“LivePlan had everything I needed to build out and scale.”

With decades of experience as an accountant, controller, CFO, and businesswoman, Enae Jackson-Atkins was already respected in her field and by her clients. Go-getter. Smart adviser. Passionate about using accounting to help businesses thrive. However, her own business had hit a ceiling. She was struggling to figure out the right way to scale so she could serve more clients.

And then, in early 2020, the COVID pandemic hit—bringing with it business shutdowns and economic uncertainty.

“Without LivePlan,” says Enae, “my business probably wouldn't be here today.”

Highly respected by her clients and with decades of experience as an accountant, controller, CFO, and businesswoman-Enae was looking for the right way to scale her business.
Highly respected by her clients and with decades of experience as an accountant, controller, CFO, and businesswoman—Enae was looking for the right way to scale her business.

Using LivePlan forecasts to help businesses apply for federal COVID relief programs

Like many business owners, Enae was worried her clients would cancel their contracts. COVID hit Enae personally too. After recovering from the coronavirus, Enae examined her clients and her firm's potential. She wondered how she could do more to help other businesses—especially as she got word of Small Business Administration (SBA) aid programs opening up.

Initially, SBA COVID relief programs required forecasts, but many business owners didn't have any. Clients suddenly needed forecasts, right away, so they could apply for relief. The challenge, though, was figuring out how to complete forecasts for multiple clients, quickly and accurately.

“Immediately, I was able to handle six clients. I got their forecasts done and got their applications done.”

“I got an email about a LivePlan forecasting webinar,” recalls Enae.“When I checked it out, it clicked for me. The templates were already ready to go. They had recorded the instructions. I saw I could do this and make it work.”

Shortly after, Enae subscribed to LivePlan and started using its forecasting tools.“ Immediately, I was able to handle six clients. I got their forecasts done and got their applications done.”

With contingency plans and funding in place, Enae's clients could continue operations.

“I did some cash forecasting and worst-case scenarios for all my clients,” she explains. “I could tell them exactly how long their cash would last, and run through scenarios with their personnel. For existing clients, I offered them free COVID relief advising services, on the condition that they would renew their contracts.”

Only one client declined.

“They came back two months later,” says Enae. “They said they didn't understand how much I had been doing, and they couldn't do it.”

Leveraging LivePlan's forecasting tools allowed Enae to quickly assist her clients to apply for relief funding and establish contingency plans.
Leveraging LivePlan's forecasting tools allowed Enae to quickly assist her clients to apply for relief funding and establish contingency plans.

Initial success quickly led to a need to scale

It wasn't long before Enae learned that her work was paying off. “I soon heard I had already gotten three clients approved,” she says. “The SBA even complimented the format I had used, and that was all LivePlan.”

As word of these early successes got around, clients began referring more business to Enae. She quickly saw, though, that it was going to be more than she could take on. The types of forecasting and strategy she needed to do would take too long in spreadsheets or other tools. That prevented Enae from feeling she could make big commitments to her clients during such a tenuous time.

“Who had time in March and April 2020 to create new workflows? I didn't,” she explains. “I needed to scale. That's when I tapped into the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising.”

“The SBA even complimented the format I had used, and that was all LivePlan.”

Instead of having to create and refine workflows, lists, and templates, Enae built on the resources that were already part of LivePlan. When onboarding a new advising client, Enae starts working through ready-to-use checklists. Instead of having to manually build out workflows, she can dive deeper into understanding her new client's situation, needs, and potential ways forward.

“I realized that the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising would become my premier offering,” says Enae. “LivePlan had everything I needed to build out and scale.”

Adopting the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising has allowed Enae to curate different service packages that are easy to scale and serve different client needs.
Adopting the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising has allowed Enae to curate different service packages that are easy to scale and serve different client needs.

Scaling from accounting service to business strategy partner with LivePlan

Drawing on her years of experience as an on-the-ground accountant, financial executive, and small business owner, Enae realized that Esquire Accounting could offer far more than balancing the books. In addition to managing a business's accounting needs, Esquire's high-level value comes from advising businesses on their overall short-term and long-term strategy, growth, and profit.

“Everyone gets a monthly report with KPIs,” says Enae. “LivePlan presents the information in such a granular way. I can produce so much more for my clients.”

“I could use LivePlan to process numbers, and I could focus my time and energy on the relationships, the discussion, and the strategy.”

Enae now uses the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising with all of her clients. She's also used LivePlan's features to develop different packages depending on each client's needs. While basic tiers cover forecasting and reports, more advanced tiers include one-on-one meetings and hands-on Strategic Advising.

“When you advise, you become accountable. You become a partner,” says Enae. “You are making a personal sacrifice to be willing to stick your neck out there. LivePlan helped me develop those partnerships to scale. I could use LivePlan to process numbers, and I could focus my time and energy on the relationships, the discussion, and the strategy.”

Enae is able to run and analyze multiple scenarios within LivePlan to better advise her clients on the best course of action.
Enae is able to run and analyze multiple scenarios within LivePlan to better advise her clients on the best course of action.

Scenarios become a road map for business owners

For business owners, Enae suggests considering the “small investment” in LivePlan as buying back time. “LivePlan becomes your strategic financial analysis department,” she explains. “You don't have to compile the information. Your Strategic Advisor works on the strategy, and you can focus on your customers.”

LivePlan's robust forecasting tools have helped Enae show her clients not only where their businesses are, but where they could be. She and her clients can discuss different what-if scenarios. Together, they examine how changes in sales, hours, marketing, or personnel can impact the overall course of the business over the next one to nine months. That insight and visibility has proven especially useful during the pandemic.

“I love the different scenarios LivePlan can come up with,” says Enae. “During the pandemic, the challenge for business owners is not knowing. We met that challenge by creating different scenarios in LivePlan.”

“The challenge for business owners is not knowing. We met that challenge by creating different scenarios in LivePlan.”

By running and analyzing these scenarios, Enae has been able to advise her clients on a suggested course of action. Even while weathering economic and cash flow uncertainties, businesses working with Enae understood how they could retain personnel, control costs, and see what revenue they could expect to work with.

“Being able to punch those things into LivePlan and review it at such a granular level of detail, we could see exactly how we needed to do our strategy,” says Enae. “Because we could do that with LivePlan, we could make informed decisions, and celebrate successes on the other side of it.”

Clients no longer had to feel like they were in a constant crisis mode. Instead, they could be strategic and forward-thinking—while retaining the capacity to manage day-to-day issues.

“It was only because we could lay those scenarios into LivePlan that we could be strategic about it,” says Enae. “LivePlan presented the road map for us.”

Enae's clients are far more motivated to dive into their financials and plan thanks to how simple LivePlan makes it to update and present information.
Enae's clients are far more motivated to dive into their financials and plan thanks to how simple LivePlan makes it to update and present information.

Pitch tools get businesses excited to grow

While business owners have come for the forecasts and stay for the advising, many of them found new motivation by working with LivePlan's pitching tools.

“My clients have never been so excited about digging in and updating their business plans,” says Enae. “One of my clients was so excited even about adding her logo to the pitch. We pitched to one of her investors on a Tuesday. That Friday, they told me the investor did one hundred percent of what they'd asked for—and as a grant that they didn't have to pay back.”

“My clients have never been so excited about digging in and updating their business plans.”

Enae credits LivePlan's pitch, summary, and business plan tools with being able to smoothly help clients prepare to talk with investors. “There's no way I would have been able to do those deliverables without the way LivePlan sets things up.”

By using LivePlan, Enae has been able to help more clients develop their pitch materials, including forecasts, elevator pitches, and executive summaries. Together, they can draft initial materials, test them out, and then easily rewrite, review, and refine each element of the pitch. The Pitch also builds on the rest of the plan and forecasts, by tying in numbers and documentation to support claims or answer questions.

“LivePlan does it so well,” says Enae. “I don't have to look anywhere else.”

 
Applying the LivePlan Method and exploring scenarios for her own business, has allowed Enae to quickly grow and use that experience to better lead her clients.

LivePlan isn't just for Enae's clients, but for her business too

Through Esquire Accounting, Enae also works with a staff of three. Two employees manage accounting and bookkeeping duties. One contractor focuses on Esquire's sales and marketing messaging and outreach. This frees up Enae's time, enthusiasm, and energy to focus not only on client relationships but on Esquire's own strategy.

And for that, she realized she was already using the tool she needed to steer the course of her own business.

She'd looked into some options for her business, but without a strategy, and she had wound up losing money without hitting the scale she needed. “I was spinning my wheels,” says Enae. However, as she started applying LivePlan not only to her clients but to her own operations, Enae began to see her own road map come together.

“Before LivePlan, I was making decisions that were poorly informed. Now I test everything through my business first, before I take it to my clients.”

“I didn't have time to work out capacity,” says Enae. “LivePlan had that worked out. I could plug in rates and even figure out my own capacity for work in my firm, without error. Now I can tell you how many clients I can run through my firm without having to add another person or what I need to sub-contract. That changed my world.”

From SWOT analyses to quarterly reviews, Enae has been able to scale her business, add more clients, and increase her level of service—while growing her profits. She can make better-informed decisions about her cash flow, investments, and other financial decisions.

“Before LivePlan, I was making decisions that were poorly informed. Now I test everything through my business first, before I take it to clients, and I've been able to help my clients grow,” she says. “My firm has grown too. As an adviser, as a business owner, LivePlan is a no-brainer.”

 
With the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising, Enae is able to encourage her clients to dive deep into their business operations and be excited about it.

Helping clients be excited every day to be in their business

As Enae looks down the horizon to how her business can grow, she sees LivePlan as a cornerstone.

“I want Esquire to be an accounting firm that specializes in the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising.”

Forecasting, crafting pitches, refining business plans, steering long-term and day-to-day strategy: Enae first started using LivePlan with two advisory clients. Now she has a dozen.

“There's no way I could have done that for twelve clients,” she says. “Being an accountant and a LivePlan adviser helps my clients tap into that road map.”

“The more I work with the people at LivePlan, the more I work with my clients using LivePlan, the more I use LivePlan, the more I see LivePlan has been the best business decision I've made.”

With time and resources freed up to focus on relationships and strategy, Enae can see the business owners she works with growing not only profits, but satisfaction with their businesses too. The guidance and support she can provide via the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising helps Enae put clients in a place where they're excited every day to be in their business.

“The more I work with the people at LivePlan, the more I work with my clients using LivePlan, the more I use LivePlan, the more I see LivePlan has been the best business decision I've made,” says Enae. “I want to make it the best decision my clients make too.”

« Return to case studies

Set up scalable & profitable advisory services.
Try LivePlan for Strategic Advisors free for 90 days.

Start now