ProAdvisor Spotlight: How Envolta is Taking an Entrepreneurial Approach to Accounting

Envolta was named one of the fastest growing businesses in Ottawa, two years in a row. We sat down with David DiNardo, CEO and Founder, to learn about his approach to scaling his accounting business.


Want to connect with Envolta? Check out David’s profile on the Find a ProAdvisor directory.


How did you get started in accounting?

While I was in school, I didn’t plan on starting an accounting firm. I went to the US to study business on a soccer scholarship and went on to become an IT consultant at a hospital in Ottawa, Ontario.

My father ran a tax preparation business for over 25 years. So growing up, conversations at the family dinner table centred around two things: soccer and taxes.

His business was completely desktop based. With my background in IT, I saw so many opportunities to modernize his workflow. Cloud apps were just starting to become popular and I knew technology could make him more efficient. But his mentality was “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”.

At the time, I thought if most accountants were running their businesses this way, a cloud-first firm could have a major competitive advantage.

So in 2014, I decided to leave my job at the hospital and start Envolta.

What was your approach to building an accounting firm?

Not being an actual accountant myself, I took an entrepreneurial approach to building the firm. I hired CPAs to do the accounting and taxes while I focused on the technology and processes that would make the team as efficient as possible. This approach allowed me to focus on perfecting our workflows and scaling the firm.

How did you create efficiency internally?

We have a tiered monthly subscription model, instead of a flat or hourly rate. Our clients can choose a tier based on the services they need. This creates transparency for our clients. But to be profitable with this structure, we need our accountants to be as productive as possible. To do that we had to standardize our tools and workflows.

Many accountants are willing to support any accounting software and accept data from anywhere. Our tech stack is consistent for all of our clients and our tools integrate seamlessly. This eliminates the need to train our staff on multiple platforms or waste time transferring data between tools.

We have moved almost all of our clients over to QuickBooks Online. With QuickBooks we have all the tools we need built in plus the ability to integrate apps, so data moves through our workflow without manual entry or added steps.

A great example of this is our year-end workflow. Many working paper tools are too robust. They have every feature possible which complicates things. This slowed down our process. With  Workpapers built into QuickBooks Online Accountant, there’s no need to export client data into a separate tool. We’re only one click away from our workflow. We can get to the numbers faster, spend less time coding accounts and manually entering data. The next step is training our team on Pro Tax to complete our cloud-based year-end and tax workflow.

How do your clients benefit from this approach?

We work with so many amazing business owners, who love what they do but are often intimidated by the financials. They are looking for more than just an accountant or tax preparer. They want an advisor that can help them understand their cash flow and forecast for the future.

Accountants usually don’t want to get into bookkeeping but to give the right advice you need access to real time, clean data. That means having access and control over the books. Cloud-based accounting software enables us to manage the books efficiently and gain access to up to date information at any time.

With desktop software, we’d have to wait until statements are issued to enter data. It could be 2-3 months before businesses could see their data and get an idea of where their business stands. With QuickBooks Online, our clients can log in to see their numbers and get a clear picture of how their business is doing at that moment.

How did the pandemic affect your business?

When the pandemic hit, we were ready. Our workforce was able to make the switch to remote working easily. We didn’t need to spend time migrating client data or training the team on cloud-based collaboration tools. We had the bandwidth to learn about government subsidies and all the implications the pandemic had on our clients.

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