Some of the Many Reasons to Hire a Bookkeeper


Top reasons to hire a bookkeeper

Is it worth it to hire a bookkeeper? I believe it is, for many reasons; mostly because it allows a business owner to focus on their business. Knowing I wouldn’t think of all the good reasons to hire a bookkeeper, I polled my co-workers in the ultimate question of their job “Why hire a bookkeeper?” Who better to ask than the people who do the work?

Here are their answers, in no particular order:

  • Classic client answer: so we can “make it all go away”
  • A second pair of eyes. Even the most meticulous people make mistakes sometimes.
  • Because without knowing how much comes in you won’t know how much you can spend
  • My husband says ‘P&L’s? Does that mean we’re having pie & lobster?’*
  • My clients say “I didn’t get into this business to be a bookkeeper, I want to get back to doing MY job.”
  • So tax-time is not full of surprises!

And this list is just a few of our thoughts. We have company full of employees who LOVE their jobs and LOVE bookkeeping. I have heard from several of my co-workers that this is their dream job (mine, too). We love what we do and we would love to be part of your team. As we at Backyard Bookkeeper say, “Let us do your dirty work.”

*P&L stands for Profit and Loss, a report that is vitally important if you own a business and will tell you nothing if your bookkeeping is not accurate. Go Bookeepers!

Meetings are for Morale


If you had taken a glimpse into Backyard Bookkeeper’s most recent in person company meeting, there are a few things you’ll notice that are different than most meetings I’ve been a part of.

  1.       People were smiling and laughing
  2.       Everyone was engaged in what is going on, note taking, listening intently, participating.
  3.       Things got done.
  4.       We all walked away feeling better about our jobs than when we walked in.

I have to admit at this juncture that we have boring meetings just like everyone else, so what made the difference this time? In order to have an effective meeting, it should be purposeful and present relevant information, solve problems, and most importantly boost morale. A happy employee is a productive employee.

At our most recent company meeting, we started by listening to a great presentation from Ryan Beck from Mountain West Advisors. He talked to us about personal finance and steps to getting ourselves in a great financial position. Given our background as bookkeepers, this was helpful on a professional and personal level. We were able to get some great advice on personal finances and also have some valuable tools and contacts to share with our clients.

After Ryan’s presentation, the majority of our time was spent with Angie DeLong, an Enrolled Agent with more than 25 years of experience with tax law.  Our bookkeepers better understood their part of the financial process as they heard from her. Identifying where their job fit in with everything else helped give them insight and more confidence in their place. Even though we keep our bookkeepers from advising on tax issues, it was valuable for them to know about tax law so they can better categorize items. Many of our bookkeepers let us know how helpful it was to better understand their place as bookkeepers within the bigger financial picture of their client’s companies.

Then we ended with a lot of morale boosting talk from Alex and Julie (the owners), reminding us to work as a team and prioritize our lives. They made us feel appreciated and important. We celebrated Backyard Bookkeeper’s 10th anniversary and walked away with personalized gifts.

I use this example of our company meeting as a great structure for any meeting:

  1.       Start with an agenda that is good for your employees on a personal and professional level.
  2.       Show them how their job fits into the big picture and give them the tools they need to fit well as that piece of the puzzle.
  3.       Celebrate your employees, the company, and teamwork. Boost Morale, so when they leave they feel they are supported.

Let Your Job Sponsor Your Life


Let your job sponsor your life: a change in perspective

There’s a moment in everyone’s life where you wake up and think, “Ugh! I have to go to work today.” Even people who love their jobs have this moment every once in a while.

For me a solution that allows me change my perspective on those days is to remind myself that this job is sponsoring my life. It requires some of my time, just like any sponsor does, but I can see physical evidence of the great things my job does for me all around. I live in a house, I have transportation, I have clothing and get to spend time with my family doing the things I love, all because I have a job.

Real life example of what I’m talking about in kid terms: My son really wants to buy some ice cream from the ice cream truck, but I just can’t justify the expense. The other day, he found some money in his room and got really excited, “Mom! If I save my money, I can buy ice cream from the ice cream truck all by myself!”

“You’re right. Go for it.”

When something is important to us, we work for it. What is important to you in your life? What could you have a goal for that would make going to work exciting? For my son, it’s the ice cream truck. If I only focus on the bare minimum, on the things I need to survive, then work becomes about survival. It becomes drudgery, fight or flight. When I think to myself-I’m gonna let my job sponsor my life, I really want __________________________ (fill in the blank with something that would make your life better); suddenly my job is exciting because of the thing I am working for. That thing could be as simple as ice cream, or as big as a vacation, or tool to do thing you’ve always wanted to try.

After writing this, I am going to re-approach my budget and my goals list. I am going to let my job sponsor my life. I have a list of “cool thing I want” that I add to on a regular basis. It’s time to prioritize that list and let my sponsor provide the life I love.

Thank you Backyard Bookkeeper, for sponsoring my life.

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto


I hopped on Facebook the other day and saw this query, posed by bookkeeper extraordinaire Julie DeLong:

Julie: “Pondering the deep questions this evening: why does QB Online always try to name my Taco Bell purchases “AT&T”?”

Alex: “Because it wants you to write it off as business expenses! If you get audited just tell the IRS it told you so!!!;)))”

Imagine trying to explain to an Auditor why your phone bill smells like hot sauce! As I laughed about it, and about Alex’s response; I realized the problem we face as we advance as a society is Artificial Intelligence can only be as smart as its creators-the human race. I haven’t met a person yet who is entirely mistake free, so we find “glitches” in the programs we write. Glitches that can cause serious problems if we let them continue; like telling the IRS that Taco Bell is indeed your phone company. I don’t think they’ll buy it.

What’s the solution? Fortunately, in this case, it’s as simple as actually spending some time reconciling your accounts. *cue the bookkeepers* That’s what we’re here for. The convenience of having your accounts tied to your bookkeeping software does not eliminate the need for a “second pair of eyes” to make sure everything is put in its correct place. It just makes it more convenient.

Here at Backyard Bookkeeper, we stay on top of the newest bookkeeping software development and are excited for whatever is next. Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto. Thank you for making our job easier, but not irrelevant.

An Employee’s Review of Telecommuting


An Employee’s Review of Telecommuting

I’ve done some research and have found many articles about the perks of having employees work from a virtual office, but I have seen little from the employees themselves. So, here goes:

    Working from Home is The Cat’s Pajamas

I love working from home! The perks are endless:

  1. I can be a mom the way I want to. I have a job where I can be home with my kids, watch them grow, and help them when they need it.
  2. Working from home has made me more efficient. When I’m working, I’m working. My hours on the clock are dedicated to getting work done quickly and well. It has also made me more efficient with home upkeep. I find myself scheduling my entire day better, keeping things cleaner, playing with my kids more, all because my time is valuable and focused.
  3. Company meetings are fun. I enjoy my interactions with my coworkers and feel meetings are time to come together and problem solve. Our meetings are effective and meaningful.
  4. I make money that goes towards taking care of my family. I don’t have to work just to get my kids taken care of at day care or to pay for my car and gas to commute to an office. The money I earn is actually money earned.
  5. The dress code. “I try not to work in pants, I feel like it ruins my productivity.” I said this yesterday, speaking to someone who has a day job working 50+ hours per week in a corporate office. The moment I said it I realized, again, how lucky I am to go to work in my cat pajamas and my favorite hoodie at my own computer.

Overall, I highly recommend working from home for all the reasons listed above and many more. 5 stars!

Allowing yourself to let go of fear


I stood looking over the edge of the 65’ cliff and then back at my friend. “You really DOVE off this?!?”

“Yeah, you’ve seen the picture.”

I had, but it seemed a lot smaller in the picture. Now the water was forever away and I wasn’t sure I should have said I would do it. I stood and deliberated for a while, quieting the voice in my head that told me I was too scared.

The moment of decision came when I realized that voice would only get louder and justified if I walked down instead of jumping.

So I yelled above the fear, “THREE!…TWO!…ONE!” and I jumped.

The cliff was so high I had time to regret the decision on the way down, my mind was screaming as my arms and legs pin-wheeled against the force of gravity. I had to succumb; I didn’t know how to fly. I hit the water and went down, a LONG way down, and was gasping for air and grateful for the lifejacket I was wearing when I finally surfaced.

It took a few seconds to catch my breath and realize I was still alive. As soon as that happened, though, I couldn’t take the grin off my face. I had done it!

Letting go of fear and jumping off that cliff quieted the voice that told me, “You can’t. You won’t. You’re not going to make it.” This wasn’t the only time in my life I have had to quiet that voice.

Fear and self-doubt are “voices” that make an appearance in all our lives at one time or another. What do you really want? What is it that helps you to let go and make the jump? For me, it was my competitive nature, a supportive team, and wanting the experience.

10 years ago Backyard Bookkeeper was born. Yes, you calculated correctly – they started a bookkeeping business during the financial crisis of 2008. Why? Because two friends had a passion for bookkeeping (weird, I know), quieted the voices of doubt and the voices of the people around them who thought they were crazy; and supported each other in the risk they took.

Today there are 13 employees and hundreds of companies who are glad that Julie and Alex decided to jump off the proverbial cliff and do what they had a passion for.

Happy 10th Anniversary, Backyard Bookkeeper!

Let these stories be an inspiration to you and ask yourself (in business, in life):

“What do I really want?

“What is it that will help me let go and make the jump?

“Three…

“Two…

“One…”

 

Backyard Book Review: Do Cool Sh*t by Miki Agrawal


I was wandering the business section of my local library, trying to find inspiration and direction to help myself move forward in life. I turned the corner and this screamed its title at me, DO COOL SH*T. I knew immediately it was coming home with me. 3 weeks later, when it was due back to the library, my own copy was already on its way to my mailbox.

Miki Agrawal expresses herself as a powerful, energetic person. Throughout the book, her voice is loud and clear. She is excited about her own journey and the things she has done to get where she is. This excitement is absolutely contagious.

Agrawal delves into her own business successes and failures and then uses them to suggest ways to apply those stories to your own desires to “Do Cool Sh*t.” She leads the reader through an organized narrative of ways to step out and try things on your own. Each chapter includes a “Do Cool Shit Takeaway,” something that you can do or apply to help you “quit your day job, start your own business & live happily ever after.”

I really appreciated how she showed effective ways to network, throwing parties that lead everyone to walk away with good connections and she would end up with a solid plan for her next steps in her own business.

Agrawal also shows the importance of persistence and learning from her mistakes. This book really opened my eyes to some fun and memorable marketing techniques, ways to effectively grow a business, and how to make a living out of something you love.

This book is definitely worth your time. It’s a fast moving narrative with so much good to take away from it that you’ll want a notebook and a highlighter with you when you read.

Join us! We have only a few days left.


We at Backyard Bookkeeper will be supporting the Back to School Backpack Campaign for refugee kids in Utah. We invite you to get involved, too, and we want to help make it easy for you. If you are in the Salt Lake area and put together backpack kits, we will come pick them up from your location and deliver them by the deadline. Please contact us if you would like our help with delivery!

“One of the girls”


Post by Jess, our Office Manager

 

I have always been “one of the boys.” I was the only female percussionist in high school band, the only girl on my biking team and in my electronics classes, a junior high shop and computer teacher with 90%+ males in my classes, and the list goes on. I have always felt more comfortable talking, playing, and working with boys than girls.

So, imagine my trepidation when I found myself working for a women-run business with a staff entirely made up of women.* I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to handle it. Words like “catty” and “clique-ish” came to mind when I considered a large group of women coming together for any reason. But I really wanted that job, so I put aside my hesitations and hoped for the best.

We all work from home, so my first introduction to everyone was in a virtual meeting room. I looked around at the smiling faces on the screen and was welcomed with open arms. “Hmmm…everyone seems to get along.” Over the course of the next several months, I removed “catty and clique-ish” from my thought processes. My co-workers were kind, helpful, and genuinely concerned about my well-being and grateful when I helped them. Not what I expected.

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How to Manage Your Career


Most people spend the majority of their days working at their career; this article from the NY Times provides some great tips on how to manage your career. Keeping things in balance and building a strong foundation are vital to having a long lasting, happy career. It is a great read for any person with a job. It focuses on basic principles like effective networking, staying informed, and balancing your life. “You are not your career,” it says. Finding something you enjoy doing that is not work related and having balance in what you do will allow you to perform better in all aspects of life. Read on to get some great tips.
Summary By Jess
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