By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager
For Amy Porter, starting her business was a combination of trusting her gut and being ready to go out on a limb.
“I wasn't afraid to go for it, I wasn't afraid to take a risk,” said Porter, the founder of Affinipay and the CPA Charge solution. “So many people talk about business ideas, and they overthink them. And the hardest part is literally to just start. You put it out there and just start one step at a time.”
Before starting AffiniPay, Porter worked in the payment industry. Eventually, she noticed a gap in the market for payment solutions for specific professions such as accounting or law, where it didn’t make sense for a traditional card machine sitting on someone’s desk to process payments. CPAs don’t have a traditional store check-out process. More options and flexibility are needed that match the way clients want to pay, including online, by phone, and sometimes still in the office.
“Previously nobody had really focused on the CPA market and build a solution just for CPAs,” she said. “For us, the question was how do we create a payment tool that improves the workflow of their business and helps them have a better experience with reconciliation and reporting?”
Porter started the business in Austin, Texas, where it remains today, and said the city is supportive of entrepreneurs and startups. Running her own business also allowed her flexibility, she said, because as a single mother at the time to two young children she could set her own schedule.
As AffiniPay has grown, Porter said the new challenges of moving from a start-up to a high-growth technology company continue to motivate her. With a team of over 200 staff, AffiniPay is now the largest payment solution in the country for professionals.
“I'm always looking to drive change and find solutions,” she said. “When there's limitations or obstacles, I'm going to figure out a way to make it work.”
Porter said over the years she’s learned to trust herself more, because although she never went to business school and jokes that she’s an “accidental entrepreneur,” trusting her intuition has proved successful. In 2016 she received the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in the financial technology category for the Central Texas region.
“As much as we are a transactional company in that we process payment transactions, we are a very human company,” Porter said. “And we've held on to that, and that's really at the core of all of it. We built a payment company with the goal to help our customers be successful.”
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