Growing a business

Going once, going twice… sold on QuickBooks Online Advanced (and more)

When Dan Newman, owner of Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals (APAA), sets a goal, he goes big. Really big. When he launched the company, his vision was to become the “Heritage, Christie’s, or Sotheby’s of the North.”

That was in 2018. Newman was at a point where he wanted to try something new — to step outside his comfort zone and take on an entrepreneurial challenge. By his own admission, he had zero experience in the full-service auction space. But when he heard about the Missouri Auction School there was no turning back.

“I attended the course and got certified,” he explained. “Then a light bulb turned on. I realized that the auction industry, in terms of the for-profit aspect, offers a world-is-your-oyster opportunity.” 

Newman saw a range of possibilities that ultimately led him to build a profitable, sustainable business selling vehicles and heavy equipment, antiques, jewelry, artwork, and everything in between. Years of marketing expertise further positioned him for success. “A lot of the strengths from my marketing and advertising days carried over,” he said.

Over the years, Newman has narrowed the company’s focus to estate sales, business liquidations, and personal inventory consignment. With an intense work ethic, dedication to being the best, and powerful technology at the core of operations, there’s no doubt his goal to be the next Christie’s or Sotheby’s could become reality.

Dan Newman, owner of Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals (APAA)

“Work hard, hustle, take care of people, plant good karma seeds everywhere you go, and eventually it comes back to take care of you,” said Newman. “We were also the first-to-market in our industry to embrace technology and bring the world of online auctions to the forefront of people’s minds. The first auction services company to offer a mobile bidding app in our entire state!”

Over the years, Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals has continued to grow its client base and revenue. Newman says that’s in large part thanks to the technology he’s chosen to help him get business off the ground, evolve operations to be highly efficient, and bolster profits.

QuickBooks was there from the start

Like many new business owners, before Newman’s entrepreneurial dream could come true, he needed funding. APAA needed a central warehouse to run operations and to call home base. To make a business purchase like that (a big capital investment like real property) Newman had to demonstrate to funders that the business could handle taking this next step.  

It was QuickBooks Online Advanced that helped him aggregate the data, projections, and reports to secure a multi-million dollar SBA loan to purchase the company’s 44,000-square-foot warehouse facility.

quote image
Had we not had the QuickBooks Online ecosystem of tools, we could have missed out on our forever home.

“Most SBA loan applications can take 6-18 months, but having everything in QBO at a glance and being able to pull the reports that we needed exponentially expedited the process. We hit our 90-day deadline to purchase this amazing new facility,” Newman explained.

Without Advanced, the team would have spent hours digging through files to meet loan requirements. And with other offers on the table, moving fast was crucial to secure the purchase of the facility. “I think it’s fair to say that had we not had the QuickBooks Online ecosystem of tools, we could have missed out on our forever home.”

From the start, Newman also recognized that accounting was not his thing. “My strengths are in sales, marketing, and engaging with people on a high level. I am not an attention-to-detail, numbers-focused guy,” explained Newman. “That’s why I hired someone to take care of the books.”

Alaska Premier Auctions

He knew he needed to stay close to the numbers to remain on a healthy financial path. That’s why, under the direction of a trusted bookkeeping firm, the company implemented an integrated QuickBooks accounting ecosystem — merging QuickBooks Online Advanced seamlessly together with QuickBooks Online Payroll, QuickBooks Time, and QuickBooks Payments.

Today, Newman has all the data he needs at his fingertips — offering intuitive insight into the health of the business at any time. And, for a self-proclaimed “non-accounting guy,” this is critical to the company’s success. 

QuickBooks Time is of the essence

In the world of auctioneering, there are so many moving parts that it can be difficult to keep up with everything — payroll, inventory, forecasting, location tracking, and labor costs. All of it. 

Difficult, that is, unless you have an integrated accounting system working for you.

According to Newman, labor costs can be one of the biggest profitability killers. “We have to account for the labor hours we’re putting into each one of our auction projects,” he said. It’s the only way Newman and his team can see a true net revenue once they’ve completed the selling and liquidating of inventory.

Alaska Premier Auctions

“You can’t get to a real net profit until you know how much time you actually put into cataloging, inventorying, sorting, grouping, editing, marketing, pick-ups, and shipping,” he explained. With QuickBooks Time and QuickBooks Online Advanced, Newman can see all this data at a granular level. Essentially, each auction is set up as a project with its own unique code. Within a given auction project, each department also has its own service code. This allows the company to track the hours per employee on a department-by-department basis, and then make adjustments as needed to ensure profitability.

“We wouldn’t have been able to be as precise or accurate with data had we not had the ability to pull reports that were customized to the specific project,” said Newman. “That’s what we can do with software tools like QuickBooks Online Advanced.”

At the end of the auction day, Newman admits that without the deeper insight into data via Advanced, they would most likely walk away from many auctions thinking, “Hey, we made some decent money,” when that wasn’t always the case.

“You can be busy but still not be productive or profitable,” he said. “But now we have the software suite that gives us accurate data we can use to make smarter business decisions. That’s what QuickBooks gives us the ability to do.”

Boost profits, and track employee time with QuickBooks Time

Adding QuickBooks Payroll for a big win

Today, Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals enjoys a streamlined, mobile payroll experience. But that wasn’t always the case.

Before QuickBooks Payroll, it was a mad dash each pay period to ensure hours per project were recorded properly. Ensuring proper withholdings, 401(k) contributions, and payroll deductions only added layers of complexity. 

Additionally, because payroll was a largely manual process, it was a huge inconvenience for employees — requiring them to “punch in” and track hours. There was also limited access to W-2s and paystubs.

QuickBooks Online Payroll plus QuickBooks Time to the rescue! And now everyone is happy.

“Our employees can quickly track their hours per auction based on the departments in QuickBooks Time. Our management team can go in at the end of a pay period and approve hours, make adjustments, and make sure notes are in for accountability tracking,” explained Newman.

Pay your team and manage benefits with the #1 payroll service provider.

He added, “[employees] can do all their deductions, withholdings, and 401(k) contributions on their own. And then, with the click of a button, everybody gets paid via direct deposit. They don’t have to hunt me down for a physical paper check. Staff love the QuickBooks Workforce Hub where they have all their payroll information in one space.”

In a nutshell, the immense convenience for all involved is a huge win. Management enjoys a streamlined payroll workflow because employee hours are tracked in QuickBooks Time and flow into the ecosystem Payroll integration. Employees benefit from the ease of online time tracking and mobile access to their payroll data.

“Payroll can be a pain,” said Newman. “It's time-consuming, it's cumbersome, and it's just another thing that you have to do. But QuickBooks Time and QuickBooks Payroll allow us to hit the ‘easy’ button for our employees. It's all right there, accessible, digital, and available for them when they need it.”

Image Alt Text

With QuickBooks, the future looks bright

There are numerous factors that support the success of Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals. A phenomenal team, a visionary leader, the expertise of an outsourced bookkeeping firm, and a powerful technology ecosystem, plus really cool items to sell! There’s also a fair dose of innovative thinking, which has helped the company achieve first-to-market status.

“We were able to raise the bar of customer service in our market… and that really put the ‘Premier’ in Alaska Premier Auctions in our industry,” said Newman. Looking forward, Newman sees ongoing success. “I think the future of Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals in the next three, five, and 10 years is a very bright and promising one.” 

Having real-time access to data and an integrated accounting function is integral to Newman’s positive outlook. “Having that historical data to help you project into the future… just knowing where to invest your time, effort, and energy so you’re not spinning your wheels. That’s where the QuickBooks Online Advanced ecosystem really helps you focus on gaining traction — where the rubber's going to hit the road."

Flexible solutions for growing businesses

Get the tools you need to streamline your business and the insights to drive it forward. All in QuickBooks Online Advanced.

This content, report and materials are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting, financial, investment, or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. Additional information and exceptions may apply. Applicable laws may vary by state or locality. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit Inc., or its affiliates do not have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. Intuit Inc., or its affiliates do not warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.

QuickBooks Online Advanced Mobile: The QuickBooks Online mobile app works with iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. Devices sold separately; data plan required. Not all features are available on the mobile apps and mobile browser. QuickBooks Online mobile access is included with your QuickBooks Online subscription at no additional cost. Data access is subject to cellular/internet provider network availability and occasional downtime due to system and server maintenance and events beyond your control. Product registration required.

Connect your bank and credit cards: Online services vary by participating financial institutions or other parties and may be subject to application approval, additional terms, conditions, and fees.

QuickBooks Payments: Requires a separate QuickBooks Payments subscription. QuickBooks Payments account subject to eligibility criteria, credit and application approval. E-invoicing QuickBooks Payments is an optional fee-based service. Additional terms and conditions apply.

QuickBooks Time: Time tracking included in the QuickBooks Online Payroll Premium and Elite subscription services. Features vary. The QuickBooks Time mobile app works with iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. Devices sold separately; data plan required. Not all features are available on the mobile apps and mobile browser. Data access is subject to cellular/internet provider network availability and occasional downtime due to system and server maintenance and events beyond your control. Product registration required.

QuickBooks Online Payroll (general reference): Requires a separate QuickBooks Online Payroll subscription. Additional fees will apply. For more information about QuickBooks Online Payroll see here.

Recommended for you

Mail icon
Get the latest to your inbox
No Thanks

Get the latest to your inbox

Relevant resources to help start, run, and grow your business.

By clicking “Submit,” you agree to permit Intuit to contact you regarding QuickBooks and have read and acknowledge our Privacy Statement.

Thanks for subscribing.

Fresh business resources are headed your way!

Looking for something else?


From big jobs to small tasks, we've got your business covered.

Firm of the Future

Topical articles and news from top pros and Intuit product experts.

QuickBooks Support

Get help with QuickBooks. Find articles, video tutorials, and more.