By Brice Wallace
A virtual accounting firm serving small businesses soon will add 120 workers to its employment total by putting operations in Lehi.
Accounting Fulfillment Services LLC, operating as 1-800Accountant, will add those jobs over the next five years, aided by a state incentive.
Founded in 1999, the company will rent space for three main functions: telemarketing, involving a sales team that on-boards prospective customers; accountants to serve the client base; and engineers/developers to build and support the company’s online and mobile products and services.
1-800Accountant has two main offices — its New York City headquarters and St. Petersburg, Florida — and a small office in Bellevue, Washington.
“Utah is a great place for businesses to start,” Brendon Pack, chief revenue officer of 1-800Accountant, said in a prepared statement. “We wanted to expand our operations to a state that understands the needs of small-business owners. With a preferential tax system that supports small businesses, Utah is the ideal choice for our new office.”
The company employs multiple teams of CPAs, tax professionals, bookkeepers and payroll specialists who offer a variety of accounting services, including tax, bookkeeping, payroll and advisory services to clients throughout the United States. It uses a subscription-based billing model, with clients able to access information and upload documents through an online portal and app. Accountants are assigned based on geographic location.
“Really, what we do is we take mobile and desktop applications and we combine them with a live accountant,” Pack told the GOED board, noting that the company serves small businesses that typically have fewer than 10 employees.
“For those types of individuals, while we feel technology is incredibly important for what they do, because of the time-consuming nature of running a small business, we really feel like the most important thing that we do, and really what is our key differentiator, is that all of our services come with an accountant.”
Pack said Utah was “a perfect match” for the jobs that will be in Lehi. Brigham Young University has perhaps the nation’s best accounting school, the Silicon Slopes environment will help the company hire programmers and developers needed for future growth, and sales is a Utah strength, he said.
“We sell a complex service. Accounting [and] taxes for most people is complex. They have questions. They want to be able to talk to people so that they can understand exactly what the service entails and what we’re going to be able to do for them, and Utah has a very vibrant inside sales community,” Pack said.
The incentive, approved by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) board at its July meeting, is in the form of a post-performance tax credit of up to $160,974. The $211,000 project is expected to generate new wages of $26 million over five years — the average wage will be $55,000 — and new state tax revenue of about $1 million during that time.
“This is a really good fit for our state, for that area and … these are jobs that can help people improve their circumstances,” said Thomas Wadsworth, GOED associate managing director.
“I do love this little company,” said board chair Carine Clark. “It’s really serving a lot of companies that are not the Venmo crowd but the ones that have small businesses that don’t really know what they should do about their accounting needs.”
“1-800Accountant has a unique business model where many of the company’s employees work remotely, and services are performed virtually,” Val Hale, GOED executive director, said in a prepared statement. “Given our current situation with COVID-19, it’s great to see companies providing these opportunities for employees. We’re pleased they chose Utah to expand, and we welcome them to the state.”
“Locations on both the East and West coast competed for this expansion,” Theresa A. Foxley, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), said in a prepared statement. “Thanks to the quality of talent coming out of the finance programs of our universities and our competitive costs of doing business, Utah won out. We look forward to helping 1-800Accountant thrive here.”