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Jay Kimelman has served many roles in his life. CPA. SAP FICO Specialist at Siemens. CFO of a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Owner of a nutritional supplement manufacturing company. And most recently, Founder and CIO of cloud accounting firm The Digital CPA.
But there are two roles Kimelman prizes over any other: husband and father.
With the flexible schedule facilitated by cloud accounting work, Kimelman is now able to dedicate more time to those precious family roles.
Kimelman’s daughter is 11-years-old and has been dancing for seven years. She participates in annual dance competitions that always coincide with the last two weekends of tax season.
For many CPAs, attending those performances would be impossible. But not for Kimelman. He’s right there every year, cheering her on from the audience.
“If I was truly tied to my desk and my office, I couldn’t be there for my daughter and my family,” he says. “And it’s just nice to have those freedoms.”
An entrepreneurial mindset
Though Kimelman had been performing freelance accounting work of different kinds as far back as 1998, The Digital CPA didn’t begin in earnest until 2011. A breakup with his partner at the manufacturing business they ran together spurred the move.
“I thought, ‘What do I know best?’ And it was accounting and systems. That’s why I started The Digital CPA,” he says.
Initially a firm performing routine accounting work for manufacturing clients, Kimelman stumbled onto the benefits of the cloud by chance.
“I had a professional services firm that was looking for a cloud platform application,” he says. “In the summer of 2012, I was introduced to Xero and really haven’t moved back from the cloud since.”
A cloud evolution
With Xero now in place, Kimelman soon discovered a host of benefits that made accounting easier for both his business and his clients.
“I’ve found my clients can adapt to it really quickly,” he says. “You demo it for them for the first time, and they’re like, ‘Wow, that is so easy. When can I get started on it?’”
Xero’s real-time collaboration features and unmatched ease-of-use also played a large role in the evolution of The Digital CPA.
“We had a client whose chart of accounts was so long it printed on three pages,” says Kimelman. “With Xero, we created a concise P&L that was easy to read and showed everything the business owner needed. The client was just so happy.”
While Xero as a platform has played a tremendous role in the growth of The Digital CPA, its community of users is also a large contributing factor.
“We are all competitors, but we know that if we work together and cooperate, we will all excel,” says Kimelman.
And for Kimelman, the Xero community is just as much about giving as it is receiving.
“It’s nice to be able to pay it forward and help others who are starting on their journey. And it’s even nicer to see those you’ve helped helping others now,” he says.
When asked what advice he would give to a future cloud accounting entrepreneur, Kimelman stresses urgency.
“Get out there and do it. Don’t wait,” he says. “The way it is today with Xero, you can start working really quickly. There’s very low cost of entry. All you need is a computer, a Chromebook, anything with a browser.”
And when Kimelman says to start early, he means it.
“It’s even better for students because a student can start their own practice in school. And by the time they graduate, they’re ready to start a full-fledged accounting firm on their own,” he says.
Kimelman touts flexibility as the ultimate benefit of both Xero and cloud accounting in general.
“It’s all about making our clients’ lives easier and allowing them to untether from their office, just like I’m untethered myself. So they can spend more time doing what they want to do, whether it’s making more money, spending more time at home, or getting ready for retirement,” he says.
Which brings us back to Kimelman and his family; thanks to Xero, they have more freedom than at any other time in Kimelman’s career.
“If we want to take a week at the beach, we just pack up and go to the beach. There’s no hindrance,” he says. “That’s really the important thing, having the freedom and flexibility. That’s what the cloud offers us.”
Be like Jay and provide better experiences for your employees and clients through cloud accounting. See how Xero can help you power your practice now.