How to handle small business owners who are resistant to change

Written on May 16, 2019

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

CPAs are trusted business advisors to clients, and that relationship can sometimes mean pushing small business owners into the 21st century with updated technology.

Ilona_Daw_Krizman“One client doesn’t understand why he needs to have software for inventory, and I tell him, ‘There’s a lot more you need to do now,’” said Ilona Daw Krizman, CPA, managing principal at Krizman and Associates LLC in Chardon. “I try to push them more toward the technology, and their reluctance is they don’t see a benefit and it’s very difficult. So, you’re constantly reiterating that they have to work with technology.”

Krizman works in Geauga county with welders, farmers, landscapers, convenience store owners, and even one client who sells chicken parts. She often helps small business owners develop business plans, and while some of her clients are open to implementing applications like QuickBooks and Wave, others are tough to convince.

“The younger people don’t know about it, and the older people think they don’t need it,” Krizman said.

After she explains the need to track monthly reports, who owes money and use the other helpful aspects of basic accounting software, Krizman said clients usually are more open to the software. And because most of her clients have smaller operations, they’re able to use the free version.

“A lot of them travel for work and need to track their miles,” she said. “If they are doing jobs, they have to do payroll taxes in the city and where they work in each city and it gets a little bit convoluted.”

The need to purchase insurance is something Krizman said she regular tells clients, especially on things like worker’s compensation and vehicles used for the business. She also explains the importance of separating personal and business accounts.

Krizman encourages small business owners to find the free resources available to them and check out the local chamber of commerce and SCORE, a network of volunteer and expert business mentors available to help entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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