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Posted by on Sep 20, 2012 in Customer Profiles | 0 comments

Finding Solutions for Simplicity

With Shoeboxed there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after scanning millions of receipts and business cards since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

With that in mind, Shoeboxed is both pleased and honored to launch a series that spotlights our wonderful users, their success stories and countless ways satisfied Shoeboxed customers worldwide are utilizing our service to stay organized.

Brent Burns: Finding Solutions for Simplicity

“I love Shoeboxed because my receipts are out of the box and online. ”

-Brent Burns

Shoeboxed Customer Brent BurnsIntroducing: Brent Burns

Profession: President & Co-Founder, Asset Dedication

Twitter: @AssetDedication

LinkedIn: Asset Dedication

Location: San Francisco, California

Brent Burns is the president and co-founder of Asset Dedication. Brent and his team serve as a separate account manager specializing in pension fund-style investing for individuals.

After several years of focusing on building an investment management company that was easily scalable and prepped for explosive growth, Brent has successfully made Asset Dedication into an innovative player in the space. Their proprietary platform keeps the administrative side of the business simple, which allows the advisors to focus on growing their businesses. Brent found a similar philosophy and goal here at Shoeboxed.

Shoeboxed: Thanks for chatting with us, Brent! Let’s start with a basic introduction to you and Asset Dedication, shall we?

Shoeboxed Small Business User - Asset Dedication

Brent Burns: Sure. We are an investment management firm, specifically an account manager, which means we manage money on behalf of the clients of financial advisers. We’re more of a strategist, and we get hired by the advisers to help their clients. We’ve been around for a few years now and really got rolling in 2009 when we got some seed investments from a private equity firm.

That money allowed us to build out systems that would allow us to scale easily. We’ve alwyas been a virtual firm; as we grew our business since we knew we needed to not hire people to do activities that aren’t profitable for us and instead choose software to help us automate our processes. The more we spend on managing the administrative side of things, the more obstacles to growth we face, and the more we get over-worked doing things that aren’t particularly productive. We have always used technology to manage processes that have traditionally been done manually. Shoeboxed dovetails perfectly into that philosophy– what had been a manual process for us is now an automated one. Shoeboxed takes the question of, “What am I going to do with my receipts?” and answers it quickly and easily. We use the iPhone app— I’m just crazy over it. It’s the only thing we use for expense tracking.

SBX: Have you always wanted to own and run your own business? We’d love to hear about how Asset Dedication came to be!

BB: I’m a genetic carrier of the entrepreneurial disorder. Just kidding! I grew up in a family business. I went to the University of California at Berkley and graduated with a degree in operations and industrial organization. My thesis was on flexible management systems in high tech industries. It was an early attempt to look at  how companies can use outsourcing and telecommuting to build out a business. Even early in my career, I was trying to find systems and use technology to be more productive, things that would allow me to get more done in less time.

SBX: Do you have any helpful tips for other businesses trying to scale quickly?

BB: Figure out the simplest, cheapest way to solve the problem and make sure that it works in a highly integrated way. If you have technology that’s slick and clever but requires you have to have other processes or integrations, then it’s not as efficient as it should or could be. Technology in a silo may look great in its specific task, but if it isn’t working with the other technology pieces in your business then it’s not as useful as it could be. Solutions like that are actually headaches and bottlenecks that you could be avoiding by finding a start-to-finish solution instead of a stand-alone one. The programs all need to talk– just like Shoeboxed does.

SBX: What is your favorite part of owning and operating a business?

BB: The flexibility and balance. We built a business that fosters balance– meaning we’re doing more work in a way that’s more efficient and from anywhere. Also, being the master of my own destiny. If we have a good idea work hard, then the business grows and my team is successful.

SBX: How has Shoeboxed helped your business grow and get organized?

BB: Right now, we use Shoeboxed primarily for receipts and expense tracking– at Asset Dedication, if you have a credit card, you have a Shoeboxed account. Our accounting system isn’t that complicated, but it works perfectly with Shoeboxed. I don’t see any challenges to scaling with Shoeboxed. It makes sure the headache of expense tracking gets done, and more importantly, gets done on time.

I love Shoeboxed because my receipts are out of the box and online. If I take someone out to dinner, I take a picture, enter the note and it’s processed– it’s done. It’s so easy! It takes care of all things we’re supposed to don’t prioritize, like expense reporting. With Shoeboxed those things don’t have to be a priority, they just get done. I’m a big fan.

SBX: Thank you Brent! We’re so glad that we were able to help Asset Dedication grow.

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com for more information.

Until then, stay tuned… and stay organized!