Often you hear references to big corporations and small businesses as if they are competitors. But in real life there tends to be a complex symbiotic relationship between the two groups. Each needs the other.
For instance, millions of small businesses have benefited from products provided by some very large corporations — products we small business owners sometimes could not run our businesses without. And those large corporations need us small businesses — because we are their customer base.
But it can go deeper than merely providing and using a product, however valuable that may be.
Some savvy small business owners have figured out how to make a business out of becoming expert in a particular product provided by a large corporation. They then turn around and help other small businesses use that product. You often see this with a highly specialized product like small business accounting software.
Exact Accounting is a perfect example of one such company. Exact Accounting has built an entire business around a product provided by a large corporation: QuickBooks small business accounting software.
Recently I had a phone conversation with Steven Cohen, the CEO of Exact Accounting. From the company name you might automatically assume they are an accounting firm. Well — not exactly. As Steven says, “We are not CPAs, we are QuickBooks specialists.”
Exact Accounting specializes in helping businesses install QuickBooks and set up their books using the popular small business accounting software. Now, helping businesses install and set up QuickBooks is not all that unusual. You can find other QuickBooks professionals who provide a similar service. Even some local accounting firms provide such a service.
Here is what’s different with Exact Accounting:
- All they do is help companies use QuickBooks.
- They do everything remotely via the Internet.
In other words, Exact Accounting has isolated a few services that are replicable and they are providing them over and over. The business model is scalable, because they can keep adding customers, presumably to a limitless number. They have perfected a business model whereby they can provide the service regardless of geography (at least within the United States).
How do they provide the service remotely? According to the Exact Accounting FAQs, they do it via a secure high-speed Internet connection. Aided by screen sharing and having you on the telephone at the same time, they walk you through installing and setting up QuickBooks. They can also train you how to use it, troubleshoot problems, and so on. Because they only do certain functions, they are not a replacement for your local accountant. If anything, they can enhance the relationship with your local accountant, because then you can provide your accountant with accurate numbers.
This is an ingenious business model, made possible by the Internet and current technology. It’s one I’d like to see businesses adopt for products besides small business accounting software.
If you have a similar type of business whereby you are helping small businesses install and use a product, and are doing it remotely over the Internet, I invite you to leave a comment below with a link to your website. We’d love to hear about it.