Dominique Molina, President & Founder of The American Institute of Certified Tax Planners (AICTP) discovered a void in the marketplace: Their industry lacked a technical software solution. Everyone was using different tools/approaches...and getting different results. While the AICTP helps educate tax professionals in advanced tax reduction, it was hard to teach when everyone used different methods. To address this problem, Molina turned to mrc's Services Team to help her create an industry standard software solution for their clients. In doing so, the AICTP not only got an industry-leading software solution...they found a true partner.
The AICTP now offers an industry-leading solution to their clients
mrc's services team lets the AICTP compete with larger companies
They found a partner that "feels like an extension of our company"
I've worked with companies that create a project just for the sake of creating a project so that it can lead to increased billings for them. That's not been my experience with mrc at all. mrc has been really willing and proven to us many times that they come to the table not looking for just another billing project, but looking for what's actually going to help us the most. It really emphasizes this idea of the partnership that we really work together with mrc as an extension of our in house team here.
Full Text of Video Interview
Who is the AICTP?
"I'm Dominique Molina. I am the President and Founder of the American Institute of Certified Tax Planners, and we help train and license tax professionals in the expertise of advanced tax reduction, so that they can help their business owner clients pay a lot less in tax legally.
My initial hope in coming to mrc was to create a solution that didn't previously exist in our marketplace that could solve our problems.
Some of the challenges that we were facing earlier on and in the beginning of the company was that the industry really lacked a technical solution to this discipline.
Since there wasn't a good solution out there, people were using Excel spreadsheets, using the old back of the envelope where you're sketching out and using a calculator to crunch the numbers, and/or reinventing the wheel every single time to be repetitive in terms of reporting, to issue to clients.
Initially, I was hoping to create a solution that would help solve this problem and provide a solution to the industry. There was a need that was there. There was a void in the marketplace, and I wanted to create a standard so that we could be more effective in leading that charge and being able to effectively teach and train professionals in their area of expertise.
I’m not a software person. I’m a tax person, so I know the tax side of things and I know what I want in terms of an end result. But, there’s definitely a learning curve in there because I can’t go in and create a solution. I don’t have the skills and don’t think it would be effective for me to learn those skills in order to be able to create the solution that was missing for us.
Finding the Right Partner
It was a really easy decision for me to work with mrc.
Initially when I was conducting my search, I interviewed quite a lot of providers. I even worked with several different providers. Some of the challenges that I found with an international provider base were language constraints and timing difficulties of when we could actually get together and work.
There was also difficulty in understanding and translating the work that I do into computer speak or translating how that solution can be created. It was really difficult to find a team that had that ability to listen to what we were trying to create and help work together with us in a way that we could come up with a result that would solve our problem.
It was a really easy decision for me to work with mrc because of a few different reasons. Number one, they're domestically located and they work similar hours. Number two, they're extremely responsive. If I have a problem or an issue, I know that it's something that we can get resolved right away. Number three, the communication is outstanding. While I don't understand the software world and what goes into creating an application, they don't understand the tax world and what we're doing on our side. But in working with the team, we were able to speak in a way that tested out different ideas and different approaches as well as different outputs. Ultimately, we were able to create something that works really well for our users.
We've been at this for many years. In that time, other competitive solutions have entered the marketplace from some really well-known, well-funded organizations. Their solution is not as effective as ours. That helps us stand out with our clientele because they know that our solution can give them results that other off-the-shelf applications can't deliver.
I think that actually made me dangerous in having such a good experience with mrc, because then my mind started going crazy about 'what if we could do this and what if we could do that'? So, one project turned into many different projects.
We started out initially looking at different calculations and analyses and moved on to reporting. We also implemented a solution to allow a questionnaire to be imported and produce what we call an opportunity report with different possibilities to be examined in each specific case. We have the ability to actually import a PDF file, have the data extracted from that file, and populated into our calculations. The solution does its thing so that we can come in and analyze and we can produce customized reports for each specific situation.
From the user standpoint, when we think about user experience and how to improve it, there are lots of little things that seem small. But things like a single sign-on user experience so that once our members log into the association membership site, they're automatically logged into our application that allows them to store and keep confidential their private client records. Each user account is separate from the other. And over the years, our solution has evolved to include the latest technology to ease the user experience and make the experience much more pleasant for our users.
We've been at this for many years. In that time, other competitive solutions have entered the marketplace from some really well-known, well-funded organizations. One would ordinarily think that that should make us nervous about the competition. But honestly, looking at companies that have enough money to advertise in the Superbowl, for example, their solution is not as effective as ours. That helps us stand out with our clientele because they know that our solution can give them results that other off-the-shelf applications can't deliver. That helps us have a lengthier relationship with our customers.
Working with mrc
mrc has been really willing and proven to us many times that they come to the table not looking for just another billing project, but looking for what's actually going to help us the most.
We're just a small business here in San Diego. But we can compete with others as if we have our own in-house development team. mrc is the reason we're able to operate that way.
The experience level with the service team at mrc has been night and day compared to previous experiences that I've had. What I love about working with the mrc team is that I can call and reach a live human being. I have a team that's responsive, that gets back to me and is willing to actually jump in and try to understand my needs. That's something that's really hard to find these days.
One of the challenges that I struggle with and not being a software person is that I don't understand sometimes, when I'm receiving a quote, whether or not that's actually the best strategy to accomplish our goal. And sometimes I've worked with companies that create a project just for the sake of creating a project so that it can lead to increased billings for them. That's not been my experience with mrc at all. mrc has been really willing and proven to us many times that they come to the table not looking for just another billing project, but looking for what's actually going to help us the most. Even if that means using a third party solution that we then integrate into our project with mrc.
To me that helps build trust, again, it really emphasizes this idea of the partnership that we really work together with mrc as an extension of our in-house team here. So I feel like we have another office in Chicago and that's where our advisors reside. So when we have a new idea that we want to bring to fruition, we can pick up the phone, schedule a Zoom meeting, and start talking through what that looks like. If we're troubleshooting or, for example, when we identify stumbling blocks for our users, I've never had a problem reaching someone from our team in our other office that can hop on and try to help us find a way to make that easier for them. User adoption is everything for us, and to get that kind of feedback and support is really invaluable.
I know when you're shopping around for an advisor, sometimes it's difficult to identify ways to compare. Sometimes people's tendency is to go right to price. But, there's so many other advantages that need to be considered. At the end of the day, what you're really looking for is a completed solution that's going to solve the problem that you're trying to fix.
When you're considering mrc for this work, you should consider all of the things that go into that project, somebody that's going to take ownership over that same problem that you're trying to address in your business, and acting as a partner alongside you."
To learn more about the AICTP, please visit their website: https://certifiedtaxcoach.org/.