THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST

1746 – Unlocking the Secrets of Accounting Entrepreneurship with Roger Knecht

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to  Content Creator & Marketing Strategist of Universal Accounting Center, Roger Knecht.

Knecht wide

Universal Accounting Center, under the leadership of Roger Knecht, has been a beacon of support for accounting professionals since 1979. The center offers training and support for both budding and established accounting professionals.

Their mission is to transform accountants into “accounting preneurs,” equipping them with the entrepreneurial mindset and skills necessary to run a successful accounting business.

The center recognizes that many accountants lack marketing, selling, and pricing training. To address this, they guide professionals to help navigate acquiring and retaining clients. Their approach is not just about crunching numbers; it's about empowering accountants to offer valuable advice and insights to their clients.

One of the critical points Roger emphasized during our conversation was the importance of communication between accountants and business owners. He noted that there needs to be more clarity between what business owners expect from their accountants and what accountants provide.

Universal Accounting Center aims to bridge this gap by giving accounting professionals a voice and encouraging them to offer valuable advice and insights to their clients.

Roger also touched on industry trends, noting the increasing focus on cloud technology and the integration of AI interfaces within accounting platforms such as QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage. He emphasized that these tools are meant to assist accounting professionals in their work, not replace them.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Universal Accounting Center: training and support for accounting professionals
  • Goal: help accounting professionals become “accounting preneurs”
  • Importance of communication between accountants and business owners
  • Evolution of Universal Accounting Center from physical campuses to online platform
  • Industry trends: focus on cloud technology and AI integration in accounting platforms
  • AI tools in accounting: meant to assist, not replace professionals
  • Core areas of focus for accounting professionals: bookkeeping and accounting, tax preparation and planning, CFO and advisory work
  • Universal Accounting Center website, universalaccounting.com, offers free resources and courses

About Roger Knecht:

Roger Knecht is the esteemed president of Universal Accounting, a renowned institution providing comprehensive training, certifications, coaching, and support to over 40,000 accounting professionals since its establishment in 1979.

With over two decades of experience, Roger has personally guided thousands of accounting professionals in initiating and expanding highly profitable businesses. His private firm has earned prestigious accolades, listed in the INC 500 and Utah 100.

Additionally, Roger hosts the influential “Building the Premier Accounting Firm” podcast, where he has conducted insightful interviews with industry experts such as Joe Woodard, Mike Michalowicz, Scott Zarret, and John Warillow.

Furthermore, he co-authors two essential guides for accountants: “Red to BLACK,” a comprehensive how-to guide, and “In the BLACK,” outlining nine principles to ensure business profitability. Roger Knecht's contributions have significantly impacted the accounting profession, making him a respected figure in the industry.

About Universal Accounting Center:

Since its establishment in 1979, Universal Accounting Center has been a leading institution specializing in transforming individuals into Profit Experts™ for their organizations.

The center offers a range of accounting-based products and services, crafting powerful training materials for accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation professionals.

Their flagship programs, including the Professional Bookkeeper Program, Professional Tax Preparer Program, and Quickbooks setup and support programs, equip students with essential skills.

Universal Accounting provides a comprehensive learning experience through seminars, interactive tutorial software, training guides, personal coaching, and pre-packaged marketing programs.

Students receive proven business models, enabling them to start their ventures or enhance their existing businesses for financial security and profitability.

The founder and CEO, Allen Bostrom, a respected author of business books like “In the Black” and “Red to Black in 30 Days,” is also a sought-after speaker at industry and business events.

Universal Accounting Center's dedication to empowering professionals has established it as a reputable institution in the accounting industry.

Tweetable Moments:

3:04 – “It's almost like a don't ask, don't tell philosophy. I'll provide you the financials and if you've got questions, ask me and I'll tell you a few things.”

9:24 – “ Learn the prompts, ask questions, engage with AI and see what insights you could gain from the interface.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Universal Accounting Center at

https://universalaccountingschool.com/

Check out Universal Accounting Center on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/company/universal-accounting/

Check out Universal Accounting Center on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/universalaccountingschool

Check out Universal Accounting Center on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/universalacct

Check out Roger Knecht on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rogerknecht/

Check out Roger Knecht on Instagram at

https://www.instagram.com/rogerknecht/

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Transcript

Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now it's Roger. And Roger won't smell your last name because it's an e c h t you. Yeah. You are the president at Universal Accounting Center. Your website is universal accounting.com. So much. I want to talk to you. In fact, we're recording this after, you know, like 12 minutes.

Josh (00:01:19) - We're like, man, we got to get to recording here. Just finding so many commonalities. But tell me about your work with universal accounting, what you do and who you serve.

Roger (00:01:27) - So interestingly enough, I started more than 20 years ago with the school as a consultant. I was essentially assisting them as they were growing their different campuses and such, and was given employment and rose up to the ranks to where I'm now a not a the president of Universal Accounting Center. So my trajectory is essentially most of the positions within the companies. I filled and oversaw a variety of the different divisions of the business. So yeah, it's been a long journey with more than 20 years experience.

Josh (00:01:54) - You are also a podcaster, which I think would be really easy for a friend that's listening to this podcast right now. They can find you. What is the name of your podcast so they can subscribe? You bet.

Roger (00:02:03) - It's called Building the Premier Accounting Firm. It's for owners of bookkeeping, accounting and tax businesses.

Josh (00:02:09) - And who should be listening.

Roger (00:02:11) - Well, essentially it's the owners who are trying to actually work on their business. My intent in the podcast is to have episodes from the experts to help them build what I refer to as the premier accounting firm, and we just range in topics from marketing, selling, pricing, mental health. Just a variety of things that people need to be aware of is they're running their companies.

Josh (00:02:28) - What might be some of the when we think about what it takes to build a premier accounting firm, what is the default? If someone says, okay, I got a great idea, I'm going to go independent and I'm going to start my own accounting firm. What are the things that they might immediately start to experience?

Roger (00:02:46) - So first of all, I think what we need to realize is they need to become what I refer to as an accounting preneur. They need to recognize that they're not just accountants. They're now embracing this ideology of an entrepreneurship and in starting the business for an accountant, that's oftentimes very difficult. They haven't had formal training typically in marketing, selling, pricing.

Roger (00:03:04) - And so how to get a new client, engage with them, onboard them is generally a difficult process initially, simply because they don't know what that business owner expects of them and what to actually do in that initial relationship. So we try to actually cover that, address it for them so that they can realize there is a lifetime value to this relationship and they need to actually engage it as such. And then the other thing that I'd add to this is I do believe that there's a disconnect between the expectations that the business owner has of the accounting profession and what, as accounting professionals we do to service their accounting needs. In other words, many of the accounting professionals are too often very slow to speak up and give advice and offer information that could be valuable to the business. It's almost like a don't ask, don't tell philosophy. I'll provide you the financials and if you've got questions, ask me and I'll tell you a few things. But we just kind of go off into the into the shadows. And really, the business owner needs so much more of the accounting professional.

Roger (00:03:58) - There's so many insights that can be derived from that. And that's where I try to give the accounting profession a voice.

Josh (00:04:03) - This is a little while back, but where did universal accounting come from?

Roger (00:04:07) - It started in 1979. A gentleman by the name of Alf Bostrom started the company. Alf started it because in that era he was known as the Turnaround King. He was a business coach. He would go into businesses and actually help them transition out of near bankruptcy. And in that process, he developed a curriculum that he was using to basically help transition these companies. And it was based on the accounting information. And so he built a curriculum that later evolved into something that people wanted. So being an entrepreneur, he created the school, offered training. So initially we were a traditional school with campuses around the United States. We eventually had 22 campuses. We're now entirely online. But he essentially retired in the 90s. His son took over in the 90s, and I took over ten years ago as the third president of the company.

Josh (00:04:52) - Wow. So what are the ways that an accounting firm might engage with you? Like, you know, and again, I guess they could be at various stages. They might be early, early, early stage. Is that correct? Maybe talk about your different kind of customer personas that you work with. Exactly.

Roger (00:05:09) - So there's definitely the accounting professional that is in that traditional employment setting where for whatever reasons, they're either supplementing an income and taking on clients on the side, maybe weeknights, weekends, or it's somebody that's doing this full time. But either way, what's happening is they're in that startup phase and we help them essentially determine what it is that they need to be offering as services how to price those services, market, sell, acquire the clients, retain the clients, that client relation and retention. So we're helping them as solopreneurs start their accounting businesses. But at the same time, we're also working with established firms and we work directly with the owners. We help them as they're building their business, offering additional services, engaging further with their clients, adjusting their pricing models.

Roger (00:05:49) - But because we're a secondary school, as a post secondary school, I can train their staff. And so we're oftentimes offering training to their. For years to help them offer quality services along the way to their clientele.

Josh (00:06:01) - Yeah. So when somebody begins school with you, how long does that last? And kind of what's the transformation that takes place?

Roger (00:06:10) - Great question. Because yes, we're a school, we're post-secondary school, and we speak of our people, our customers as students, but they're generally about 35 to 55, 60 years of age, ten, 15, 20 years experience, CPAs, enrolled agents. So essentially, we're working with people that are very seasoned and experienced, and we're helping them move into this entrepreneurial space, becoming the preneur. And their courses that they're going to enroll in are going to range between 4 to 6 weeks in length. So we're very in depth with our curriculum. However, we're very deliberate in making it something that's manageable. So in 4 to 6 weeks you can start to finish, get through what you're wanting to and receive various certifications that we offer that denote your skill set and your proficiency in a certain area.

Josh (00:06:50) - Yeah. Your website I know has a lot of resources as well. So to our friend that's been listening to our conversation, let the journey begin. So if somebody goes to your website it's universal accounting. What are some of the resources that you'd recommend that they can start enjoying?

Roger (00:07:10) - Well, first of all, it's for either the accounts preneur or business owners in general. We have a great deal of resources there for them, but the first set is some free ebooks that we've actually put online for individuals, two of which I just recently wrote. It's your strategic accountant and your profit and Growth Expert. Each of these are available online for free. We also have some courses that we've put together that are basically free so that we can give back. We've had a give back mentality now for a number of years. And each year we release a new curriculum and they range from money management to starting a business, getting a job. We have a couples course, coincidentally, so just a variety of things to assist individuals as they're on this career path to having basically a successful career in accounting.

Josh (00:07:53) - Roger, why would you offer a couple's course?

Roger (00:07:56) - Great question. So my children recently got married and the three children, when they were getting engaged, I said that they needed to meet with me for four weeks prior to getting married, and my blessing was contingent upon them meeting with me as a couple as such. And I did these meetings and everyone that I knew as friends and work colleagues and so forth, were aware of this meetings and ask that I record them. They ask that I write a book, and I chose rather than writing a book, I would actually do a curriculum, a course on it. And so the classes were created with the intent of either helping people in, say, youth ministries, young adults, people that are working, people that are newly married or getting married. It's basically a couples course to help them understand what they can do to solidify that relationship that they're just beginning to build.

Josh (00:08:40) - Yeah. Wonderful. So, Roger, connect again. Present Universal accounting center. Your website is universal accounting school actually the primary website universal accounting.com.

Josh (00:08:54) - Oh before I kind of send you away, can you maybe just for those of us not in accounting, any observations around general industry trends, things that someone on the outside might appreciate knowing about kind of what's been going on in your world maybe over the past year, maybe over the year ahead particularly. I'm kind of curious about maybe any disruptive innovations regarding technology or AI if that's been seeping into the accounting world as well.

Roger (00:09:24) - Most certainly. And happy to address it. Yeah. You would maybe go back five years and hear a lot of talk about cloud or even a few years before that hearing about paper going paperless. Today, it's definitely AI. The AI is something that when it came out just a number of months ago, was something that you wanted to become familiar with. Learn the prompts, ask questions, engage with AI and see what insights you could gain from the interface. Now, what's happening is a lot of the platforms that we as accounting professionals lean on to do our work, whether they're client facing or internal.

Roger (00:09:52) - These platforms, you know, QuickBooks, Xero, sage, all the others, they're actually integrating within the platform, an AI interface to enable us to, as accounting professionals, use this additional tool to do our work efficiently and effectively. So the nice part about it is we're still relevant. Accounting professionals aren't going away. We've been around for more than you know. I say we're jokingly the second oldest profession, and as such, I don't expect us to expire any time soon. So within our profession, we're seeing that we're getting tools and insights. It's kind of like being a doctor at the E.R.. I recall seeing recently an article that said that the AI could actually diagnose some of the E.R. people coming in better than the attending doctor. And it's not that AIS are going to replace doctors, it's just that they're going to assist. They're an additional tool. It's like an x ray. You know, the x ray can diagnose and see things that the doctor can't, but you still need the doctor to actually take and use that information to do something.

Roger (00:10:47) - So we're going to be similar to that as we work with our clients in the business owners to essentially focus on what I refer to as the three core areas. Of their business bookkeeping and accounting, tax preparation and planning, and last of all, most importantly, CFO and advisory work. It's where we now really get into building a successful business, helping them get the profits that they deserve.

Josh (00:11:09) - Roger. Connect. It's been wonderful having you again. Present Universal Accounting Center on the web at Universal accounting.com. Roger, thank you so much for joining us.

Roger (00:11:18) - My pleasure. If it's about accounting it is universal.

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