James Heyward has entrepreneurship in his blood. His father opened his accounting firm AOH Business Services, NYC in 1982, and from an early age, James developed his knowledge of and love for financial management while working for his father’s practice.
In 2010, James opened his own firm, Heyward CPA, in Durham, North Carolina. Later, James and his father decided to merge their firms.
As a family business, Heyward CPA is laser-focused on helping other small businesses and their owners. They have an exceptional track record in the accounting industry for the usual reasons – their experience, business acumen, skills and the personality of their team – but Heyward CPA also differentiates itself from the competition with its outstanding business operations.
“We’re more like a software company in how we run our business," shares James. “That’s what our tools are mostly designed for.”
James admits he loves apps: “I keep going from app to app, but now I’m trying to stick with the right tool and improve our integrations." PieSync has made integrating his favorite tools possible. The results? A productivity boost without the headaches.
The key tools James uses to run his accounting firm more efficiently
To improve lead qualification: Contacts+ (formerly FullContact)
James uses the Contacts+ contact management tool to enrich the contact information collected on his CRM.
“80% or more of our leads come in through our website,” explains James. “Some of these are not our optimal customer, and we create service offerings for different lead levels, so the more information we can gather about their digital footprint the better.”
Once a lead has being enriched in Contact+, James uses PieSync to sync data with Freshsales and trigger the next steps in their journey...
Freshsales as a CRM
With Freshsales as his CRM, James benefits from AI-based lead scoring, built-in phone, email, activity capture and more. James explains that if you send an inquiry to Heyward CPA via their website, it’ll go straight to Freshsales.
Freshsales is the heart of their tech stack, but in order to enrich the customer data on it, James has to keep it in sync with his other tools. At the same time, he uses Freshsales customer knowledge to deliver a more personalized experience through other tools. For instance, if a prospect or customer wants to receive email communications, he will be automatically in sync with AWeber.
Freshdesk for customer support
“Freshdesk is our main point of contact for our clients. It’s kind of like our front desk," explains James. Freshdesk streamlines all customer conversations in one place. With this tool, James has a central view of all communication via phone and email, and he can also connect live chat if it makes sense in future.
“As the helpdesk phone number is linked with the Freshcaller platform, we’re able to take notes on phone calls in a file for a client or even a prospect. It’s been about three years and it’s really changed our business. It has totally changed communication for us!”
James has also used Freshdesk to build Heyward CPA’s internal knowledge base and make it accessible to the whole team. By pooling this knowledge, it’s easier than ever to train new people to respond to inquiries. “Some of the questions are very routine, so we can build out the Q&A internally for agents to reply as easily as possible," explains James.
In the past, inquiries like “I need a copy of my tax return” used to go to James’s own inbox, but they now go directly to Heyward CPA’s central helpdesk that everyone has access to.
“As we’re so exposed on the internet and get a high value of inquiries, it stops our inboxes from getting clogged up," says James.
Google Contacts to sync personal contacts and as a backup
Google Contacts was one of the first integrations that James set up with PieSync, as a handy way to move his personal contacts to a central client management system. Since then, James has maintained Google Contacts as a backup of his key email list.
AWeber for email marketing
“I’m trying to build up our AWeber email list and be more specific in our email marketing," shares James. After several years of general awareness marketing, James is testing AWeber for greater segmentation and to eventually send emails according to the type of business a lead is in.
Strong parts, but stronger together
At the heart of Heyward CPA’s operations is the Freshsales CRM. This is their main business hub, where James is consciously building up more contact data to make it easier to create contact lists across all connected apps.
“The leads come into Freshsales, then if we do not end up doing business with them right now, we can get them in AWeber. Then they can receive more general awareness marketing,” says James. “We’re trying to make sure the leads interested in the newsletter on our website get to AWeber.”
With PieSync, James has the infrastructure he needs to benefit from several tools without getting overwhelmed or causing data gaps and errors.
“PieSync provides the automation and the framework to think about how you really want your data to move. It makes the administrative work totally automated and so much easier. In some cases that can save a business owner a lot in administrative costs.”
By staying on top of the tools out there, including those first designed with other industries in mind – like software as a service – James has managed to build a highly efficient accounting firm.
How can you make your firm operate more efficiently and spend more time on your customers? See how PieSync can help you out with a 14-day free trial to connect your favourite cloud apps.