Building The Premier Accounting Firm

Customizing CFO/Advisory Services for Each Client w/ Dave Willson

Picture of Roger Knecht

Roger Knecht

President of Universal Accounting Center

Episode Details

In this episode of the podcast, host Roger Knecht engages in a dynamic conversation with Dave Willson, Founder and CFO at ProvenCFO. Together, they dive deep into the many paths professionals take on the way to learning the language of business, proven strategies for providing quality CFO/advisory services and the importance of social responsibility for entrepreneurs.


Roger and Dave walk back through Dave’s journey into the world of accounting and eventually entrepreneurship. Dave always had an interest in the “language of business”, despite failing an accounting exam in school due to a difficult teacher.

Dave discusses immigrating to America and completing his bachelor’s in accounting. While he had an offer on the table to join Deloitte, he elected to work with his brother in banking.

Dave explains how he and his brother eventually started an accounting business and the value Dave saw in providing advisory services at the firm after his experiences working in banking, real estate and other industries.

The origin of ProvenCFO is covered and Dave explains the challenges the company has navigated as it has grown, including during COVID.

Roger and Dave dive into the role an advisor should play in giving practical recommendations to business owners – when to hire an employee, how to manage cash flow, whether or not to offer benefits and more.

They highlight the massive opportunities that come with offering advisory services in terms of pricing. Dave notes that his company sometimes charges a cleanup or set-up fee when working with companies who need bookkeeping help before advancing to the growth stage.

Dave explains the value ProvenCFO has found in working with a broad range of clients in terms of industry and stage of business. The company has had a lot of success working with startups and creating financial models for companies with seed money.

Roger learns about Dave’s childhood in South Africa and how carrying forward the culture of camaraderie present there has been a guiding principle for him as an entrepreneur.

They discuss the value of empathizing with employees and feeling responsible for their well-being, as well as the power of creating a company that employees enjoy participating in.

Notable Quotes from this episode:

“We figured out [when it comes to starting a business] it only takes one. You only need to be successful once. You can fail as many times as you want. It doesn’t matter. It only takes one… As long as you don’t eat up your earnings.”

“We don’t have a hard and fast set of rules that we make our CFOs follow. It’s just to make sure that you’re visiting with [the client] and providing them advice.”

“Entrepreneurs are crazy. We’re crazy people. I recognize that. It probably all sounds insane”

“And the advisory that we give to our entrepreneurs is very similar. It’s like, ‘Okay, you need to be mindful of the fact that you might be sitting on  80 % equity and you want everyone to work as hard as you, but just keep in mind that they don’t have 80 % equity. And when this company sells and you make a bajillion dollars, they’re not, right? They’re going to be sitting here still working.”

“I think we just need to approach capitalism while being mindful that there are those that aren’t going to be able to be entrepreneurial.”

“We need to discuss what are all the consequences of some of the decisions that we’re making in our own companies and how it impacts our clients, our employees, our families. It’s a narrative that I think needs to be discussed because many of us are very fortunate in the fact that with our entrepreneurial spirits, we’re willing to take risks where we’re to put ourselves out there. And with that, there should be a reward. But at the same time, we’ve got to acknowledge the fact that people are working hard around us and making things possible. And we appreciate that.”

Join Roger and Dave in this thought-provoking discussion as they highlight the opportunity and responsibility that exists for CFO/Advisory professionals. Discover how to customize your advisory approach to each client, and the importance of maintaining a passionate group of employees. If you’re considering starting an accounting business, a bookkeeping business, or an advisory business, or if you want to learn bookkeeping online and explore online CFO courses, this episode is packed with valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs.


Your Host: Roger Knecht, president of Universal Accounting Center

Guest Name: Dave Willson



Universal Accounting Center

  • Helping accounting professionals confidently and competently offer quality accounting services to get paid what they are worth.



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