:

Too Well, it’s it’s funny. Sometimes, the integrator, the ability too To not just do the integration, but be part of the visionary is a is like the, like, the spicy sauce on too top that keeps you interested, keeps you engaged because the operation stuff kinda just it is what it is. Right? Once you get it set up and rolling, you’re just maintaining it. Too But when you can grab a new nugget and be part of that and then drop that nugget in and then repurpose around it, I mean, that’s that’s what keeps you coming back, I would imagine.

Liz Branch [00:16:11]:

Oh, yeah. Tripped. Oh, yeah. And I have to, you know, make sure whenever we have a new idea, I go into the strict ops mode, and I’m like, let’s see if this I can execute

Liz Branch [00:16:24]:

too Quickly, if we can figure out

Liz Branch [00:16:24]:

a quick execution plan or process within 15 minutes. If we can’t figure it out in 15 minutes, at least high level execution of twist. Of something. We need to back burner, do some more research, figure out if this is really a product or a service that we need to offer, too and then and then work it a little bit more. I mean, you have to be able to have might have a great idea, but it might not be executable dripped. In your company and or you might have not the right people, and that’s a lot of other things that I’ve learned from working hospital system, too Working in accounting flight and and other jobs that I’ve had is is sometimes it’s not about the position, but it’s about the people you too currently have and shifting them around to make sure their strengths are being utilized. Ask them, you know, do you wanna move up? Too Some people might not wanna be a leader anymore. If they’re getting older, they might wanna take a step down or step over, and that’s okay.

Liz Branch [00:17:19]:

And it’s too Making sure your current team is where they are working best and the most successful and taking care of your own clients before you hire more people on Because then you filled all the gaps with your current strengths, and then you have the gaps that you have left. That’s where you find those those right candidates or right new team members to

Glenn Harper [00:17:42]:

too put in those, positions. This is all crazy talk. I mean, who asks questions of employees to see what they want and to do and try to match it up? That

Liz Branch [00:17:49]:

too surprised.

Glenn Harper [00:17:50]:

That doesn’t. That just can’t be possible. Now, again, a little bit of self depreciating humor. Probably the worst twisted. To deal with that would be actual accounting companies and dealing with engineering companies because we are very slow to make changes, too I mean, real slow. But when we do and we go as we we roll with it, but I think the group that you’re with right now, I think they probably are pretty fast too Movers. Right? I think because they think of it in a different way. They’re because they’re not accountants.

Glenn Harper [00:18:19]:

They’re in that space, but they just know how to make that work, which I think is the key.

Liz Branch [00:18:23]:


Liz Branch [00:18:23]:

Correct. Too Mhmm.

Glenn Harper [00:18:25]:

Do you you know, to have this problem solving skill that you have where you are this operations, you know, savant here, too How did you do that? Did you play sports growing up? Did we get a voracious reader? Were you, you know, locked in a room with the Rubik’s cube? Like, too How did you learn how to solve these problems and and see it from a different perspective? And

Julie Smith [00:18:45]:

She balanced her checkbook every Sunday.

Glenn Harper [00:18:47]:

Too Well, that’s that’s accounting. That’s that’s something totally different. That’s a different skill set.

Liz Branch [00:18:53]:

I think it was being, we had a routine.

Liz Branch [00:19:00]:

Too We had, you know, normal things that we

Liz Branch [00:19:00]:

had to do growing up, having an older brother also because you wanna kinda keep up with them. True. I think it was just a personality thing. I never stopped, which I now see because my middle child is pretty much the carbon copy of myself, and I’m like, can you just stop? Tough. Just stop for a minute. You know? My brother tells me the story. He’s like, you were 5 years old, Liz. I walked out in the garage, and you were taking your training wheels off tripped.

Liz Branch [00:19:25]:

Your own bike, and then you just took off and ride and rode it. And I’m like, what? He I’m like, you didn’t stop me. He goes, I just wanted to see if you would actually be able to too Complete your goal. You know? It’s just I think it’s just something in me. Something needs to be done. Let’s let’s figure it out either together or let’s just too Figured out my own head.

Glenn Harper [00:19:46]:

Again, this is a you know, I’d I’ve, dabbled in psychology. I’m totally kidding about that. But, you know, the the ability to too Approach a problem with no fear and to just look at it like that’s just an obstacle in my way, and there has to be no fear. I’m just gonna get through that thing. That that is too Again, some people maybe learn it. Some people are born with it, but it sounds like you’re probably born with that.

Liz Branch [00:20:09]:

Yeah. I mean,

Glenn Harper [00:20:13]:

too What’s the worst that can happen? Right? I love it. I love it.

Julie Smith [00:20:15]:

So what do

Liz Branch [00:20:16]:

you think as you have a good safety net with you, with your family and your friends, you got that too safety net.

Julie Smith [00:20:21]:

So what do you think as you’ve been through this kind of, you know, start up of a business and now, you know, I consider you guys pretty too you’re a pretty

Liz Branch [00:20:31]:

solid business.

Julie Smith [00:20:31]:

Mhmm. What do you think you’ve learned from the founders in regards to, you know, if you could give advice to our listeners, what advice would you give to them that the founders were completely blind on and you brought just this different too perception on what was going on.

Liz Branch [00:20:52]:

Well, I’d actually flip that around, Julie, and say I don’t think they were blind on, and I think their too Spot on the money is they trust us, which a lot of people don’t trust their team. Owners are founders, and that’s where they’re slow to hire true. Because they wanna keep it themselves, and they don’t wanna delegate, and they don’t want to let go things. The other thing that they were they always harp on is they want to hire people that know more than them in this space. Hire above your own knowledge and your own abilities trick. So you can learn and grow your team, offer more to your clients, offer more to your community, and that’s kind of what they’ve done. So I’ve actually learned from what they have instilled and how they’ve hired for our company rather than learning for what not to do, if that makes sense.

Glenn Harper [00:21:42]:

Too My. It, are you sure you don’t have another side gig going somewhere? I think I I feel like it’s only inevitable you’re gonna be too Hustling something on eBay.

Liz Branch [00:21:52]:

I don’t know. You never know. Julie Julie’s

Liz Branch [00:21:54]:

got ideas. You know? You think?

Glenn Harper [00:21:56]:

Which of the 300 were you gonna go with?

Liz Branch [00:21:59]:

Yeah. Too Did

Glenn Harper [00:22:00]:

you you know, as you were going through this and trying to figure this out, did you have just somebody, like a mentor or somebody that was just saying, too Besides, your college professor said maybe you should look in this direction, but did you have somebody that just said, hey. They took you under the wing and said, this is how you do this,

Liz Branch [00:22:18]:

bit Or is it something you had to figure it out on your own?

Liz Branch [00:22:20]:

Well, I’ve had many mentors in all for different areas of life, different reasons, twist. Different things that I was trying to tackle. You just have to have a wide network of scope and and be able to know who you need to go to. I don’t have 1 mentor. I don’t have too 2 mentors I have. You know? I would say 40 mentors that I can go to for whatever reason or topic that I need to too talk about or whatever, but, and then a lot of it’s just, like you said, I let’s just figure it out.

Liz Branch [00:22:54]:

Too Let’s just move forward. Like, sometimes you gotta get

Liz Branch [00:22:54]:

out of your own way, and let those be

Julie Smith [00:22:57]:

found in your out of my book. Yeah.

Liz Branch [00:22:59]:

Yeah. Like, Sometimes you just gotta let that fear push to the side and just say, let’s let’s see if this works. And if it doesn’t, then you move on to the next thing, and it’s okay.

Glenn Harper [00:23:10]:

Too You know what? It’s funny. Again, there’s a lot there’s a lot of nuggets in this this particular, session here, so thank you for those. But I think one of the big ones is

Liz Branch [00:23:20]:

too The fact that there are so many

Glenn Harper [00:23:20]:

people out there that want to support the the the community of entrepreneurs. Too And Mhmm. And entrepreneurs are just scared to ask for whatever the reason is, whatever that fear, like you said, the trust, empowering, all those things. But, too Like, most people have 1 or 2 mentors. You got 40. Like, you’re not scared to ask anybody anything, and they’re all willing to help. Too So Yep. What’s the worst that somebody could say if you ask them? Either they’re gonna say no or they’re gonna say yes.

Glenn Harper [00:23:50]:

It’s highly unlikely they’re gonna try to screw you over. Too They’re either gonna say yes or no. And if people say yes, mostly entrepreneurs, they’re they probably wanna help, which is crazy. Right. And just I don’t think people realize that.

Liz Branch [00:24:01]:

Too Well and people want to help, especially if someone’s genuinely coming to you going, what are your thoughts on this? I mean, we’ve done it with our own clients when we’re, too You know, looking at our services and just saying, hey. Is this working? You know, what do you guys think? Is there tweaks that we need to make? Too and that’s how we developed you know, one of our services is actually pulling in existing clients and and using them as as mentors for our company confusing. Okay. You’d use this. Is it working? Is it not working? And listening to the people that are using your product, whatever it is. You know? If it’s a day care, too Hey, parents. Is this working? Is this time you know, I mean, if there’s all kinds of things, it’s not just accounting that this issue is in, it’s too It’s whatever business and entrepreneur that you’re on, make sure you’re you know the needs of your clients. And too Because if you don’t know the needs, how can you make sure your service is actually providing that service?

Glenn Harper [00:24:56]:

I’m sure that the accounting companies you deal with are too Very open and transparent and give you tons of feedback all the time. I am certain of that.

Julie Smith [00:25:06]:

I can’t help, but

Glenn Harper [00:25:07]:

I gotta

Liz Branch [00:25:08]:

sublapping. More than others. Some more than others. But it’s good, though. It makes you build a better product

Liz Branch [00:25:17]:

too that people like to use because

Liz Branch [00:25:17]:

they either, a, feel like it they they contributed. I’ve been on many calls with people that twist. Explain our services and how they work, and they’re like, wow, that’s way different than, you know, how we’ve worked with recruiters in the past. Too and, you know, that’s the goal. Like, if it’s not working, why would we replicate that service? Too

Glenn Harper [00:25:40]:

I I and, again, I think that’s the the neat thing about again, when Julie and I talk about what you guys do for us and everything, it’s just like, wow. That’s a

Liz Branch [00:25:51]:

too A whole different way to do this.

Glenn Harper [00:25:51]:

And, again, if I don’t give feedback or we don’t give feedback, how do you know how to enhance that experience? Too And it’s really weird. Most entrepreneurs are probably, again, scared to ask for that feedback from clients because they’re too They’re like, oh my god. What are they really gonna tell me? Because they think all the bad stuff instead of like, hey. This this is a partnership instead of just a a fee for service type of thing. Right?

Liz Branch [00:26:14]:

Twisted. Mhmm.

Julie Smith [00:26:15]:

So something I wanna pick your brain on, and I’m guessing this, you know, started in college and it was in the healthcare and, you know, it’s just transitioned into where you are today is, how did you learn how to build a team? And at what point in your career, too I’m guessing early on, did you know that building a team was imperative to the success not only of yourself, but of the company too?

Liz Branch [00:26:40]:

Yeah. I would say young age because, like, I always enjoy the group projects in school rather than individual projects. Too I just liked other people’s opinions because I felt like we could make a better project or product or whatever, too Because you had different angles coming at the same problem or the same task, And you can figure it out kind of together, which was always fun. I’m super extroverted, so I like people around me, all the time. But

Liz Branch [00:27:16]:

too I think it

Liz Branch [00:27:16]:

just kinda came naturally of, I don’t wanna do this myself. I can figure out bits and pieces of it and then bring it to the team, and let’s work through it. And then you also have to realize you have those ideas, then you have to break apart and do your piece and make sure you get it done because you don’t wanna let the rest twist your team down. So, I think I built my 1st team when I worked for, Baptist HealthCare in Pensacola, as one of the service line marketing directors. So I worked with not only our marketing team, handling the service line

Liz Branch [00:27:51]:

too Leaders that we had that,

Liz Branch [00:27:51]:

you know, handle the different, services within the organization and also working with the senior team too And working with the media. I mean, I had PR, and I was the one of the, chief, information officers. And so that was a lot of truth. Of ways that you had you were forced to have a a good team or you couldn’t get your work done, especially in a hospital setting with patient tough. The patient care being on the line. So

Julie Smith [00:28:16]:

And what would your advice be to entrepreneurs who, you know you’ve upset. They’re they’re terrified to hire. They’re terrified to trust. They’re terrified to empower. And, obviously, you’ve learned that from the founders of like, too that’s what you’ve enjoyed the most. What advice would you maybe give an entrepreneur who maybe doesn’t have you in their life too but is looking to hire and, you know, what that brings to the table.

Liz Branch [00:28:42]:

You need to look inside your business to see if you have that person, too Or you need to look outside of accounting. Sometimes it’s okay to hire outside of the accounting industry. I didn’t come from the accounting industry. I came from the health too straight. And, Julie, you came from the health care industry too. Yes. You bring a new breadth of life into this type of role, too Maybe not being in the accounting industry because you have other experiences and you’ve you’ve experienced other industries and how they do things, and can can set your accounting firm or whatever company apart because you brought in that different mindset tripped. And ask ask questions.

Liz Branch [00:29:25]:

It doesn’t mean you’re failing if you’re asking questions. If I’ve had you know, I’ve reached out to people too On LinkedIn. I just said, hey. I’ve been following you. Just had a a random question about how you do something. Too And sometimes they answer you, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re like, hey. Let’s jump on a call.

Liz Branch [00:29:43]:

I had one with a a big firm that we’ve worked with in the past, and They brought everything in house, and I just you know, we struck up a conversation, had a Zoom call, and it was great. You know? And even if nothing too Comes out of it from a business perspective. You always gain more knowledge and more point of views of how maybe you should Handle your clients or talking to people or anything. You just have to make sure you’re gaining that positive nugget from it and too Putting it aside

Liz Branch [00:30:14]:

from when you need to use it again.

Glenn Harper [00:30:15]:

I think your your probably, unique skill set is, too My guesstimation is that when you’re talking to a client or a prospective client, what they think they need from an good. Employee is probably not what they really need. And by you digging that deep with them, you try to figure that out and kinda say, hey. You know, you think you need an accountant, but you probably chilly. Need an operations person. Or you think you need this, but you need more of a research type person. I think that is probably very welcomed, but probably very, too humbling for the firm that’s asking you to hire for them because they think they need this, and you’re like, no. You really need that.

Glenn Harper [00:30:51]:

How do you how do you feel about that? Does that happen all the time? Too

Liz Branch [00:30:54]:

Well, that’s a, again, a a group project on that one because, you know, I’m usually the 1st the 1st person that people talk to for accounting. True. And so, you know, we have those high level discussions of, you know, tell me about your firm, what you do, and then it’s kind of like, too What’s your goal for this position? What do you need? The one thing that I really like to talk about are, what are your nonnegotables for this position? Too Like, what are your 3, I mean, 3 things? Like, I need them to do this. And then the other things I put on a wish list, and you can prioritize those, which many of them do. And so that conversation and that exercise that we ask of our clients really helps them kind of put it into their own perspective, kinda too what Julie was talking about. Like, sometimes you have to let them have this be their idea and maybe, okay. Well, I actually need someone to review and not prep, so too So I probably don’t need a staff tax. I probably need a senior or a manager if that’s what I really need.

Liz Branch [00:31:51]:

And they kind of figure this out as they’re talking, too Which which helps me too because I’m I’m still learning. You know, every firm’s different. Every firm does something differently, too And they hire differently, and they have different ways of titling jobs and different responsibilities. The other piece of this, when I say it’s a group project, is Beth, my Beth, my counterpart, she runs the recruiting team, and she gets all of our new clients next. Too That’s kind of like an onboarding call, and that’s another another touch point to where she gets down into the very the very nuts and bolts and details of What this person is looking for in this role. And sometimes the decision or the switch happens at that point, because they thought about it. They’ve done the exercise I’ve asked them to do, and then Beth has that way with people, Julie knows, truth. Of, you know, guiding them into where really what’s gonna help their firm.

Liz Branch [00:32:49]:

And sometimes, we just don’t know because we’re not inserted into the exact too firm. We only know one side of it for who we’re talking to. And sometimes that’s learned when you get somebody in there and they go, actually, we moved them to a different position after interviewing them. Too

Glenn Harper [00:33:05]:

So I think the we’ve talked about, you know, the company that you accounting plan and how you go talk to your clients too On one side, which is who’s doing the hiring, how do you go out and find your your stable your your, your bench of all these candidates? Twitchy. How do you get those candidates to trust you that you’re gonna get them what they want? How do you you know, there’s so many too different sites to put on your

Liz Branch [00:33:33]:

resume and do

Glenn Harper [00:33:33]:

all those things. There’s lots of dating apps. How do you get them on your dating app where they feel like this is the one

Liz Branch [00:33:41]:

too Where their needs are gonna be met.

Glenn Harper [00:33:41]:

How do you show them that their goals are gonna be made matched there?

Liz Branch [00:33:49]:

Too And that one’s a tough one, you know, because we only have so many clients and so many jobs. You know, we are very much

Liz Branch [00:33:57]:

too Our passion is remote work.

Liz Branch [00:33:57]:

So a lot of clients and candidates come to us because that is our passion is remote. Too Candidates. This is a a candidate market right now. We all know that. It’s hard to hire. And the majority of them want that flexibility of remote, but they also want the culture And the flexibility and working for a good firm. So I think a lot of ours is word-of-mouth, From candidates we had, oh, so and so got hired by you guys, and they love their job. And and so word-of-mouth is always huge for us.

Liz Branch [00:34:27]:

I think it’s too Probably one of our largest, referral sources and word-of-mouth for clients and candidates, which is the gold. It’s the creme de la creme. Like, when you come from a too a perspective. I’m like, when that’s your highest, that is you can’t get any better than word-of-mouth being your highest referral, bucket. But We do the traditional marketing. We do the traditional, sourcing, and all that content piece. Too So it’s kind of a little bit of everything, but I think once they talk to our team and they have that initial screening interview, they really see and understand that tripped. We care about them, and we might not have a position for you right now that’s open, but we keep you in the loop and we keep you in our network.

Liz Branch [00:35:12]:

Too And our team’s really good about keeping up with certain candidates that have, you know, CPAs or knowing that’s something that we are gonna be able to tricky. Place and find them a really good home. I mean, I think it’s like a couple times a week, Beth goes, oh my gosh. I just talked to a candidate, and I love them. We have to find them a job. Too You know, she takes it very personally, and it’s kind of she’s she’s a our mama bear. You know, she takes it in, and she’s like, we’ve got to find these people wonderful places too to work. So and it’s my job to go find those places and get those clients so we can service them by putting these great candidates that we have too into their teams.

Liz Branch [00:35:50]:

So it’s

Glenn Harper [00:35:50]:

like in a dating app, you put people together, and then you go to the wedding. So when you hook people up for this, what what is the big, Apex event that’s too It’s like, hey. We all we joined you guys now, and we’re here. Do you have, like, a big reception, or is it just a high five and good luck, and we’re here to help? I’m just curious.

Liz Branch [00:36:06]:

Too Yeah. It’s a Slack high five.

Glenn Harper [00:36:08]:

Nice. And

Liz Branch [00:36:09]:

but, the best part is when we have a client come back and they go, truth. You know, Jim’s still with us, and we love him. And we hired him with you guys 3 years ago, you know, and we want another one just like him. Like, that’s twist. That’s what we all and always want is so and so is still with us. You hired him. He’s our best employee, too and we just need to keep hiring. So when we have those long term clients that just keep coming back to us, that’s when we know we’re doing something right.

Liz Branch [00:36:39]:


Glenn Harper [00:36:39]:

So I think one of the big fears or realities or however that looks like as a business Owner that is going to hire a remote worker, how does one prevent that remote worker from not too From being, like, coemployed, like, they’ll work 2 jobs and milk it, and also to put their to give you the effort that one would expect too If you’re sitting there watching them versus their remote, how do you how do you navigate that to share to the owner? Like, hey. This person’s solid. They’re too They’re gonna give you more than you’ve even asked for because they’re not driving in. They’re not dealing with stupid meetings. They’re not coemployment. How do you make sure that that is too I mean, you can’t have a total safeguard, but how do you communicate that where that owner feels comfortable with that?

Liz Branch [00:37:28]:

It’s twist. Unfortunately, not a 100% for sure. I mean, we can’t control anybody. You know? We can only control what our processes are, but, too You know, it’s something that our recruiting team that Beth leads, she’s gotten very good at training her team to too Ask the right questions of the candidates and knowing their experience and knowing their it’s really technology at this point to make sure that they too Understand how to work within this technology as a remote employee because when they’re not, they’re not gonna be the best remote employee. They’re just it it’s just you can’t be a remote employee and not be tech too savvy. A lot of things that do help are are, like, workflow workflow softwares and stuff like too to where you can really see what the candidate’s doing. And when they have that experience with, like, a Carbon or a Affirm 360 or something along those lines, too you can see that they’re working. You can see that that things are getting done.

Liz Branch [00:38:24]:

Everything’s being successful. With the double, job thing, too I always recommend you getting them to sign a contract, especially if they’re full time, to sign a contract that they won’t moonlight, or if they will, truth. It has to be approved by the company. That’s a safeguard. It’s not a end all, you know, because tripped. People are people, you know, but at least that kind of gives you a safeguard as a company, so if you find out about it, you can have decisions to make too And you’ve got the documentation to to, handle it, but all in all, usually people are, I I try to too. Think that they’re good and they and they wanna do the right thing and they wanna be fair to not only us as the recruiters, but their new employer. So, you know, sometimes you have those too People that make a bad name for recruiters because they fall short, not the recruiters fall short.

Liz Branch [00:39:19]:


Julie Smith [00:39:20]:

but I also think, you know, to your point is if the owner is terrified of that, they may not too have the right processes and accountability in place in order to execute a remote worker. And I think that is really, really important. Too you know, in any industry that you’re looking at, if you’re looking to go remote and you’re looking, you know, to do that is what too you know, I don’t know that I can necessarily you can blame the future employee, but what have you done internally to create those checks and balances so you’re tough. Safeguarding yourself. And I think sometimes people are looking externally wanting to place the blame, and sometimes you gotta look internal and, like, too what are you going to do to make sure that doesn’t happen?

Liz Branch [00:40:07]:

Right. And that’s where we have partners with consultants that are in this too area that if someone comes to us and they go, I can’t find anybody locally, so I guess I’ll hire someone remote, that’s a flag for me to go. Let me introduce you to some people, that can help you formulate these remote policies tricky. And formulate your process and do all of these things so you’re ready when you hire remote, it’s successful. Drizzle. Because if you hire a remote employee, and they might be in a great employee, they’re gonna quit because the firm does not have their stuff together. And that happens More than, you know, we would like for it to happen because they need these they need this team. They need to be able to service their clients.

Liz Branch [00:40:52]:

They need turkeys, but they don’t have their house in order to be able to invite those remote employees into it yet.

Glenn Harper [00:41:00]:

Yeah. That would be like insert operations person here too to make that happen because the tip of entrepreneur is just like, yeah. Let’s bring somebody in remote, and let’s just roll with it. They they don’t have no they don’t have any idea. I think too An another piece that’s probably, unique when you’re doing the remote employees and and things of that nature is, too How do you know like, do you trust somebody right away and give them a chance to screw you over immediately too So you know, or do you spoon feed it where they’re gonna hit you harder later? And I think from some of the guests we have, too You trust them right away because you’re gonna know right away what the situation is, and I think that’s probably the best thing as an entrepreneur. You know, don’t be an idiot, but, you know, too Put it out there and give them the opportunity to do you wrong so you know. And if they don’t do you wrong, then they’re probably gonna be okay. Tripped.

Liz Branch [00:41:51]:

Yeah. I would say that. Yep. I mean, you have to set him up for success, though. You can’t just throw throw the laptop at him and say, here you go. I trust you for whatever you’re doing.

Liz Branch [00:42:02]:

Too You know, you have to be

Liz Branch [00:42:03]:

able to have onboarding and training and everything put into line, have a work buddy, you know, have something to where they feel like they’re cared for because too because they don’t have an office they can physically walk, or, you know, around the corner or across the hall to to ask a question. Too You have to open up those barriers and make sure they can Slack or message somebody, you know, if they have a question. It’s kind of like what I talked about with mentors. It’s like tripped. You have to be able to put whatever fear you have down and ask the questions, but also the entrepreneur needs to understand tripped. This person’s new. They might they might be a CPA and a tax person in another firm, but your processes and your team and everything is new to them, and they don’t live there, and that’s okay. It can all work out if you have your your house in order tripped.

Liz Branch [00:42:52]:

And you have the onboarding and the everyone’s on the same page that somebody’s starting. Everyone be alert. Everyone, you know, touch face with this person. Have it agenda. Have, like, this is when you’re gonna talk to everybody. So if you have questions, too You know who to go to, and you have that relationship already built.

Julie Smith [00:43:11]:

You know, what’s funny is we hired a remote employee recently, and I too created this whole agenda, like, literally minute by minute of what was going to happen. And before I sent it out, I called tricky. A mentor, and I said, I’m about to send this out. Am I gonna be crazy? Am I gonna be, like as soon as I send this out, like, hey, lunatic, alert alert alert. Too but, you know, at the end of the day, I think you’re providing when you do things like that, you’re setting them up for success because you are you are tough. Setting that expectation not only for your current team, but the person coming into your team. And that creates, like, tough. They’re not awkwardly waiting around, and those people aren’t awkwardly, like, well, who’s the new like, you’re I don’t wanna say forcing, but, like, tough.

Julie Smith [00:43:54]:

They’re completely

Liz Branch [00:43:54]:

providing structure.

Julie Smith [00:43:55]:

And you’re completely immersed immediately.

Liz Branch [00:43:58]:

Well Yep. I

Glenn Harper [00:43:59]:

think everything you just mentioned, Liz, too Like, as an entrepreneur type person, that stuff doesn’t come into my head. Like, I can’t even I’m like, all that? Oh my god. How do you even do that? Too So all you entrepreneurs listening out here, the investment in somebody to do this for you is crucial because too You’re just entrepreneurs are just not programmed that way. The operations is so different than the vision and what you’re trying to accomplish. So the shortcut here is too Invest in that person that that believes and can do these things because there’s no way that that’s on my radar as a list. Now I know that’s on Julie’s list, and that’s why we work well together, but too There’s just no way I’m gonna think of those things.

Liz Branch [00:44:42]:


Glenn Harper [00:44:42]:

of the cool questions I’d like to ask is, you know, who’s your, like,

Liz Branch [00:44:48]:

too Dream client. Like, if you’re like you’ve been trying to

Glenn Harper [00:44:48]:

get this this, you know

Julie Smith [00:44:50]:

You can’t say Glenn.

Glenn Harper [00:44:51]:

Yeah. I mean, you already got us.

Liz Branch [00:44:52]:

So tougher.

Glenn Harper [00:44:53]:

But but if you wouldn’t yeah. I know I would be. But, no, who who do out there that you’ve been just hitting on forever and you’re like, man, if I could just get them on my stable, I know I too I could help them so much. Do you have people like that, or is it just as they come along?

Liz Branch [00:45:07]:

I don’t have a wish list, if that makes sense, because Just because what you see on their website or whatever, it might be completely different about how the firm is. I usually too Get the temperature of Affirm from the 1st call that I have had with them to know if they’re gonna I think gonna be a successful, partnership with us too Or maybe not. Yeah, it’s that intuitive nature that you’re kind of like, okay. This person’s ready to hire a remote. They’re They’re asking the right questions. They’re even if they don’t know, they don’t have it, at least they’re asking the questions of, how do I too Integrate this person into our current team. And or, yes, I’ll I want that information from that consultant that you guys work with and that you are putting your stamp of approval on, and they and they go forward with that, and then they come back around and go, I did that with them. I have all this stuff in place.

Liz Branch [00:46:01]:

Thank you so much. Let’s get going on on the, you know, recruiting piece. That’s my golden client, the one that opens up and says, these are my problems. This is what’s going on. I’m open and want to hear your advice, and I will do it

Liz Branch [00:46:20]:

too To make sure I’m successful.

Glenn Harper [00:46:20]:

When you called called us, did did you immediately go, Julie, nerd alert, or did you go, oh my gosh. This is a perfect scenario? Too

Liz Branch [00:46:29]:

I was like, am I talking to myself?

Glenn Harper [00:46:32]:

I knew that. So, you know, entrepreneurs, you know, listening to this,

Liz Branch [00:46:38]:

too Again, we’re we’re talking in the

Glenn Harper [00:46:39]:

accounting space in front, but it’s the same concept across the board. It doesn’t matter the industry. It doesn’t matter anything. So too We just happen to know this space very well, so that’s why we can make fun of myself. But the this is the kind of thing you wanna tough. Looking for is you expand on what you’re trying to grow and develop your business is the people that can really help you that you don’t even think they can. You just you have more awareness of

Liz Branch [00:47:00]:

that. Twist. So I

Julie Smith [00:47:01]:

I have 1 last question. And, again, I wanna thank you. You are a very busy lady, and you’ve taken, you know, a lot of time here to give our listeners great things. But dripped. Yeah. One more question is, what is your superpower?

Liz Branch [00:47:15]:

Oh, I would say seeing the inefficiencies somewhere and trying to fix them, which gets me in trouble and also helps me in my life. Too I have to know my lane and not over overstep because sometimes, I mean, I’ll be at the school or something, and someone says something. I’m like, you know what you could do? And my husband’s too like, this is not your thing. This is not your thing. Or he’ll tell me something in his work, and I’m like, oh, especially because he’s in health care. So I go back to my roots, and I’m like, too Well, you know, it should be like this, this, and he’s just like, you’re not the COO of our practice. You know? So, I have to sometimes watch too That superpower, I guess, because sometimes you don’t wanna overstep or step on others, by thinking that you have the solution, but also, curtailing it to be, hey. I wanna help, and here are some things that I’ve learned in my past that could help you and leave it more of advice instead of, too to do list for them because we’re all busy.

Liz Branch [00:48:16]:

So it

Glenn Harper [00:48:17]:

sounds like and when we’re talking about staying in your lane, you’re probably on the 8 lane superhighway swerving all over, and eventually, chilly. Construction makes you go to 1 lane and then you nail it. Is that a fair statement? Well, Liz, I really I really appreciate tough. Julie, I do appreciate you being on the show. And if you wanna throw out a plug of some sort, I’m sure people would love to hear it. And and from what I understand, Liz has plenty of time, so she can engage with all kinds of people out there. Tripped. So just reach out.

Glenn Harper [00:48:41]:

Torey. She’ll help you out.

Liz Branch [00:48:43]:

Yeah. Yep. At Accountingfly. I’m Feel free to email me. True. Love to talk to anybody. So we don’t just hire for CPA firms do.

Liz Branch [00:48:53]:

We hire for internal accounting teams at all, too different companies. So any any accounting or finance hiring that you need to do, that’s kind of where we are.

Glenn Harper [00:49:04]:

Well, thank you, Liz. You are awesome. And to all our listeners out twisted. Another winner.

Liz Branch [00:49:08]:


Julie Smith [00:49:08]:

Well, I hope she comes over to the entrepreneur world someday.

Glenn Harper [00:49:11]:

Oh, she’s there. She just doesn’t even know it yet. But it’s only a matter of time. Destiny awaits, too Young lady. Well, Julie, this is another great show. This is Glenn Harper signing off.

Episode Show Notes

Welcome to another episode of Empowering Entrepreneurs, where we feature dynamic individuals who are revolutionizing their industries. In today’s episode, hosts Glenn Harper and Julie Smith sit down with Liz Branch, the innovative COO of Accountingfly and GoingConcern.

Liz shares her insights on changing the landscape of the accounting profession and the vital role of communication and teamwork in entrepreneurship. From her experience in building successful remote teams to her passion for helping clients find the right talent, Liz’s story is one of empowerment and inspiration.

Join us as we dive into Liz’s journey, her unique problem-solving approach, and her vision for the future of remote work. It’s an episode packed with valuable advice and captivating stories that’s not to be missed!

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