By Chenine Humphrey, CPB DFA 


hərd /verb:   (with reference to a group of people or animals) move in a particular direction.

For 30 years I was a bona-fide cowgirl.  Working the 9-5 corporate-world by day, I would transform into this alter-ego during my non-working hours.

In the 1980’s I spent a short stint on a working cattle ranch in the wilds of the Cariboo ranching region in the interior of British Columbia Canada, where I learned the art of herding livestock.  When I wasn’t tending to the ranch’s bookkeeping and financial affairs, I would be on horseback, out on the range, moving large herds of cattle through thousands of acres of thickly forested wilderness to find new food sources. Usually the cattle were complacent, and with my guidance, they moved in unison along the intended path to the new location. Their natural herd instinct would keep them together and moving in the same direction to ensure their safety and survival from danger.

However, there was typically one young rogue steer that didn’t want to play the herding game and would dart off into the underbrush.  Leaving the herd untended to follow the stray steer and bring it back on the path posed a variety of risks to both myself and the entire herd, so I would have to leave the rogue steer behind and forge ahead with the herd to seek out greener pastures. In time, that stray steer would realize it was alone and unprotected, and would ultimately find its way back to the herd. It would fit back in and become a contented herd member, willing to follow along and enjoy the companionship and protection the herd offered.

If you look at this story from a bookkeeping specialist’s point of view, do you feel your services, clients, systems and staff are playing out like the wild west? Do you feel like you’re trying to herd cats? Is everything darting in different directions and straying away, causing you to be constantly chasing around in a never ending effort to keep everything together? Are you trying to appease each individual rogue situation, stretching yourself thin in the process and potentially leaving the rest of your ‘herd’ open to a variety of risks?

In the ever-changing complex environment of the bookkeeping world, it may seem virtually impossible at times to maintain an intended path and keep your herd together. How can you pull it back and simplify so your herd stays on the path and is moving in the same direction? You may find that you need to leave some rogue situations behind in order to create a forward-moving environment and ensure your herd is protected, happy and always heading towards greener pastures.

With infinite possibilities presented to bookkeepers, are you using the various tools available to bookkeepers to ensure you are completing tasks on time, accurately and confidentially?  What key actions can you take to ensure you are focusing on an area of specialization and moving forward in one direction?

The Bookkeeper Connection Network is a group of like-minded, forward-thinking bookkeeping professionals and industry partners, connecting together to solve problems and look at new ways to innovate. Our members share ideas and knowledge to ultimately move in the same direction by banding together to help each other to Avoid The Do-It-Yourself Trap™.