Spotlighting ladies in advisory apply: Sandy Heit

In celebration of Ladies’s Historical past Month, we’re honored to launch “Spotlighting Ladies in Advisory Follow,” a weblog sequence that includes 4 ladies who’ve reworked their accounting companies with advisory providers. These CPAs have moved past being solely tax suppliers, increasing their relationships with purchasers to turn into true enterprise companions.

Sandy Heit’s path to proudly owning her personal accounting agency was a bit unconventional — and in the end concerned her love for images. 

After finishing highschool and a less-than-fulfilling stint in retail, Heit determined to attend faculty. She pursued accounting resulting from a mixture of a love for math and heeding her mom’s recommendation to have a secure job. Upon graduating, she labored at Deloitte for 4 years, principally in tax, which included a six-month rotation in auditing. Then she joined Moss Adams, an accounting agency that primarily works with retail, which supplied her the chance to study the non-technical facet of the career. Nevertheless, her lengthy commutes grew to become tiresome, and so she moved to HCVT, one other bigger regional accounting agency. 

Heit’s profession path in accounting may have simply remained in a single path, however alongside the best way, a brand new love emerged — images. 

After being in accounting for 9 years, Heit says she was open to exploring one thing else. When she employed a photographer to take footage of her then two-year-old daughter, she stated she grew to become “simply obsessive about the entire course of.” She began her images enterprise in 2007 and constructed a consumer base whereas nonetheless doing accounting as her day job. After a while, Heit left HCVT to turn into a full-time photographer, permitting her the pliability to have the work-life stability she desired. Proudly owning a enterprise supplied many classes which she would make the most of in her life to come back. 

Making a CPA agency round flexibility

Heit describes how a former group of colleagues had began an accounting agency across the similar time she started her images enterprise. The agency had grown considerably, and her former associate provided her a place.  

“Initially, I used to be working part-time on the agency and nonetheless doing images part-time,” Heit says. “Nevertheless, I found I actually cherished being again in accounting, so I shut down my images enterprise.” 

Sandy Heit
Sandy Heit of ModernCPAs

Heit was on the agency for just a few years when a recruiter she knew personally reached out with a chance to move up an accounting apply for a start-up household workplace for a high-net value particular person. “My intestine informed me it was the proper factor to do, and it was a fantastic studying expertise,” she explains.  

Whereas she preferred her job, Heit says she knew that ultimately she wished to work for herself once more. Reflecting on her profession throughout one other lengthy commute for the brand new job, Heit says she realized that she wished to begin her personal boutique accounting agency that integrated the most effective practices she had discovered over time. 

Her aim was to give attention to strategic tax planning and compliance for small enterprise house owners, in addition to offering a office the place ladies may have the work-life stability she lacked at different accounting companies. Initially, she labored as a contractor for a former colleague, and by the autumn of 2017, she launched her personal agency, ModernCPAs. The launch gave Heit the chance to create the sort of agency that labored for her way of life, in addition to service purchasers who had been just like the small enterprise proprietor she was as a photographer.  

“I wished to construct and work and make use of [women] which can be mothers,” she says, including that she wished to allow a piece surroundings that was versatile and artistic that allowed employees to work “on their very own time.” 



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Corporations that take an advisory-centric method have a chance to strengthen relationships with their purchasers and supply higher-value and higher-margin providers.

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Advisory providers — “That’s what it’s referred to as”

All through her whole accounting profession, Heit touched features of advisory providers — not within the iteration she makes use of now, she says, however as a service supplied principally at no cost to purchasers. Based mostly on her expertise in working at different accounting companies, Heit had concepts on how she would greatest prefer to service her purchasers, work effectively and successfully, and embrace expertise. 

She bought an advisory-centric content material and consulting answer that “utterly reworked her apply,” she recollects, including that she was very nervous when she first pitched the concept of an upfront advisory price to a consumer. “This system had a system for tips on how to ship advisory providers, supplied customizable content material to ship to purchasers, and had the flexibility to articulate the worth we’re offering,” Heit explains, including that earlier than lengthy, she was requiring all new purchasers to start out with an advisory providers package deal. 

As Heit continued with the brand new answer, she found lots of the providers she provided could possibly be extra strategic and monetized. And whereas transferring into an advisory apply was not utterly model new for her — she already had just a few purchasers on month-to-month retainers as an alternative of the pay for service mannequin — she quickly determined it made the most effective sense to transfer her whole apply to advisory providers. 

Though Heit felt some trepidation in making the change, she felt it might make clear the sort of consumer she wished to work with — people all for partnering along with her apply. It might additionally give her the prospect to foster a symbiotic relationship with purchasers that will enable her to information their enterprise choices concerning their tax conditions. 

As a girl enterprise proprietor, Heit affords her purchasers not simply her tax and advisory experience however her understanding that comes from her private expertise as a mom and a small enterprise proprietor.  

“One of many greatest causes I began my enterprise is as a result of I made a ton of errors with my images enterprise, and I need to assist enterprise house owners not make the identical errors I did,” says Heit. As well as, she wished to coach and empower purchasers on the monetary features of their enterprise to turn into extra profitable. 

“I even have a deep ardour for serving to ladies entrepreneurs,” she provides. “As a result of I do know firsthand the constraints that we are likely to placed on ourselves.”  

Learn the Spotlighting Ladies in Advisory Follow weblog sequence to search out extra success tales like Heit’s, then get began in your advisory journey with Follow Ahead. 



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How ladies can confidently and efficiently construct an advisory apply

Hear from Thomson Reuters specialists who’ve hung out with female-owned and operated companies positioning themselves for long-term success with an advisory-centric enterprise mannequin.

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