Reflections of a Bookkeeper
I was just reflecting on my past year as I moved from re-actively supporting QuickBooks Online (QBO) to a full cloud company and becoming a trusted advisor. Embracing QBO (and apps), as well as the ProAdvisor community has drastically changed my business. I used to work 80 plus hours a week and only really had time to ensure my clients were in compliance. Let’s face it, I really was mostly a glorified data entry person always chasing down clients for statements and their paperwork. I had very little personal time and my health and family suffered.
August 8, 2016 I had a life changing tea with 2 fellow Pro-Advisors in the area. I think my exact wording after I described how busy I was (this was at 8-9 months of trying to find time for that tea with them) was “There has to be a better way”. They both replied “there is”. We discussed QBO and the integration of these wonderful helpers called Apps. We only started with the basics, about how they could streamline my work so that I was working closer with the client with real time bookkeeping, and being able to actually have a relationship with them and become more of a consultant to them rather than just a back room data entry compliance officer. I was so excited that I went home and spent the next 3 months juggling my client workload and learning everything about my favourite helper apps like InvoiceSherpa, Hubdoc and Receipt Bank, getting certified in the software I would use and learning about out value billing.
I came to the realization that I was undervaluing my services. With all my new knowledge in hand, I just went for it and started approaching my existing clients one by one. Most have now converted to QBO and apps, once I explained the unheard of concept of real time bookkeeping. I quote new clients only on my new way. No more hourly billing or restrictive desktop software, and if that was what they want I am not the gal for them. My clients are confident and comfortable in reaching out to me without being charged for all the extras. The benefit of this is that questions and fixes happen right away because we have better communication. There is no build-up of errors in their books.Because the automation of processes has given me more time, I am able to help my clients grow their sales and reduce their expenses.
Slowly my confidence built and you know what? People started to feel I was worth what I was quoting. A year later and I have tripled my billings, have a sub-contractor, a part time employee and in the process of hiring another part time employee with the expectation that they will both be full time in less than a year. I am moving my office out of my basement and into my to be newly renovated garage as I just can’t get used to the idea of commuting and working in clothes other than my PJ’s when I don’t have clients booked, which is rarely unless it is tax time.
Collaborating with other Pro-Advisors has also opened other revenue sources and I am now changing my focus to include training programs and hopefully mentoring will also be in the future. My employees will deal with the day to day bookkeeping duties and of course, I will still do a brief monthly review of the clients file and at least send a quick email so they know I still exist and am on top of the file. Because, it is still my company and I am ultimately responsible for the work that my subcontractors and employees perform. No one is loyal to a hands off advisor, nor can they become the trusted advisor that the client deserves. Now I am still learning and working on this transformation and am likely only halfway through this process and have many more apps to wade through, but I am doing it right and loving every minute of it. If you asked me to write my dream job description, really, this would be it. Work less so that my health can improve and that I can spend more time with my family, oversee my clients file, help them to focus on improving their business and sales, to provide training and mentoring to those who want it and be paid my worth. This is my pay off. I now can clearly see what Intuit means when they say phrases like Firm of the Future and Trusted Advisor. I already knew that was where I wanted my firm to be, without realizing that is what they meant, but didn’t know how to get there. Thank you Intuit for providing me with the means, confidence and connections to achieve this goal.