Friday, January 16, 2015

MyProfitsee CEO, President, & Chairman of the Board Peter Vessenes : Crazy? or Crazy Like a Fox?

MyProfitSee makes Business Intelligence / Analytic apps-tools for Quickbooks & Xero environments.    About a year ago we tinkered with their apps and found them to be quite impressive.   In fact at the time for integration with Quickbooks we thought Profitsee was at the top of the class & leader in the space (in comparison to  Qvinci, Finagraph, BodeTree, InsightSquared, Fathom, & Spotlight Reporting).   We never got around to actually getting our hands on Bison Analytics system.  

Why?  Their predictive analytic algorithms - the ability to devise and play "what if scenarios" going forward - on the spot, efficiently.   Analyzing financial history via KPI tools is readily available by various developers.  But Profitsee's predictive analytic algorithm tool enables users to deliver to Quickbooks based businesses real CFO forecasting work product - on the spot.   As Profitsee says, "Instantly see how new business tactics and strategies affect cash flow, profitability, and the financial health of your company. What is the impact of marketing campaigns, new hires, new sales channels? Critical business decisions can happen in minutes, not weeks or months."   

This week I participated in a MyProfitsee Webinar hosted by the CEO, President, & Chairman of the Board President Peter Vessenes on the topic "How to Expand your Tax Practice During Tax Season".   When was the last time you ever heard of a CEO, President, & Chairman of the Board giving 1 hour of their time, insights, and wisdom - entirely free to the at large public?  

I knew this webinar was going to be good when Mr. Vessenes opened by describing Profitsee's "global expansion" (his words) and soon to be Europe based offices.   Prior to the Webinar I had viewed Peter Vessenes as a 'thought leader' in the space (BI/Analytics for Quickbooks environments).  However after actually experiencing Peter Vessenes through a webinar?...I'm trying to decide if he's just crazy.....or "crazy like a fox". 

Specifically - in this webinar Mr. Vessenes advised CPAs to approach their business clients this tax season and inform them their are "gaps" in the financials of their business   (using that specific language).  Mr. Vessenes was essentially describing "insights not surfaced and shared".   He continued and drove the point into the ground that CPAs should "apologize" to their clients [business owners/CEO's, etc] about these newly discovered "gaps" existing in the financials of their business.   I counted Mr. Vessenes to stress the advice, "CPAs should apologize" (using that specific language)  14 times over the course of 6 - 7 minutes.

What's this all leading up to?  Mr. Vessenes said the purpose, goal and objective  in this tactic (announcing the gaps and apologizing) was to raise the stress level of the client and business owner (using that specific language).    Once you've successfully raised the stress level of your client you are to inform them you now must perform a review of their business (financial records) as soon as tax season is over.  Mr. Vessenes then advised CPAs  to offer a money back guarantee of the fee of payment for performing the review if the client-business owner were not satisfied and pleased with the final work-product and resulting advisory.  He literally said inform your client you'll be happy to 'return the check'. Mr. Vessenes went on and stressed you as a CPA "need to do this, it's a responsibility" (you are the client's most trusted advisor after all....using that specific language). Mr. Vessenes said you then deliver the review, followed by a "presentation" (what you discovered in the financials).    

It's at this point Peter Vessenes advised CPAs to concede to their client you, the CPA, have been in neglect in serving them (using that specific language).  He instructed saying specifically, "I've been the one that's been in neglect".   Mr. Vessenes again stressed CPAs need to escalate concern for the purpose and objective of getting the client on retainer.   (the concern being what the newly discovered 'gaps' indicate about the business, the gaps you as a CPA can now see - that you could not see before - thanks to you now using ProfitSee's BI/Analytic tools - The client/business owner is then moved to 'cure' the concerns going forward by placing you the CPA on retainer - at the ready to address concerns and advise accordingly). 

Mr. Vessenes then took the 10,000 foot view and theorized how if you repeat this process across your can get 10 clients or so under retainer and in using his software (Profitsee) it would only take you about 15-20 hours a month to serve 10 clients paying $1,000/month on retainer (all his words & numbers).

While shredding the AICPA Professional Code of Conduct is not our quite our cup of tea, we do realize "shtick" has proven to be effective throughout many business spaces.   Who knows - perhaps Mr. Vessenes is onto something.   This our dilemma, is Peter Vessenes crazy?....or crazy like a fox?    Let's review:

1). Intentionally raise the stress level of your client

2). Concede you've been negligent with their financial records and apologize accordingly,  inform your client that due to your negligence you're now compelled as their most trusted adviser to review their business in whole - but not to worry about the fee you will be charging them for the review, if they are not satisfied with the end resulting advisory you will refund them the fee of payment

3). In the review/presentation escalate the concern to your client  (the gaps) but assure your client you are their to save the day (with your new Profitsee tool)  and all will be well going forward assuming they now place you on retainer for $1,000/month.  

4). Repeat this across your client base and you'll soon have 10 clients paying $1,000/month on retainer and it should only take you about 15-20 hours per month (using Profitsee) to serve 10 clients as their most trusted adviser

Crazy?  Or Crazy Like a Fox?

In the spirit of  "don't knock it till you've tried it"....we'll reserve judgement.    

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for attending my presentation on this week! Appreciate your posting, but I would like to politely disagree on the statement "shredding the AICPA Professional Code of Conduct".

    CPAs have a FIDUCIARY responsibility to their business clients. This was said several times during the webinar. I am NOT in favor of "artifically" increasing a business owner's stress level. Frankly, the thought is abhorant! Down with the con men and grifters. The challenge is that most business owners are either blissfully oblivious to fiscal concerns they should have in the company (think "Two Year Balance Sheet Forecast"), or they have a certain level of uneasiness but are not sure why.

    The purpose of motivating your business owners to do a fiscal review is to fufill the fiduciary resposibility. You are doing the company's taxes, and possibly an audit. Why would you avoid evaluating the KPIs, P&L, and Balance Sheet along side of that?

    If the analysis shows the company's fiscal management operates like a world class corporation, great! No retainer work there, and worth the project fee for them to find that out. Unfortunately, the number of companies that even know what that means are few and far between.

    The purpose of the report it to make them aware. Raising their stress level comes naturally. Artificially raising stress levels is wrong. I would never have survived providing advisory services since 1983 if that was taking place.

    Fundamentally, people are slow to change. Truth accompanied by fear helps them make the decision to use the our of services . These will increase their financial stability, increase profits, raise valuation, and hopefully provide a path to succession in the business.

    At any rate, hope you are on next month's Part II of the presentation!

    Peter M. Vessenes
    CEO, ProfitSee Inc.