Grateful for the Bus

Grateful for the bus

Several years ago I lived in an apartment in Colorado with my husband, Chris, and 3 kids. At the time we had no car and had to use public transportation to get ourselves around.

There was a day we were riding the bus to the library and Chris pointed something out to me. In all the generations of humanity, we were some of the very elite to be riding this fast and this smooth.

Given our status as “poor”, with no car, no cell phones, and limited funds, we could have easily decided to feel sorry for ourselves. However, we decided to be grateful for the bus ride knowing we were some of the few to ever experience something so amazing.

Grateful for the bus

Now that we have our own house and car, a cell phone, and all sorts of toys, it’s eye-opening to me that my entire family still says their favorite place they have ever lived was in that apartment in Colorado.

Why do we let our opulence stress us out so much? What is it about having things that makes us feel overwhelmed?

Yesterday I decided to spend more time as I did in Colorado. I grounded myself from my phone after work was done, I spent time playing with my kids, taking the dogs on a walk, and talking to my husband. I chose to slow down my world, only include the things that are really important, and in doing so I once again became grateful for the bus and its lesson.



Who is Backyard Bookkeeper?

It’s been a long time since last we introduced ourselves.

When you start your business, you are in the habit of telling your story all the time to new connections, prospective clients, and so on. But when you have been in business for 13 years, you often forget to tell your story, and when someone asks you for your story at a networking event, you are stunned by it. So this blog post is a refresher for our readers, clients, and prospective clients about who Backyard Bookkeeper is.

Backyard Bookkeeper was established in 2008 when at the time, Julie DeLong, one of our founders, was more in love with QuickBooks than Facebook, which was up and coming at the time. Her best friend Alex, who is a European badass entrepreneur, said to her, “Hey, you are so obsessed with bookkeeping; why don’t you take on some clients as a contractor, and let’s see if we can turn this into a business?” Alex, our other founder, has always been obsessed with building and creating things to help others.  As you could probably tell, she also has a knack for business and connecting people, so it was a no-brainer that she would do the networking and the business development, while Julie would tackle the accounting field and learn as much as possible about how to help entrepreneurs with their bookkeeping needs.

After so many years in business and learning so much about different industries, the most important job that we have at Backyard Bookkeeper is to educate young entrepreneurs and more experienced business owners that bookkeeping is NOT just data entry. Bookkeeping is the core of good financial health. We have seen so many businesses fail because of a simple mistake: they started making money but didn’t keep good track of where their money went. And voila, they woke up to a nightmare, a very avoidable nightmare.

In 13 years of business, we have learned that the best way to avoid those nightmares is to make your bookkeeper your best friend. Yes, your CPA, who you only see once a year, can save you a lot on taxes, but only if the data you provide them with is accurate. A good bookkeeper won’t just enter your data and organize it but will talk to you about it, warn you if they see something out of ordinary, and provide you with statements that show how healthy your business is. Think of it this way: your vision and your passion are the “heart” of your business, but without a “brain” – in other words, the data and numbers – your business won’t and can’t function well.

And this why we are not just bookkeepers at Backyard Bookkeeper; we want to become your best silent partner in your business. This is why there is no client too small for us because we love seeing our clients grow. We often get the question: You are such a big and reputable company, why don’t you charge more, and why don’t you go for bigger fish? Why are you fishing in the pond when you could fish in the sea?

The answer is straightforward. Everyone wants to catch big fish, but big fish are limited in numbers, while the small fish have plenty of room to grow, and if we are lucky and good at what we do, the small fish will take us with them as they grow.  On top of that, we are a women-owned business with hearts of gold and we have no intention of growing faster than we can run; our mission is to build jobs and a culture where our employees are first, their families are second, and our business is third. We were one of the first businesses in Utah to let our employees work remotely from home as early as 2009, and we never even considered giving up our family-oriented culture for the prospect of “big fish” clients. Do not misunderstand; we love big clients and we have quite a lot of big names working with us, yet we will never say no to a small project because we love helping our clients grow most of all.

We are who we are; we love what we do and get excited when we can forge new connections and new friendships with our clients. But most importantly, we are here to help, so let someone else do the dirty work, and you focus on growing!

Busy vs Full

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, but there are about a million other things I should/could/need to do and a million others that I’ve been doing. And so it has waited patiently on my to-do list for far too long.

Why do I do this, why does anyone put off things that should be done? For me, it’s because these are the tasks I see as “nice to do” instead of essential. When I have so many other things that demand my attention – kids, spouse, animals, work duties with hard deadlines – the “sometime this month” tasks become “sometime this quarter”.

The other day I was talking to someone about how busy I am and she replied, “We’re all busy”. Her comment has been on my mind since. Being busy is an excuse without any weight behind it. I either value what I am doing or I don’t. If I value something, see it as important, I will find the time to get it done.

After feeling reprimanded by the comment, I’ve decided to see my life as full – not busy. I choose what I put into my full life. Today I choose to take the time to write because it’s important.

Jess Gainer

procrastination meme - busy vs full

Limitless Book Review

After reading the book Limitless by Jim Kwik, I have changed a few patterns in my life and improved my overall outlook. My takeaways from the book were:

  • To start your day intentionally positively. I’ve started my morning routine with reading, getting ready, and then finding one thing I can do to make my day better. Most days that’s cleaning. Therefore, my mornings have become my gift to my future self.
  • Read more. I have a stack of books on my dresser that I have every intention of reading. So, this was my reminder that I enjoy reading and should take the time to do it. I like waking up and starting my morning with a good book, keeps me in my warm bed but wakes up my mind.
  • Read faster, learn something new. Kwik gives some tips and tools for speed reading so I’ve been trying them out as I read. This has not only been good for working through the aforementioned stack of books, but it has also been good for me to push myself. I’m working on something that challenges me and gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Limitless book cover

Limitless was well worth the read. Jim Kwik has a positive twist on everything and is easy to understand. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Jessica Gainer

How to Lead When Your Boss Can’t (or Won’t) Book Review

I’ve been reading How to Lead When Your Boss Can’t (or Won’t) by John C. Maxwell. I would highly recommend it, especially for those who have any sort of leadership position within a company (regardless of how good your boss is). It has some great suggestions for leading well from wherever you are within a company. A couple of quotes that stood out to me:

Maxwell’s definition of success: “having those who are closest to me love and respect me the most.” 


Maxwell’s definition of high morale: “I make a difference.”

Much of the book talks about employee buy in, helping them feel like their contribution matters, and understanding that a company’s success depends on all parties involved doing their job well. As I read, the theme that drew my attention throughout the book is communication and gratitude. Talk to your people, let them know you’re grateful for their efforts, and use their strengths to help your company improve.

Maxwell has many wonderful suggestions that can be implemented no matter your position. Well worth the read!

Jessica Gainer

What are 1099’s and why should you care?

As a small business owner, everyone expects you to know the answers to all questions. Backyard Bookkeeper got your back we are here to help you! In this episode of Open Book, you will learn the answers to these important questions. What are 1099’s? Who do you have to file 1099’s for? How you should prepare for 1099’s? What happens if you don’t give someone 1099? Want more great tips? Subscribe to our youtube channel.

PPP and EIDL Loan Program Updates

There have been a lot of updates to the PPP and EIDL loan programs, and the situation continues to evolve. We will highlight the most pertinent points here for reference.

PPP application deadline extended

You can still apply for a loan through this program until August 8. There are still funds available – $130 billion of the $670 allocated for this loan program as of July 6th. Start with your own bank to see if they are accepting applications, and if no, we recommend applying through Lendio, BlueVine, or similar big lender. (It’s okay to have multiple applications pending, as long as you only accept one offer in the end.)

PPP loan forgiveness terms extended

Originally, you had only eight weeks to spend the PPP loan proceeds. This has changed, and you have up to 24 weeks to spend the money on qualified expenses. However, if you applied under the original loan terms, the extended terms might not be given to you automatically – this is one of those remaining gray areas. We strongly recommend you contact your lender and ask what you need to do to get the extended loan forgiveness terms.

Deadline for applying for PPP loan forgiveness

You have 10 months to apply for forgiveness, counting from the end of either the 8 week or 24 week period. However, you can apply for forgiveness as soon as you have used up the loan proceeds. There is now an “EZ PPP Loan Forgiveness Application” that you can use if you are self-employed with no employees, or if you did not significantly reduce your workforce. The exact terms are laid out in the instructions. These applications need to be submitted directly to your lender along with supporting documentation.  The lender will submit it to the SBA. Contact your lender for instructions pertaining to your loan. Here are the links to the applications for reference:

Supporting documentation for PPP loans

Wherever possible, we highly recommend keeping things as simple as possible. If you have the ability to spend 100% of the loan proceeds on gross wages, that is best. Then all you need to provide is some payroll reports and returns. For example, to get 100% of your loan forgiven, if you have the choice between documenting two months’ worth of gross wages plus health benefit payments, rent, and utilities, or just providing four months’ worth of gross wages, go with the four months of gross wages. The documentation required will be much simpler, and your lender will have far fewer questions on your application.

EIDL Loan Program Update

The SBA portal for loan applications has been reopened. Unlike the PPP loan, this loan goes directly through the SBA. The loan terms they are offering are extremely favorable: 30 years at 3.75% interest. (2.75% for nonprofits.) Based on what we are seeing, the turnaround time for receiving these loans is now very quick – usually 1-2 weeks from date of initial application. The application asks for some revenue data for the period 2/1/2019 – 1/31/2020, and the loan offer is based off of these numbers.

If you are applying for any of these loan programs, or applying for PPP forgiveness, your bookkeeper or payroll processor should be able to provide you with any needed documentation, such as payroll reports or P&L statements. If you need a bookkeeper, or are looking for someone to help you with payroll, request a quote here.

DOKKA Interview: Advice from a Virtual Bookkeeping Company

We recently posted part 1 of the interview that Julie had with Eric Edelstein, a Co-Founder and CRO of DOKKA. In part 2, the focus of the interview changes from simply choosing between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop to focusing on advice that Julie could offer after running a virtual bookkeeping company. This interview centers around the idea of virtual bookkeeping. What makes a good bookkeeper? What is the difference in working with a solo bookkeeper, a virtual bookkeeping company, and vc-funded bookkeeping companies? Bookkeeping in 2030, what will that look like? How do you even start a virtual bookkeeping company? Moreover, all of these topics and more are found in part 2 of this interview.

DOKKA logo

Over the years, Backyard Bookkeeper has enjoyed a working relationship with DOKKA. DOKKA is a Document Management System that is based out of Israel. During their development stage, DOKKA reached out seeking input from a bookkeeper’s perspective. That is how we first met DOKKA.  Today, we continue that relationship by utilizing this software for client’s who need document managing services. For example, DOKKA’s software utilizes technology to “read” a scanned document and create transactions that can be linked and uploaded into QuickBooks and Xero, among other bookkeeping software. We hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as we enjoyed working with DOKKA over the years.

DOKKA Interview: QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop?

DOKKA and Backyard Bookkeeper have had a working relationship for several years now. DOKKA is a Document Management System that is based out of Israel. During their development stage, DOKKA reached out seeking input from a bookkeeper’s perspective. Backyard Bookkeeper was honored to be involved in the process.  Today, we continue that relationship by utilizing this software for client’s who need document managing services. DOKKA’s software utilizes technology to “read” a scanned document and create transactions that can be linked and uploaded into QuickBooks and Xero, among other bookkeeping software.

DOKKA logo

Recently, Julie met with Eric Edelstein, a Co-Founder and CRO of DOKKA, for an interview. She gave her insights as to how to choose between QuickBooks Online (QBO) and QuickBooks Desktop (QBD). You can read part 1 of the article here. Not only does this interview focus on QBO vs. QBD, but it also goes into Julie’s start with bookkeeping, how the recent Coronavirus has impacted things, and how to even start a virtual company. Julie gives clarity on some of the various points that would influence someone’s decision in choosing an appropriate software and tips to be successful. We always enjoy our time spent working with DOKKA and this interview was no exception!

Common Sense part 2: How to enter PPP/EIDL/etc into the bookkeeping

Lots of people are struggling with the correct way to record the various forms of government assistance they have been receiving, and the advice I’ve seen out there is haphazard at best, dangerous to your bookkeeping at worst. How do you make the entries in your bookkeeping, and how do you track the balance of funds? How do the entries factor into your overall bookkeeping?

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