Two CPAs and a pizza [SMB Consulting Best Practices book excerpt]

Hiya – harrybbbb here – the author of the SMB Consulting Best Practices book. This is a humorous consulting conversation about two CPAs, a pizza and practice management. Hope you enjoy this virtual book reading and did you know that my new SBS 2008 book is HERE!

But I’ve got another take on this: the tale of two CPAs and a pizza. Try this story on for size. Imagine in a land far away where oil and sunshine are plentiful, a worldwide respected accounting firm took a tumble because if its auditing oversights involving a huge energy trading company. Two CPAs, shown the door on a Friday afternoon, spend the weekend purchasing a laptop computer each, printing business cards and stationery, and soliciting past clients to join their new practice. Follow these career steps for the two CPAs and how it relates to Microsoft’s SMB product map.

·        Monday Morning. The two CPAs use Windows XP peer-to-peer networking just to get the ball rolling. They enjoy basic file sharing, printing, and Internet connectivity. This is Level 1 in Figure 5-2.

·        90 Days Later. Now that our two CPAs have cash flow, they retain you to deploy SBS. Think about this milestone. It takes the CPAs and an initial 30 days just to do new-client work, then another 30 days to get paid for it, and yet another 30 days to complete a second billing cycle to be able to afford you and SBS! This is Level 2 in Figure 5-2.

·        Nine Months Later. Happy with SBS all this time, the CPAs contact you again to discuss adding two additional Windows Server 2003 machines to the network. It turns out that tax season has arrived and the accounting staff would like to work their long hours at night from home, connecting to the office network via a broadband-supported VPN connection. Then they’d like to launch a Terminal Services session. At this point, you will install a member server, running Terminal Services in Application Sharing Mode. Oh yeah, the CPAs also ask you to implement an additional server running Windows Server 2003 to host Great Plains Dynamics, a Microsoft business accounting program. This is Level 3 in Figure 5-2.

·        Two Years Later. Because these CPAs have the Midas touch, they have grown and grown. Now they are about to cross the SBS licens­ing threshold (in the SBS 2000 time frame) of 50 client computers. So it’s time to migrate this client to the full Microsoft Server SKUs via the SBS Migration Kit. This is Level 4 in Figure 5-2.

BEST PRACTICE: There is an important need to glean from Figure 5-2 another message: the repositioning of SBS. In the past, SBS was the black sheep of the family, the distant cousin no one knew growing up. That all changed at FUSION in July 2002, when Microsoft Vice President Bill Vegthe pronounced that SBS would be called the “first and essential server for small business.” There have been variations on this theme, with the popular press at one point calling it “My First Server,” but the message is clear: SBS now has a full seat at the Windows table. For the first time, there is a direct link to the SBS product Web page from the Microsoft Win­dows Servers page. In the past, many good SMB consultants and

their respective customers didn’t even know that SBS existed, but the hyperlinkage from other mainstream Microsoft pages will greatly help this.


Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation (

MBA, MCSE, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP, MCT, SBSC (Microsoft Small Business Specialist)

PS – my Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is now here!




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