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Brick, Mortar, and Beyond: The Beginning Stages of a Virtual CPA Firm

Your accounting practice doesn’t need to be limited to your zip code. Find out how one Minnesota CPA firm is working with accounting IT experts to virtually take its business outside city limits. 

Trevor Seales

One thing is obvious after talking to Tech Guru client Trevor Seales, owner of Seales & Munsterman Accounting & Tax: this CPA loves watching his firm grow. 

“Because Tech Guru is all about technology for CPAs, we’re throwing our best dollars at our best solution.  I have no problem putting money into a resource that is going to pay us back.”

Recently, Trevor spoke with Tech Guru about management, his team, and the clients he is now serving better than ever.  The organic growth of his family-owned business holds lessons for other owners of small- to mid-size firms. 

All in the Family 

Seales & Munsterman in Morris, Minnesota, was founded by Don Munsterman, grandfather of Trevor’s wife Jennifer Seales (Jennifer is also Seales & Munsterman’s office manager).  Don sold the business to his son Troy Munsterman, who recently celebrated his retirement from the firm.  Now, Trevor runs the business with a staff of 5.  “Small businesses and family-owned businesses are near and dear to our hearts,” Trevor says. 

Market Opportunities 

West central Minnesota, where the firm is located, brings in thousands of migrant workers, thanks largely to a huge dairy operation in the area.  Seales & Munsterman observed tax firms who took advantage of the immigrants’ language barrier.  After seeing one too many migrant workers defrauded with fictitious tax refunds, Trevor realized there was a market to serve this demographic ethically. 

“I tried to learn Spanish,” Trevor says, but he soon realized he would have better results hiring a native Spanish speaker.  Adrianela Goulet was hired, and a new stream of revenue was created for the firm. 

Outsourcing IT 

Trevor says of his management philosophy, “I want to be good at what I’m good at and trust other people I hire to be good at what they do.” This tenet extends to his firm’s tech support as well. 

Seales & Munsterman was working on occasion with a tech person near their office when Trevor came across the article “5 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Tech Person,” written by Tech Guru CEO Daniel Moshe, in MNCPA’s Footnote magazine.  Trevor took note of the article’s advice on ways to screen an IT professional and was intrigued by the idea of a tech support company that specialized in CPA firms. 

Switching IT Providers 

Like many accountants who also oversee the firm’s technology, Trevor was overwhelmed at the thought of continuing to manage IT himself.  He scheduled an initial call with Tech Guru and met with Micah Thor soon after. As Trevor went down the list of things he didn’t want to do anymore with his IT, Micah was able to check all the boxes with the response, “Yep, Tech Guru does that.” 

A Cultural Fit 

Trevor is pleased that the Tech Guru culture of caring for clients, as described by Micah, is evident. Of his interaction with others in the company, Trevor says, “It’s the way we serve our clients too. Tech Guru is living it.” Trevor mentions one example: Micah suggested a business management book called Traction by Gino Wickman that he thought Trevor would find useful.  Shortly after their meeting, it arrived in the mail as a gift from Micah. 

Remote Freedom 

Now that Tech Guru has helped the firm set employees up to work remotely from home, Seales & Munsterman is moving more in the direction of a virtual office.  “Most of the staff still comes in,” says Trevor, but his horizons have expanded when it comes to adding new talent to his company.   

Though the office’s location in west central Minnesota is about an hour from the nearest Walmart, the firm has succeeded in landing stellar talent. With the area’s terrific internet connection and remote access in place, Trevor is thinking more broadly about adding to his staff, “In the future, maybe our best hire doesn’t live in our zip code.” 

Firm Expenses 

Trevor’s thoughts on running a firm are straightforward.  “I’ve only got so much real estate in my brain.  When a client approaches me I want to give them my best, ‘yes.’  IT is not my top skill set, so every sliver of brain energy that I spend on IT is not being spent on clients.”   

Trevor is conscientious of where his business expenses go.  “I want to throw my best dollars at my most critical resources – our firm’s people and IT.  Because Tech Guru is all about technology for CPAs, we’re throwing our best dollars at our best solution.  I have no problem putting money into a resource that is going to pay us back.” 

If you’re ready to talk to a Solution Architect at Tech Guru about your firm’s IT, you can schedule an initial call here.