Accounting Done Differently – Tedd Drattell of The A Team Executive Management

Drattell, Founder and CEO of The A Team Executive Management

Tedd Drattell, the Founder and CEO of The A Team Executive Management, grew his company’s revenue from $1.3 million in 2014 to $2.3 million in 2017, a 76% increase, and to around $2.4 million in 2018.  

The A Team Executive Management provides expert accounting and financial services, as well as accounting technology.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Tedd shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Building a team that’s comfortable with technology and with working with clients in person and remotely.  
  • Developing a company culture that promotes camaraderie and teamwork.  
  • Working with clients on-site or remotely, per their preferences.  

Computer generated transcript - The A Team Executive Management Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

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Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Tedd Drattell, the Founder and CEO of The A Team Executive Management, a provider of expert accounting and financial services, as well as accounting technology. Welcome to the show Tedd.

Tedd Drattell: Thank you. I appreciate it. Malcolm

Malcolm Lui: Tedd, you grew your company's revenue from $1.3 million in 2014 to $2.3 million in 2017, a 76% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $2.4 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Tedd Drattell: Shaw. So you know we provide outsourced accounting services so we act as part time bookkeepers controllers and see a pose for clients and we also do technology consulting. So we help companies with books integration and applications that work with it that make them more efficient as well as Ice Age intact.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Fantastic. So when you grow a business from one point three million in 2014 to two point four million in 2018 what were the three biggest drivers of that growth

Tedd Drattell: The people I mean our staff is amazing. I mean we've gotten really much better at. Hiring and vetting our staff. We found it much more. Successful to hire lesser experienced people and teach them our way which was which was really a big part of the growth. Secondly we worked really hard on culture and you know the DLP company culture which was very different than what we started almost 18 years ago. And I would say the third piece is just you know we're known in the marketplace and we're really one of the few companies left that will actually go on site to talk to a client. Most of our competition just want to do it remotely. And obviously it's a less a less expensive way to do business. But I find it we do a better have a better work product and really connect with the client much better Wal-Mart. We're going to the work site

Malcolm Lui: Fantastic. Now can you talk a little bit about each of these three drivers this recap number one people. Number two your company culture. Number three going to do the work onsite as opposed to remotely. I got those three drivers right. Okay. So in terms of people were you hiring less experienced folks at the very beginning or did you have an aha moment and said you know hiring these seasoned people just aren't working. Let's go a little bit further up the up the vine and get some get some people who are not as experienced up

Tedd Drattell: Out in

Malcolm Lui: Out of

Tedd Drattell: The old in the old days we were hiring a much more experienced staff but we were finding that there was a technology gap there and just over time the need for technology skills whether it's understanding the accounting software being extra extraordinarily proficient with Excel we're just so important knowing how to use the different applications like go back. And you know as a primary one that we use inexpensive high and things like that and just the the older workers just didn't adapt to it that well they didn't want to change and the younger people we were up we're hiring a thirst for that kind of knowledge and training. So we found it much more effective. You know what they didn't know what to teach it all.

Malcolm Lui: Right now. Do you find recruiting people is a challenge. There's a finding people finding the people that meet your criteria criteria and in that becoming successful hires is that a challenge.

Tedd Drattell: It was for a while but all we've done over the last couple of years we created what I'll call a hiring playbook. So. So from that playbook we have a very defined process as to how we hire. So we won't even see anybody in person we give them a series of tests online tests that we administer and we have certain thresholds that they have to meet and if they don't meet those thresholds we don't. We don't go any further. They meet those thresholds then they speak to. One of our senior people who's really good at adding staff. And then if we have a good feel good flavor for for their fit into the company more than anything because that's really what that call is about is a fit. Then we bring them in. So they're going to meet with anywhere from three to five people. And there's two two to three interviews. It depends. And one of the things we do also is we create it. I'll call it a financial statement test where we give somebody a set of financial statements. It's something I created about 10 years ago and we give it to every single candidate. It helps us understand their level of a their level of knowledge. How they prepare. How much confidence they have in themselves. And it's a really key differentiator because I've had people where I thought I was going to hire them. And we we we administered that test which is it's kind of like how we deal with a client you know when we go in and we we have to assess a set of financial statements figure out what's wrong. That's what they're doing. And it just makes a whole big difference. And then another thing we've been doing over the last year is we administer a risk assessment which some people call it a personality test but it's really not to be a communication style test. And it just ferrets out you know Web again more from a culture standpoint they are a cultural fit. Well they will they work together well with our staff and with our clients

Malcolm Lui: Right

Tedd Drattell: And you know we don't not that many people out because of it but we do not people out. And also it helps us understand how to communicate in a way that's effective

Malcolm Lui: Right now for a number. Now before I move on actually now you're in New York and pick up a lot of job opportunities out there. Why have you found it not to be problematic to find people interested in interviewing

Tedd Drattell: Because what we're doing is we're looking for accounting firm refugees people who want work life balance that don't want to work crazy hours that spike up and down all year long you know we're pretty much you know a 40 hour a week shop. And you know there's a little overtime but not that much does work kick up in January February at some. But it's again it's pretty steady all year long. So they don't have that kind of lifestyle you lead in public accounting. So we're just an alternative is you know for somebody that wants that balance work or a good place to be.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. Okay. So for number two the second driver company culture he talked a little bit about that you know is it something that kind of happened on its own or one that you had a target in mind and you drove that culture to that end target.

Tedd Drattell: Weekly. We worked really hard on it more recently than not. And it's really just kind of creating camaraderie. It's training. It's and that's a big part of it because our our population are mostly millennials and they want to learn and we're providing those opportunities. Then we have a training grant from New York City. And you know with with those dollars you know we're able to give people more opportunities to train

Malcolm Lui: All right. So how do you go about creating camaraderie

Tedd Drattell: Celebrate success celebrate birthdays anniversaries you know. Happy Hours someone at the type of place where people are playing ping pong or pool or foosball or anything like that. Our office isn't big enough and we're all accountants sport. So it's just not that not that type of place. But again a lot of people go out to lunch. We do it all a once a month you know company lunch. We do. We do a really nice holiday party with summer party. So it's just a lot of little things.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Does those things add up for sure.

Tedd Drattell: And also when we're hiring we're also hiring culture so that makes a big difference as well. We're not looking for people you know that might be extraordinarily smart but if they can't play well in the sandbox then then we're not going to hire them.

Malcolm Lui: And it's a bit challenging to assess that in one day. You know from one day's worth of interviews. Which you say

Tedd Drattell: Absolutely. But you know what. Between the disk assessment the different tasks how they respond in an interview you know we're also doing reference checks but we do online reference checks so you tend to get better response rates as well as more more honesty because we don't know who said what

Malcolm Lui: Yep. So what's your take on reference checks as I always felt that the value is a bit limited. Like if I were to interview with someone in the references I provide are only would be a people who I had confirmed in advance when they give a reference and to that they'll give a positive reference as opposed to a negative reference right.

Tedd Drattell: I totally totally agree. But because the responses are anonymous then I find that we get much more honest

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yep

Tedd Drattell: Before

Malcolm Lui: I can. I

Tedd Drattell: We

Malcolm Lui: Can

Tedd Drattell: Were join

Malcolm Lui: See

Tedd Drattell: That I totally agree that you're totally right. You'd get somebody on the phone they were afraid to say anything bad and you know doing it online and doing it anonymously I think helps a lot.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah I can see that. All right. And number three the third driver be known in the marketplace as a company where you will do the work on site as opposed to remotely.

Tedd Drattell: Yep.

Malcolm Lui: How did that evolve.

Tedd Drattell: And we do plenty of remote work too and we just have clients that for whatever reason don't want us either. They don't have room for us. There's no need for us to be in their office but providing an onsite service is just so valuable. You learn so much just by being there by interacting by listening and I know it. It creates issue not issues challenges obviously when you're hiring because you need somebody that has a good bedside manner that can go into a client and a do the work but be interacting in a professional manner when they're doing it remotely. Mostly everything's by email so you don't have to worry about that as much

Malcolm Lui: Now do you tend to gravitate recommend that you work on site and then you work remotely if the client doesn't wish that. Or is it

Tedd Drattell: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: The other way around. Okay.

Tedd Drattell: Yeah. I mean we definitely lead with the fact that we work on site because again it's a it's a key differentiator as far as I'm concerned.

Malcolm Lui: Yep. Now do you also train your people to do it over time to let the client know about other services to keep an ear out about other gaps that they might have

Tedd Drattell: What

Malcolm Lui: Being at their on

Tedd Drattell: We

Malcolm Lui: Site

Tedd Drattell: Do we do we could do a better job of that. We actually have one of our senior people working on that now making sure that they connect with our clients on a regular basis. Other than the staff that works on them it just makes us a making sure we're doing a good job and seeing if it's anything helpful. Whether it's ourselves or other service professionals.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. What type of process are you think about implementing to help with that right now.

Tedd Drattell: Again we're creating this again playbook another big word of honor of how to how to do this client follow ups and then speak to them. Obviously people are busy. So you've got a catch him at the right time and b make sure they get value out of. So we're doing homework before we do those conversations with our person Ryan Moore that's handling it. He's speaking to the staff that. That works with the client and making sure he understands you know what what what their challenges look like and what their numbers are and seeing what kind of value add we can offer. Again it doesn't have to be our services. It could be you know lawyers and H.R. professionals could be anything.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. Now for 2018. You grew your business from two point three million in 2017 to two point four million dollars an 18. What happened there in terms of the slowdown in your growth trajectory from prior years.

Tedd Drattell: It is really a combination of you know we introduced our technology services and in a much bigger way than we had in the past. And I think it was the way we initially approached it I think was it was a distraction and it took us a while to figure out how to do it in a way that that resonated with with clients. So that that was part of it. And secondly we kind of weeded through some of our staff that you know really weren't that good cultural fit. We had to change them out. That's distract

Malcolm Lui: Right. So you had a new product line introduction right. Your technology

Tedd Drattell: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: Services. Now

Tedd Drattell: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: Does that also mean that it impacted your business development because you're focusing. You didn't necessarily hire more people to market and sell at the technology service. This is an additional product line that your existing team was selling. Is that how it works.

Tedd Drattell: A couple of different things. So we hired a Director of Technology Services in November Keith Cioffi and he's awesome. And so he's pretty well known in the marketplace. So that that has helped bring in some new business. Secondly we changed the way we did our marketing we used to do it in-house. And I was finding that that wasn't very effective. And we we outsourced it. And Tom Barstow who works on our team was outsourced. You know was CMO was absolutely fantastic. He understands our business. He's very practical and he's getting stuff done.

Malcolm Lui: You see an in-house person are you. He's your outsourced

Tedd Drattell: He's

Malcolm Lui: Person

Tedd Drattell: Outsourced so he's he's he's remote. You know he participates on our periodic management team meetings. He participates in those and that is he's remote.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. All right. And how not to that 2018 it was a transition year where two months into 2019. How are things looking now.

Tedd Drattell: Got off beginning of the year to a rousing start 2019 is looking really well. One of the things we did at the end of 2017 is we hired a coach David Sobel from CEO International and the one thing he's awesome at that we're not is kind of sales strategy. So we really weren't working on that. And we've got quite ambitious targets for 2019 but we have a plan. We have a very detailed plan as to how we're going to do it and who's got to do what.

Malcolm Lui: Can you share those sales targets are

Tedd Drattell: Sure. So are our stretch goals to grow 50 percent in 2008

Malcolm Lui: Okay. And what's your kind of finding. I work with a coach as well and he has this thing called Bubbles

Tedd Drattell: Right

Malcolm Lui: And stretch is is is the s in that phrase. And then he has another one at the bottom. The B M what he calls the the bare minimum.

Tedd Drattell: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Do you have a bear day barest minimum growth looking for two thousand ninety

Tedd Drattell: Well with this depth that we've hired over the last two months we should we should achieve a minimum of 30 percent growth.

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Tedd Drattell: And we just did that make another couple other key hires and that'll bridge that gap from 30 to 50

Malcolm Lui: Okay. And what challenges do you foresee to figure out and overcome to get to your 50 percent. I know you mentioned you you need to hire some more staff. Are there other challenges that you need to sort out.

Tedd Drattell: Well I mean the thing is as you're growing it's really important that you always maintained your quality and that people are that that are. Responsible for supervising. Don't get too busy where they can't supervise and review work. So. So that's always been our challenge as we as as we've grown in the past as to maintain quality. But we are laser focused on it. So I'm feeling pretty good about it right now.

Malcolm Lui: Okay now what are your plans on the marketing side. They generate leads for your sales team to close

Tedd Drattell: Sure. So one of the things we did with Tom is we we bought a very targeted list of companies in the metro area that a certain profile. And Tom is reaching out to them in a very personal way. And we're looking to generate higher level services you know CFO services and technology services or executive search services which I mentioned that we deal with those companies. So I think the list we bought was 3000 companies and now he's going through them one by one and reaching out to them he's got a couple of bites right. We just started doing it and feeling very good about it. We're raising our profile on LinkedIn both my partner and I really changed Arlington pages. We hired somebody to help us with that and for both of us has really increased our traffic. And unfortunately this as far as I'm concerned a lot of it's people trying to sell me. So that's not too exciting but I definitely feel that there is a lot more traffic driven to Arlington sites and ultimately we're going to be on Facebook as well.

Malcolm Lui: Right now. You talked about. You bought a list of companies now. Have you found a quality that less because oftentimes when I work with clients who have bought lists and at the end of the day when they see what see what the results are the quality is not so great. Oftentimes the lists have been resold dozens of times hundreds of times. Who knows how many times

Tedd Drattell: Honestly it's too early to know I mean Tom's bottle was from this company before so he says it's pretty good qualities but we'll find out and we'll find out what the return on investment is.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Tedd Drattell: I mean the reality is we only need to get one client from that list one or two clients from that list to pay for it. So so I'm very optimistic that that will pan out.

Malcolm Lui: Now I took a look at your online marketing presence. Before we jumped on the call here and I didn't see a lot in terms of paper click advertise man or CEO related traffic. What

Tedd Drattell: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: Do you think of that.

Tedd Drattell: We've done paperclip before. We've spent quite a lot of money in years past and just the quality of the business that we got was poor and we just got a lot of price shoppers. So I'm not interested in doing that again. You know the ACL we did do our Web site redo our Web site last year and we used a different company and you do a good job I think visually it looks much better the branding is much better but we really need to optimize our

Malcolm Lui: What are your thoughts about optimizing it. What's the strategy there.

Tedd Drattell: In a lot of it just comes down to keywords. I mean you know one of Tom's goals is to generate a certain amount of traffic and then leads himself and you know through whether it's optimization and linked in ads and Facebook ads and things like that you know that that's supposed to turn into that traffic.

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Tedd Drattell: So again it's too early to know yet but you know as we go later into the year well we'll find out

Malcolm Lui: Okay. Now Tom I thought was or was your fractional CMO. Is he doing sales work as well.

Tedd Drattell: No he's our fractional CEO

Malcolm Lui: Okay. So I mentioned how I thought you mentioned Tom's also reaching out to the people on your list

Tedd Drattell: Yes. Sorry. So he's doing it by now. Things like that.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. At what point does someone on your side take it over in and work with them from

Tedd Drattell: I

Malcolm Lui: A sales

Tedd Drattell: Assume

Malcolm Lui: Capacity

Tedd Drattell: As somebody as soon as somebody expressed interest and a chance of.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. I know we've come up with LinkedIn strategies to reach out to people and engage them and then handed over to our our client sales team. When we get to that point as well. But it's a it's a hours intensive work right. I mean is Tomah spending quite a bit of time on this.

Tedd Drattell: Now you know is he's got he generated a kind of a series of different types of letters. So it's the moment it hasn't been terribly time consuming

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Tedd Drattell: Again.

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Tedd Drattell: We just started the process so it's just too early to tell.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay got it. Now any other big challenges big rocks that you have in your backpack that you're carrying around that you would just love to unload

Tedd Drattell: Well the only other thing word we're looking at like a sales coordinator to our team you know one of the things my partner Dominic a bag and I are finding is you know we're at the moment inundated with business and work where we're tending to it. But at some point our ability to attend to all of it is is going to go down. And secondly if Tom generates his half as many leads as he thinks there's just no way where we're going to be able to handle that. So we've we're actively recruiting for sales coordinator.

Malcolm Lui: As I coming along

Tedd Drattell: Great. We've actually are recruiting Joe Morelli as found people with amazingly with accounting backgrounds that don't either want to do accounting anymore or just looking to take to make to make more money. And so we've got good candidates just downwards. We started the process over the last month. So we have nobody to hire yet but I'm confident with the people we have in the hopper one of them will be the right person.

Malcolm Lui: Right now. You mentioned your recruiter is the in-house recorder. Is he an in-house recruiter or someone that you brought on board a third party someone you'd outsource that function to

Tedd Drattell: No. So so it's a it's a W2 employee. All right.

Malcolm Lui: Like

Tedd Drattell: So so Joan recruits for us for our staff and she recruits for clients as well.

Malcolm Lui: Okay now something which I've noticed is that businesses that are on the lower end of the spectrum revenue wise even in your range right the 2 million or so area the business owners are a bit reluctant to outsource work. And I think it's primarily from a cost perspective. You on the other hand you can get a different track. You're open toward outsourcing. Can you share a little bit about how that came to be

Tedd Drattell: Sure. So. A couple of different things. So one we're in the business of outsourcing so I get it. I think a lot of times you get the best bang for your buck by hiring a part time expert rather than you know a full time person that might be okay at it but not an expert. So that's why we do it same

Malcolm Lui: So

Tedd Drattell: Thing

Malcolm Lui: You found

Tedd Drattell: On the same thing on the I.T. side. We outsource I.T.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So you're finding even though maybe if you look at it a purely absolute thought our first decade per our bases or or whatnot it seems high but then when you factoring all things considered the the productivity. Quality of expertise getting job done right. At the end it ends up being a lower cost overall

Tedd Drattell: Ops absolute

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. Awesome. What trends do you see in the outsource accounting and accounting services space. The

Tedd Drattell: A couple of trends. A couple of big trends going on so slowly the whole concept of A.I. is coming into the market. Those are two companies that are out there saying they do it I think over time it will. It will happen but I think it's kind of kind of capture all the lower end of the market. More and more so than anything there's a lot of businesses that widget it will just never work with because they just require too much hands on work to get to get their accounting done so that's a big piece of it. Secondly there's just so many applications out there that plug gaps and software. For instance paying bills directly through quick box let's say isn't the most efficient way to do it. There there there is a lot of applications out there that just do it better faster. I'm not linked to the accounting software and it just saves a tremendous amount of time. So whether it's Bill pay whether it's sales tax expense reporting there. There's just so many of them out there that do with inventory modules that will bridge the gap between let's say Amazon and their accounting system.

Malcolm Lui: Now how do you assess which platform to jump on to. Because the last thing you want to do is adopt technology and have that technology the becoming obsolete or the company goes out of business and then you're kind of in a bit of a bind a pickle. Right. So

Tedd Drattell: Yes

Malcolm Lui: You had

Tedd Drattell: Yes

Malcolm Lui: To make a position

Tedd Drattell: Yes it's real. It's really easy to get sucked into the application does your so we really try to stick to tried and true applications that are cost effective.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay

Tedd Drattell: To me there's no reason to switch something that's not broken.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Now now now that you brought up the idea of cost effectiveness as well as transfer I'm even in the marketing space is always the latest and greatest new way of reaching out to people. What have you found to be the most effective marketing channels that you used in the past and anybody anticipate would be the most effective going forward

Tedd Drattell: I mean we our biggest sources of business are clients and accounting firms. And that's really what we focus most of our marketing efforts on. And we spend time in networking groups things like that. To me I see them more as resources that we need for our clients rather than sources of business

Malcolm Lui: Okay. Now when you say biggest source of business coming from accounting firms but how does that work now.

Tedd Drattell: Well many times that the accounting firm can't provide the service because there's an independence issue so if they're providing you know a financial statement that requires attestation they can't do the underlying work. So. So there's an independence issue so they bring somebody else in. Secondly we do it at a different price point. So if you have a client that's that's cost sensitive then that's willing to accept that a third party to work work with them and we get that referral

Malcolm Lui: Are you actively looking to build up partnerships with accounting firms

Tedd Drattell: Now big because we don't really want to be perceived this tied to any one particular firm we work with a lot of them and so so no. So without that that doesn't really make sense for us. We are we really really wanted to have relationships reciprocal relationships with different media. I what I call a midsize firm

Malcolm Lui: Right to where you were you would directly be for business each other and you're not really working as a

Tedd Drattell: Yes

Malcolm Lui: As a outsource or a white label partner.

Tedd Drattell: Yes exactly.

Malcolm Lui: Make sense. All right. So if you had a magic wand which everyone always wishes to have at times and you could wave it what would be your your wish that you would want granted in regards to your business

Tedd Drattell: Well I mean is the thing that I find as we've grown is this basically it's easier to run a growing business than you than it is to run a stagnant one because when your business stagnates you never know when to hire. It's just it's very very challenging. I think if I wanted to wave a magic wand I'd really like to see us get over the five million dollar hump over the next couple of years and also increase our geography. So again it all comes down to strategy execution

Malcolm Lui: Right now when you say increase your geography. What do you mean by that. Just going outside of the great and just expanding your your radius around New York City are you talking about going into Boston going into Philadelphia

Tedd Drattell: And initially expanding the radius around New York City anymore. Most of our clients are either in the city or very close to the city. The way we got the client generally is tied somehow to the city but I really like us to expand much more into Jersey than we already are to Westchester to Long Island. Pretty big footprint there's no reason why we can't

Malcolm Lui: Now. How would I change your staffing issue. Because that means could potentially mean a longer commute for your team to go to your clients sites as you grow geographically.

Tedd Drattell: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: How

Tedd Drattell: Yeah. That's kind of the beauty of Manhattan in that you can get around you know pretty quickly you can do multiple multiple clients a day with with no trouble. It's different once you get outside of Manhattan you're getting into a car and you're traveling the clients kind of changes the economics somewhat but I think if you're providing premium service some of it just goes to the way you sell it.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Right. So are you thinking or you need to open some satellite offices

Tedd Drattell: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: One in

Tedd Drattell: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: New Jersey one in

Tedd Drattell: Yes. We're told we're totally rethinking our whole real estate strategy. So our office we've been in since 2010 is roughly 20 four hundred square feet or so. We're not too far from outgrowing it but I would actually be interested in exploring you know call it we work type space where we can we can grow as we need to. Rather than being kind of stuck you know with a certain footprint and you know you can fit a certain amount of people and that's it.

Malcolm Lui: Right and then the B two. We work right. If it turns out that the market's not growing as you anticipated you could exit more easily. Right. You're not stuck in a five year lease.

Tedd Drattell: Exactly. Exactly right.

Malcolm Lui: One question that came to mind that I wanted to ask you when you're talking about but then we went down a different track. You mean you have a you have a business coach and you could send details as to what the business coach does for you

Tedd Drattell: So. So he does a bunch of things for us so I have a call with him twice a month. My partner has a call with him at least once a month. We do strategy summits with him twice a year he comes into town and he meets with the whole management team. And so for instance the summit we did in December we came up with our business plan for 2019 and it was just awesome. Then he also periodically coaches you know other members of the team As needed basis

Malcolm Lui: All right. I have been working with them a long time

Tedd Drattell: Since November or December of 17. So not quite a year and a half

Malcolm Lui: Ok awesome. Well it sounds like he's adding that you guys are still working with him.

Tedd Drattell: A adding value to his company itself just puts on an annual event a learning event. It's two or three days. So I went to the first one last May it was absolutely fantastic. I

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Tedd Drattell: Mean the learning that came out of it was just so super.

Malcolm Lui: Are you a member of any masterminds with other outsourced accounting services and financial services firms

Tedd Drattell: I'm not. The other thing I do which occupies quite a bit of my time so I'm part of a entrepreneurs organization you know. So that's a learning organization that I've been involved with for 14 years I'm on the board for a couple of years now. And so what we do with is we break up into small groups one once a month. So it's kind of like a mastermind but it's with with a diverse business so I've been in that same group for 13 out of the 14 years. So the learning and the thoughts that come out of the EO forum is amazing and the learning just through you know is this fantastic.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah. A number of the number of my guests who I've interviewed are also members of EO and they say good things about that organization. Three last questions for you. First one you say you wanted to add a billboard to your marketing strategy. Say I'm one of the busy freeways or or term pikes out in the New York area. What would your billboard say and remind you only have six seconds where the message right people drive by.

Tedd Drattell: Right. Right. Wow I mean I'm not I'm not I'm certainly a marketing genius. So it's not just jumping off you know jumping to mind that I would I would probably do something that talks about you know our differentiator or accounting done differently you know something like that

Malcolm Lui: That's a good one. Counting done differently. I like that. Actually I mean six seconds you read that. People go That's interesting.

Tedd Drattell: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Tedd Drattell: Yeah. What what does what does that mean. I think it's a little intriguing.

Malcolm Lui: Yes.

Tedd Drattell: You know for instance I'll give you a kind of an analogy. So yesterday I got a. Outreach from a company that was interested in bookkeeping services. She wanted to know what what we do and how much we charge. And I said tell us why can't we do a phone call so I can really understand what you need. And then I could tell you what it would cost because it makes a difference of what level of person I need. What kind of services we're doing. So she said well I just need plain bookkeeping. So. So I set her back a list of about twenty five questions as if

Malcolm Lui: All right

Tedd Drattell: These questions for me and that that I can give you what you what are looking for. So she answered me back. Let's have a phone call. So

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Tedd Drattell: We grab a phone call set up for this afternoon. But again

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Tedd Drattell: You know people think it's cookie cutter but it's not it depends on an industry in hands upon the information that a person is even aware of that exists and then B if they don't know that exists you can't do that that they're not aware of.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah exactly. Yeah I get that as well in speaking to prospective clients right. Yeah they're not aware about what all the options are. When you said you know plain bookkeeping I just started checking because I know that there's more of the bookkeeping and just bookkeeping right there so many nuances about it. All right to ask questions for you. Who are your ideal clients and what's the best way for them to contact your team

Tedd Drattell: Shaw So an ideal client is to me is somebody that that values what accounting what top notch accounting brings to the table rather than looked at it as as a cost. They look at it as an opportunity because the information that can be provided can be so so valuable and they have to trust us to let us do our job and show them you know what that what that information is. Period. And what they can do not get. I'll give you an example like we have a lot of service companies and you know we want to be able to show the client you know if people enter their time in some sort of timekeeping system that time the cost of that time gets entered into the accounting system. We can tell them what their profitability is by client by employee thinks things like that. And so many people are just so interested in that we have in the service business to me that's the most important thing.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. I mean it allows you to know where to allocate your resources right.

Tedd Drattell: Yeah. Or what kind of business to go after.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah exactly. I remember reading a story about how Charles Schwab I'm sure that they got on well beyond this now. This was like maybe 15 years ago but we called in Charles Schwab right on their end your profile already pulls up at your already color coded and they know exactly what type of client you are what priority to give you. So they give you the service that that they get that they've already tiered for you in advance which is fantastic right. It's just it improves the overall customer experience

Tedd Drattell: Absolutely.

Malcolm Lui: And the best way for them to reach a team.

Tedd Drattell: The best way is probably by by email which is t Dratel. These are a TTL l 18 Consulting. The best way they call me 6 4 6 7 8 3 1 9 4 0. So those are really the two best ways to get a

Malcolm Lui: Okay. Would you mind spelling out your Web site domain name just so that people know exactly

Tedd Drattell: Shore.

Malcolm Lui: What to type in

Tedd Drattell: So it's the letter A team am consulting dot com.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Fantastic. I've really enjoyed our conversation Ted. It's been a fantastic interview with you.

Tedd Drattell: Thank you. Malcolm I appreciate it.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Tedd Drattell, the Founder and CEO of The A Team Executive Management, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit

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