BookKeeping Express, the first U.S. franchise focused solely on bookkeeping services, recently opened its first office in Clearwater, Florida serving businesses throughout the Old Tampa Bay region.
BookKeeping Express’ services include setting up charts of accounts and general ledgers, monthly data entry, processing and managing accounts payable and accounts receivable, producing monthly reports, and tax reporting. Plus, BookKeeping Express utilizes an Alternative Pricing Model that is based on the clients’ needs instead of a one-size-fits-all, hourly billing approach.
Carlos Diaz, owner of the new BookKeeping Express office in Clearwater, is a 25-year Tampa Bay resident and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Oklahoma State University. After college, he played professional baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays and other organizations for close to 10 years and also worked as an auditor for Arthur Andersen during the off season.
Following his professional baseball career, Diaz earned his CPA license and joined an international shipping company out of Tampa where he developed and led a global business unit. Diaz traveled throughout the world coaching, managing, and mentoring his commercial and operational members on how to sell and operate the business unit’s services.
Subsequently, he joined a Hong Kong based logistics company managing their U.S. and Latin American offices with more than 100 employees. His desire to transform business leaders and passion to make a positive impact on the local business community, led him to obtain his business coaching certification.
Recognizing an added void in the market, he diversified his portfolio and joined the Bookkeeping Express national network to serve the bookkeeping needs of his local community. Through these services, Diaz believes he can have a greater impact on a wider spectrum of the business community.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What attracted you to the BookKeeping Express franchise opportunity?
Carlos Diaz (CD): The services that BookKeeping Express (BKE) offers are universal to all businesses, and are not only critical, but a necessity. I see BKE’s services as a big help to the local business community and my objective is to help people be successful. With the help of BKE, I can do that.
FC: With your extensive management background and CPA credentials, why did you decide to join Bookkeeping Express as a franchisee rather than start your own independent operation?
CD: BKE provides me the back-office support and expertise. With BKE, I do not have to worry about staffing and office space, and I can focus on what I do best — consulting and coaching people in their business practice. Additionally, BKE gives me added resources to keep me in tune with the latest developments and best practices for businesses. In a nutshell, BKE provides me with the intellectual know-how and team support, and the concept of bookkeeping provides me with wide market coverage.
FC: Can you tell us about the different services that your Bookkeeping Express franchise offers?
CD: My services include bookkeeping, monthly reports, consulting, expense reduction, business assessments and analysis. Additionally, not only will I go over their books every month, but I will also advise them on the strengths and weaknesses that I see in their business model that show up in their financial reports.
FC: What is your company’s competitive advantage over other bookkeeping service providers in your community?
CD: Foremost are my background and core values. I also do Business Coaching at this time so I can offer a lot more depth. Additionally, BKE gives me the support to give a great service. My background is founded on strong academic disciplines but built on real life experience and applications, as well as a career filled with strong commitments. With BKE’s intellectual library, team support, and network, I can give my customers quality advice and service — this is truly a good partnership.
FC: How do you plan to market your services to small business owners in the Old Tampa Bay region?
CD: I am getting out in the community by joining the Chamber and attending public events to meet these small business owners. Additionally, I plan on setting up seminars and workshops for these smaller business owners. I also do Business Coaching under WWT which can be too costly for your smaller businesses, but through bookkeeping and consulting, I can still help these businesses and give them a taste of coaching. In the end, the customer wins because he is getting a big corporate solution to meet his or her needs.
FC: What are your day-to-day responsibilities as a new franchise owner of Bookkeeping Express? How many employees do you have currently, and what do they do?
CD: My day-to-day responsibilities are to market myself and the BKE business. I am currently implementing a few marketing strategies and also aligning myself with partners and making sales calls. My objective is to make myself known in the community as a profit and growth expert. Presently, I have one employee who is doing business development for me. This employee is calling businesses, sending mailers, and updating my database.
FC: How would you rate the training and support you received from head office during the pre-opening phase of your business?
CD: The way I see it is that the training is there and the information is there. No one is going to force feed you. For me, at this time, it is adequate, as I am pushing along and I don’t want information overload. Also, with the assistance of the Universal Accounting Center, I have an accountability partner. I know there are a lot of things that I don’t know so I will be asking questions as I go along to find out where I can get the answer or what the answer is.
FC: What are your growth and performance targets for your Bookkeeping Express franchise in 2012? What are your long-term goals for the business?
CD: By the end of 2012, I want to have enough clients to support a full-time customer liaison and a full-time business development/customer liaison person. Before I get there, I want to ensure the business can support this. Therefore at this time, I am laying the groundwork. Long-term goals are to have a self-sufficient office of professionals that will deal with three types of companies: small businesses, medium-sized companies, and regional businesses. Each of these has a role in my customer portfolio. The end result is that the market will see BKE in Old Tampa Bay as a necessity to grow their business.
FC: What advice can you offer prospective franchisees who are looking into the Bookkeeping Express franchise opportunity?
CD: My advice is that they get prepared for the journey. Get their name out there more and more. If they have an existing business, fine but use the BKE business to touch your old customers and your local community. The more touches, the better. They need to get ready to market and sell, and embrace this as their new role or function — at least in the onset.
For more information on BookKeeping Express in Clearwater, please visit oldtampabay.bookkeepingexpress.com, call (727) 808-0990 or toll-free (866) 256-7728, fax (727) 725-0389 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.