SNH19: Mayumi Young, Social Innovator and Founder of CPA MOMS®

David meets up with Mayumi Young, Founder and CEO of CPA MOMS®, at Scaling New Heights 2019 to talk time, technology, and how Society 5.0 will take over where the Information Age left off. In addition to her extensive CPA career, Young is a social innovator and entrepreneur, who has founded a social-enterprise incubator, Inspire Innovation Company, and as well as other companies that focus on different aspects of the financial side of life.

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Show Notes

  • 00:56 – Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast
  • 01:06 – David's at Scaling New Heights
  • 01:38 – Mayumi talks about life before CPA MOMS®
  • 03:13 – Why CPA MOMS® wants to be the “eHarmony” of the accounting world
  • 05:45 – How CPA MOMS® helps its mompreneurs – the CPA Moms – provide top-level service to entrepreneurs
  • 08:25 – Why CPA MOMS® is the perfect fit for military spouses and other remote or virtual service providers
  • 09:44 – Thanks to our sponsor, Halon Tax, you can provide a little peace of mind to your small business clients! 
  • 11:11 – How gender, and location affect pricing for CPA services. 
  • 12:42 – Mayumi explains why accountants and bookkeepers are becoming the bookends of technology. 
  • 15:15 – What is Society 5.0 and how will it make our lives better? 
  • 16:52 – Comparing Society 5.0 and the Information Age – which one wins? 
  • 18:38 – When will we see CPA DADS? 
  • 19:39 – Visit the CPA MOMS® to learn more about the company, find a wealth of resources, and discover your CPA pathway

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Transcript

This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by LivePlan. Did you know that millions of small businesses use LivePlan products to start their business? Did you know that these small businesses prefer a cloud-based accounting solution two times more versus a desktop solution? Did you know that 89 percent of these small business owners prefer virtual advisory services? Did you know that the number-one thing they want from an expert advisor is strategic planning and review? This is even more than general ledger accounting and bookkeeping services.
 
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David Leary: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting [00:01:00] Podcast. I'm your host, David Leary.
 
Mayumi Young: And I'm Mayumi Young. 
 
David Leary: Mayumi, thank you for joining us today. We're here at Scaling New Heights. This is one of the accounting conferences in our industry. We're doing live interviews this week, and for those of the listeners that maybe don't know who you are or have never heard of you before, please tell us ... Introduce yourself to the listeners.
 
Mayumi Young: Well, formally, my title is the Founder and CEO of CPA MOMS®. I am a CPA myself, but I'd like to represent myself to the world as a social innovator, which, in essence, means that I [00:01:30] create ventures that both make a profit and have purpose.
 
David Leary: I know you said you have CPA MOMS®, but what'd you do before CPA MOMS®? 
 
Mayumi Young: CPA MOMS® was my third social venture. First, as an entrepreneur, I launched a company that designed financial literacy curriculum for kids in schools. My second venture was creating coaching programs to help people transform their money mind trash - their emotional relationship to money; mostly entrepreneurs. CPA MOMS® was my third venture. Prior [00:02:00] to that, I did my tour at Price Waterhouse and-
 
David Leary: So you had a CPA background and you ended up in this space- 
 
Mayumi Young: My background is as a CPA, yep. I was a senior auditor there, and then I moved into industry, and I was in the corporate space - telecom. I was quickly promoted up a few ranks to handle all the European finance - Director of Operations; controlled about 13 countries. I did a lot of M&A work. When they were buying and acquiring new telecom companies, I would come in and integrate [00:02:30] all the systems and the teams and help with international consolidation, foreign currency, and all that stuff. I had a love for travel, so I kind of integrated and wove in some of my personal passions into my career path at the time. Back then, my big go-to was being a financial architect ... I dealt a lot with systems, and migrations, and integrations.
 
David Leary: So, I have been to the website, CPA MOMS®; you had your keynote yesterday. I'm not super-super-clear on what CPA MOMS® is [00:03:00] or does-
 
Mayumi Young: Sure. 
 
David Leary: -or for people that weren't at the keynote yesterday, and they have no idea, if you could just kind of give background on what it does, what its mission is. I'd even actually like to try to understand the business model a little bit.
 
Mayumi Young: Absolutely, yeah. The core of our business is to be what we call the “eHarmony” of the accounting world. What that means is we go out and we find talented CPA that are moms. We screen them; we test them; we train them, and then we match them to entrepreneurs looking for affordable accounting and tax solutions, and we do that nationwide. The [00:03:30] core reason for us to exist really revolves around that CPA mom, herself. We've, in essence, created an entire ecosystem that empowers and supports her. 

Fundamentally, we exist so as to build as many six-figure solo CPAs as we can. The way that we do that, I think, is rather unique in this space. If you think of the CPA mom, herself, as the hub of a wheel, and there's all these spokes that she needs, [00:04:00] in order to grow her practice to be successful, we look to see which spokes are missing, and we add that in. We wrap ourself around her and build this whole ecosystem to fill in the gaps, whether it's helping her with leads, helping her with training that's missing, technology, resources, community - pretty much anything that will help her truly succeed to accelerate the process of becoming her own solo mompreneur.
 
David Leary: You reference the tech company, eHarmony, right? 
 
Mayumi Young: Yes. 
 
David Leary: A lot of our listeners are familiar with QuickBooks Live, and some people [00:04:30] think of it as an Uber model.
 
Mayumi Young: Yep.
 
David Leary: Because every time you use QuickBooks Live, you might get a different bookkeeper or accountant. Yours is really like that match forever, hopefully. 
 
Mayumi Young: Yep. The "eHarmony" being that you find the perfect person. it's a one-to-one match ... There's a lot of directories out there. If you go to Upwork and all those other crowdsourced platforms, it's anyone matched to anyone.
 
David Leary: So, you're providing the match, but then you're providing all the training, and additional materials, and resources the CPA mom needs [00:05:00] to do the work. Then I guess that you're vetting- you're guaranteeing that back to the business owner that there's gonna be some quality standard? 
 
Mayumi Young: Yeah. We were very selective in our screening process, so just because ... The first criteria being that we work almost exclusively with CPAs, that sets a certain standard, from our perspective, in terms of the technical ability that we're looking for. Then, the further screening really looks to see what [00:05:30] kind of experience that professional has working specifically with entrepreneurs, because our point of view is that, having come out of industry, having come out of public, there's a gap between what corporate CPAs and public CPAs understand about what an entrepreneur really needs.
 
Entrepreneurs come with a whole big set of desired expectations from their CPA that are understood, and not communicated, and a lot of CPAs don't come with that knowledge set, so we kind of fill in the holes, in terms of their ability [00:06:00] to serve entrepreneurs more holistically, not just be somebody who can be a traditional accountant, or financial, or a tax professional, but really go beyond to be more of a business advisor. That's really what we're after.
 
David Leary: Are the CPA Moms part of your company, to where the small business owners pay you, then you're paying the CPA Moms, like that, or are they just- they're running their own thing, you're just playing matchmaker; they're running their own business. 
 
Mayumi Young: Right, yeah. In our original models, we were more of a virtual [00:06:30] consulting firm. In our current model, we act more like an agency. Think Jerry Maguire. Our job really is to find clients for the CPA, herself, and the client engages directly with the CPA. They're her clients. Our job is to perform those marketing services. We actually also perform billing services. We provide our own custom back-end technology, which helps integrate the whole back-office process between lead, the sales CRM, the billing, all the [00:07:00] KPIs, and so forth. From where we're standing, we want to provide a platform where the mom can spend more time servicing the client and less time thinking about the business aspects of building a practice-
 
David Leary: Which is always the hardest part anyway- 
 
Mayumi Young: It is. 
 
David Leary: People, they never get ... You're too busy servicing your clients, and then a week goes by, and you haven't done anything to run your business- 
 
Mayumi Young: Absolutely.
 
David Leary: -then another week goes by; another week ... You're really providing that, "We'll help you run your business. You just focus on servicing clients." That's the value prop. 
 
Mayumi Young: Absolutely, and it's symbiotic. You talked [00:07:30] about the platform- the business model ... The other piece of it is once they grow and they get to the stage where I'll call- they have the 'champagne problem,' where they have too many clients. Then they have to make a choice - are they gonna enhance their client base, or are they gonna grow a team?
 
We actually have a placement group where, inside of our network of CPA professionals or accountants - it doesn't have to be women; it doesn't have to be CPAs - in our broader community, we have the ability to screen those who are not ready to launch [00:08:00] their own thing; they just want to work virtually for a family friendly firm. We're able to support them with building their teams with other professionals that have also been highly screened.
 
David Leary: One thing you've definitely talked about - people being virtual, people being remote, and bookkeeping and accounting is the perfect job for that. I think you were talking about military spouses, because they constantly have to move, and their resume, every three years ... Can you speak to some of that motivation behind this?
 
Mayumi Young: Yeah. Military spouses are a really great example of how this model works [00:08:30] with anyone. I don't know that we necessarily focus on military spouses as much as ... We've had CPAs, who are the spouses of military, been stationed in multiple states. When that happens, it can be very disruptive to someone's career. When you work inside of our model, and you're a virtual professional already matched- 
 
David Leary: Virtual remote, yeah-
 
Mayumi Young: Absolutely. When you're already matched with a client, it doesn't really matter where you are physically [00:09:00] located, you can continue to service those clients. You don't have any loss of business. You don't have to ... Not just if you are the solo practitioner; if you're employed, as more of the - we'll call it - the 'intrapreneur,' who works for a firm. If you move around, you still have your job. You can still work virtually anywhere. I think that's powerful, especially for military wives- 
 
David Leary: Pre-cloud, that wasn't possible. If you had an accounting firm in the desktop world, and you had to drive to clients; you moved to a new city, you're gonna start from scratch. 
 
Mayumi Young: 100 percent. Absolutely. 
 
David Leary: Pre-cloud this wouldn't even have-  [00:09:30]
 
Mayumi Young: There's a lot of firms out there right now that I think are trying to be virtual, but they still have that brick-and-mortar presence, in essence. We're literally 100-percent virtual. Our entire organization is 100-percent virtual.
 
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David Leary: Do you set the prices? Does each CPA Mom set their own price? How does that work with the [cross talk] 
 
Mayumi Young: Before someone is represented by our agency, they go through our academy, and we give them what we call our entire 'blueprint' of how we've [00:11:00] built our own successful practice. In that blueprint, we give guidelines, and those guidelines generally raise the value of most of what the CPAS are typically used to charging.
 
David Leary: Okay. 
 
Mayumi Young: It's there to kind of establish, "Your value is much higher. Let's prove it," because this is how we've been able to build ... All over the country ... We have people who work in North Dakota, and from their framework, their value price point is much lower, and we have to give them a better perspective of this is what [00:11:30] the market in the country is willing to pay and uplift that pricing. 
 
Each CPA chooses her own pricing. It's her business. It's her practice. We support. We empower. We even review their sales proposals. In that review process, we're able to identify a lot of opportunity that a lot of these CPAs leave on the table. We find that a lot of the professional women, especially, undervalue themselves and underprice themselves quite a bit, so we like to help them [cross talk] Absolutely.
 
David Leary: Makes sense. A couple things in your keynote that stood [00:12:00] out to me was you kind of referenced how accountants and bookkeepers are like the bookends? You even had a slide, but I know I'm not capturing it correctly. I just remember, "Oh, ask her about that. She talked about bookends."
 
Mayumi Young: Yeah. Right now, as a practice, our job is to compile data and generate meaningful reports for our clients. The whole premise of the bookends was to say that a lot of that piece of what we're paid to do will be eliminated with technology or replaced with [00:12:30] technology. It won't eliminate the need for accountants, and I think that's the great fear in the industry is that, "Hey, there's not gonna be a need for us anymore!" I just don't believe that's true.
 
I think there's gonna be a redistribution of talent. That redistribution, in my mind, becomes the bookends around technology. The bookend is, on the front end, I would say, is the financial architect - the one who understands how map meaningfully the technology so [00:13:00] that, on the back end, the reports that are generated, the KPIs that are generated, the dashboards that are generated are truly meaningful and measure what matters to that particular business. The technology that's out there has all the pieces and parts, but I believe that the architects on the front end really sort of lay the framework for what that end result is gonna look like- 
 
David Leary: So, a little less doing and more design.
 
Mayumi Young: Absolutely. A lot more design and a lot more advisory, because, from where I'm standing, our [00:13:30] job and our value as professionals is gonna move from investing our time and taking that time - valuable time - that entrepreneurs don't have away, so that they can focus on the business. It's going to become more a function of how can we take the data and actually turn that data into dollars? What I mean by that is how are you going to help that client make more money? How are you gonna help them save money? 
 
That's what this technology is helping us do. It's eliminating the need for us to be concerned for the accuracy of the data and the timeliness of data production, [00:14:00] which is the most exciting thing since sliced bread, for me. I cannot wait for all the AI to catch up and truly replace the need for bookkeeping altogether. We'll be the first adopters. We're just looking for where this technology exists. Then, really, we become functionally much more valuable, and the talents that we have, as professionals, to advise becomes our core focus. That's what's really exciting about the future of our industry.
 
David Leary: Makes sense. Something else you brought up ... You used the term 'Society 5.0.'
 
Mayumi Young: Yeah. 
 
David Leary: I was like, "What is that?"
 
Mayumi Young: What is that?
 
David Leary: Yes, please [00:14:30] explain what Society ... Is this a term you've created on your own? 
 
Mayumi Young: No! I wish! There's the global leaders of the world, and I believe this was- the term was launched out of the Japanese government.
 
David Leary: Okay. 
 
Mayumi Young: No association. That is my heritage, but ... I'd love to take some credit, but I can take none. Basically, the global leaders have met at G20 summits and all these places where they're talking about what's coming in 2020 and beyond. There's this sort [00:15:00] of understanding that the Information Age that we've been all in for a while now is coming to an end. They've termed this new era 'Society 5.0.' 
 
In this new model, the idea is what happens when technology really has eliminated a lot of the concerns and a lot of the problems of the world? What will we do with our time? What will our lives be about? What's [00:15:30] really powerful about this next iteration is that we're starting to see technology become the tool for society that enables us to have more quality of life. That was supposed to be the promise of the Information Age, that we'd have all this technology, and we'd have all this time- 
 
David Leary: All those videos from the '50s, right?
 
Mayumi Young: Totally!
 
David Leary: This house is gonna do your own laundry and all these things.
 
Mayumi Young: It's coming!
 
David Leary: It's coming.
 
Mayumi Young: It's absolutely coming, but I think the big thing that was a disappointment for a lot of people who love [00:16:00] technology, as I do, was that we found that, in the Information Age, we had more disconnection and more isolation. Technology made us more separated, as opposed to providing us with more time to then go live more meaningful lives.
 
I think that's what Society 5.0 is really designed for or is creating. It's a higher level of consciousness. It's really about infusing more purpose into our work. I think, as practitioners, we have the opportunity to create [00:16:30] practices that have more meaning, and more purpose, and are really an extension, and an expression of things that we value; which is why CPA MOMS® is ... I say CPA MOMS®, in a way, accidentally became a Society 5.0 company, because it really always was about the purpose and the mission way beyond the profit, though we built it to be, from a business-market perspective, to have both.
 
David Leary: Yeah. 
 
Mayumi Young: Society 5.0, the way I compare the two, if you wanna have a contrast between the Information Age and Society 5.0, what that [00:17:00] looks like, I would say, in the Information Age, it was really about low-touch high-tech. It was all about funnels, and email marketing, and social media, and advertising. It was very hands-off - automation and not interacting as much. Think about the 50 million times you had to push 17 different buttons to get to talk to a human being, right? Very low-touch, very high-tech.
 
The Society 5.0 model is a very high-touch high-tech. [00:17:30] This has really merged back into how do we create more personalization in our relationships and in our interactions with our clients? We're doing a lot of that, in terms of personalizing pathways and more high-touch marketing strategies and such that really reaches the client in a way that says we're human beings talking to human beings but leveraging technology at the same time. 
 
The other contrast you could look at is, at least in our domain, when we [00:18:00] talk about working with mompreneurs, in the Information Age, it was career or family. You had to choose. Here, in Society 5.0, we're talking about career and family. The other one, which I really think is telling, too - the whole thing about being more purposeful - is I would say Information Age was really the Influencers Age, really about, "How can I make more money?" Society 5.0 is really about, "How can I help you make more money?" Much more connective, much more [00:18:30] collaborative, and an opportunity to drive more meaning and purpose.
 
David Leary: That's a great explanation. That helps a lot. Just one final question?
 
Mayumi Young: Sure. 
 
David Leary: Could there be a CPA Dad? Can dads join this network? 
 
Mayumi Young: I love that question. We actually, for a while, had CPA Dads, and we thought for sure we would have that. There's just enough to do here that we found that it was a little bit distracting for us to focus on that. We welcome men; dads; we welcome non-CPAs into our community. Our community is not specific to CPAs that are moms. Though, we [00:19:00] feel like, culturally, we do have a culture of caring and being very oriented towards family. If that's your essence, then absolutely, please be part of our community. Our agency, however, only represents CPAs that are moms. As far as our community at large and all the other resources that we have, anyone is welcome. We love our dads, too. It's not an either/or, but to stay true to-
 
David Leary: It's hard to do everything [cross talk]
 
Mayumi Young: It really is. We have to choose who we're gonna serve, and that was our choice. [00:19:30]
 
David Leary: Makes sense, makes sense. 
 
Mayumi Young: Great question.
 
David Leary: So, maybe if somebody's wanting to learn more about CPA MOMS®, get a hold of you, get in touch with you, are you on the social networks? How would they do that? 
 
Mayumi Young: Sure. Probably the best way is to go to our website. The direct access for an accountant is to go to talent.cpa-moms.com. Talent dot CPA dash Moms dot community. There, you can access our social-media platforms. You can learn more about us. You can choose a pathway. Really, for us, we like to get to know you. We [00:20:00] have so many resources. We just say, "Have a quick 15-minute conversation with one of our care specialists. Let us get to know where you are in your path, how we can connect you to resources that will matter, and then we can go from there."
 
We're on Facebook. We have a private Facebook community. We certainly encourage anyone ... If you look for us, I think it's just- the handle is cpamoms. We have Twitter. We have LinkedIn. Pretty much all ... If you look for [cross talk]
 
David Leary: You're out there. 
 
Mayumi Young: We're out there. 
 
David Leary: We'll put it in the show notes, too. 
 
Mayumi Young: You'll see more of us. You'll see more of us. We haven't been [00:20:30] very visible until probably this year, so look for more connections to us, and we look forward to having anyone in our community.
 
David Leary: Great. Thanks for joining us today. Thank you so much.
 
Mayumi Young: Thanks so much. 
 
David Leary: Everybody, we will sign off. If you wanna follow me, I'm @DavidLeary, and that's a wrap. Bye, everybody. 
 
Mayumi Young: Thank you! Bye! 
 
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Copyright (c) 2019 Blake Oliver