By Jacquie Johnston, RPB, BBA
This is a good question and to answer, properly, some background needs to be installed. I am a bookkeeper of many, many years and when I started out there were no desktop computers, no internet, no email, no cellular phones, basically no technology tools to assist me to get me on the right path. The land line was my internet and cellular phone, snail mail was my email/text attachments and a manual ledger was my accounting software. Oh, one thing, I did have an electric typewriter (I was so excited to have this).
My first bookkeeping “gig” was attempted while I was still working as a full-time employee with the provincial government as a “Financial Services Clerk”. I had no training or formal education in bookkeeping, using my own time, during my earned time off …vacations, where I enrolled in every workshop/seminar/educational course on bookkeeping that was available at that time. The best text book (at least for me) was Accounting 101. “Small Business” was not in the vocabulary. I had absolutely no idea on how to run a bookkeeping business. There were no professional organizations or support for bookkeepers, so resources were slim to none.
Fast forward to today where we have way too many choices, for anything you can label bookkeeping, it really boggles the mind (at least it does mine). Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has opinions and solutions for every facet of what you offer as a professional bookkeeper and that is quite a lot of information to sift through and decide what is going to work for you and your current/potential clients.
To name a few, from how you should be running your business, what bookkeeping tools you need to do your business/recommend to clients, how to track your clients, how you price your business, who/how you need to hire help, which professional organization you should join, and the list goes on ad nauseam. Just when you think you have a handle on all the tools available and what is needed in your own business/profession, you are presented with another consecutive hurtle in the form of yet another product or service offering that you “really should use” or a big shift in technology comes at us from left field.
Our profession has many challenges and learning curves. That is why I am so passionate about what I do. Those challenges and learning curves keep my mind active and continue to give me purpose. I also still have a business to run/build, plus technician work, plus finding clients, plus hire qualified bookkeeping help, plus take time off for me (which was usually never).
These added challenges and the paragraphs above were the catalyst for “The Bookkeeper Connection Network” (BCN). The day I met Chenine Humphrey and listened to what she was creating, I was hooked!! She described exactly what I had been searching for, for a very long time, to assist me with the management of my business, systems/processes, technology that I did not, literally, have time to research/develop. How cool is that!!
Chenine outlined a network/collective, or better still a “community”, of bookkeepers that exchanges/shares ideas and information, work, life skills, lessons, backup for vacations or illness, business systems, education, and so much more WITHOUT the competitive factor. Makes perfect sense, to me, to work together to achieve goals and visions. Imagine the possibilities!!
We are all in the same boat, and the direction we take depends on how each of us chooses to row that boat. The Bookkeeper Connection Network assists in giving us the “oars and direction” we need to work as a “community” and really define this profession and sets everyone, equally, on the right direction/path for them.
In my opinion, that is a major key to assist you in unlocking your full potential. Our Bookkeeping profession really needs a major boost in confidence within itself, the Small Business community and The Bookkeeper Connection Network is a great resource to do just that.
The following is how I am utilizing some of the excellent BCN tools to assist me in a couple of areas to “keep me in my office and move my business forward”: We came up with an Plan that encouraged me to take Action in my practice. I now have a sub-contract bookkeeper, who I connected with at a BCN hosted Whine-o’clock Get Together (gathering of BCN members and guests), assisting me with small but difficult client bookkeeping projects. I also have a BCN member, who is setting out in her own new bookkeeping profession, assist me. Very grateful to BCN as it will continue to give me great and viable choices for bookkeeping help/assistance, where I do not have to advertise, screen and test for, I feel confident in hiring/working with because we establish trust by getting to know each other by spending time together connecting in the network.
BCN has progress sessions which has given me helpful tools to manage my business in a more productive and consistent operating structure. Together with my decades of experience, BCN has encapsulated in things like billing processes, office configuration, time management, “getting out of my own head” (focus), work flow, encouraging overall health and wellness, assisting other professional bookkeepers, making fabulous professional connections that allow me to make informed decisions on “where to” next.
This network/tool is such a time/money saver and a weight of worry off my shoulders, which also allows me to not only continue to work on client files, go to client meetings, and acquire new clients, but to actually have some “down time” to myself! Take a vacation and not worry about my business? How fantastic is that!!!!
The Bookkeeper Connection Network is working and needs to be recognized for what it is designed for. Each individual bookkeeper, has their own unique wants and needs and BCN facilitates each relationship to work in “conjunction” (a configuration in which two entities have their apparent separation who work together as one) with other like-minded professional bookkeepers and industry partners – ultimately for the benefit of our clients …small businesses. In my humble opinion, we, professional bookkeepers, are the “architects of financial foundations” that business can utilize to build their dreams.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Chenine Humphrey and the members of BCN for this amazing network!
Jacquie Johnston, RPB, BBA
CEO, From Red to Black Progress Experts Inc.
Vice President, Canadian Bookkeeping Association