Story of Trisk told by CEO Tom Brehmer. How one industry problem can make a breakthrough for all types of business.
Part 1. The Pain
In 1990, I was a young partner at one of the world’s largest CPA firms, working as much as I’d ever worked. My wife was pregnant with twins. We also had a two-year-old son. I’d worked ridiculous hours my entire career. It finally hit me that doing the same thing and expecting a different result wouldn’t cut it.
I’ve always enjoyed my role as a consultant. I truly liked working with great teams of professionals. The job was challenging and rewarding in many ways, but the job demands didn’t allow enough “me” time. I wanted more quality time for my family and me.
So I quit.
Part 2. Prototype & Challenges
A colleague and I came up with a new business model for the corporate tax business—one without the bureaucracy that goes with large firms. In 1991, we intended to use technology and better business processes to deliver “cheap, fast, and easy” corporation income tax compliance.
We created the very first version of what today is Trisk. It was a single MS Word document in MS-DOS with “if-then” logic using macros. The final document, which could be very long, depending on the complexity of the client, was printed and faxed or mailed to the client. Clients would fill out the hard copy questionnaire and fax/mail them back.
Believe it or not, this was cutting edge in 1991. In 1994, Microsoft announced they’d no longer support MS-DOS. Everything had to move to Windows.
We tried for years to repeat in Windows what we’d created in DOS and ultimately gave up. The automation we’d pioneered didn’t work anymore, and I found myself back to working more than I wanted, but at least I was working for myself. Business was good, so I persevered.
Part 3. New Hopes
Skip forward several years. In 2014, I met with my long-time client and friend, Yuri Vizitei, who’d spent his entire career in the software world. I don’t remember why we were meeting, but I was lamenting how difficult it was finding qualified people to grow my tax business. I described the old MS-DOS-based business model.
I explained the original vision that used technology to not only automate processes but to provide leverage for subject matter experts.
I complained that I really wanted to continue to grow without having to work so much. I’d grown accustomed to the profitability of the business but was tired of the grind.
Yuri’s response was simple. He told me that technological advances in recent years had made my vision possible. Recognizing that the tax industry where I’d spent my career hadn’t changed much over the 35 years I’d been in practice, I was excited.
In 2014, I investigated existing software platforms to see if there were any on the market that I could use to automate my business. I didn’t want to build something if it already existed and could be tailored to meet my needs.
I found an existing platform that I could customize. I spent months building forms, workflows, and notifications and launched the automated processes to about fifty corporate clients. The goal was to determine not whether the process would work but whether clients would accept it. Whether we could change the way my firm interacted with our clients.
We used this process for our 2015 and 2016 tax compliance seasons. It worked. The feedback was very positive. But we knew we could do better!
Part 4. Becoming Trisk
I called Yuri and told him we wanted to move forward with developing our own platform. The goal was to build a platform that would give us the scalability and leverage necessary to meet our growth objectives.
In February 2016, we engaged a third-party development company and launched our first proprietary version in early 2017. The overall response, both from our team of professionals and from clients, was positive. We had significant revenue growth in 2017 without a big increase in costs. From an overall business perspective, the platform did exactly what it was intended to do. We achieved scalability we’d not seen before!
In early 2018, everything changed again. With two successful seasons behind us, we made some major changes. Not unsurprisingly, we discovered that there were similar difficulties in other industries. We recognized that our dilemma was similar to that of other subject matter experts who left big firms to do their own thing. To make the kind of money you’d grown accustomed to, you had to work like a dog. You can’t do that forever.
We moved the software into a new company. I stepped away from the tax business to dedicate more time to the new venture. The new goal was no longer just to grow one tax business but to change an industry; improve not only my quality of life but that of all tax professionals…with other industries to follow.
Trying to solve one business problem, we have invented a product that can help any industry from start-ups to the public sector, from service-based businesses to E-commerce and many more.
In 2019, the new company was reorganized into Trisk.io, a Delaware corporation.
Part 5. Trisk Today
Trisk continues to grow and evolve, constantly discovering new ways to help companies. Our platform enables professionals without programming expertise to be proactive and structure their interactions with clients and colleagues so they can spend more time with friends and family doing the fun stuff!
Every day Trisk clients are saving time, money and eliminating stress.
Join us today and become a significant part of this history! Tap here to schedule your personalized, live demo.