On August 26th-28th Salt Lake City will host the 68th annual United Nations Conference. Salt Lake City is the first state to host the conference, outside of the UN’s home state of New York. The 68th United Nations Conference theme is building inclusive and sustainable communities.
To mix things up a bit, our assistant interviewed the business owners, Alex Mic-Poder and Julie Delong. We are sharing the interview with our Backyard Bookkeeping audience! Backyard Bookkeeper looks forward to being one of the 6,000 attendees at this conference from 120 different countries!
1. Why did you decide to be a part of the upcoming UN Conference.?
“We believe in the mission and goals of the united nations conference, and we believe Backyard Bookkeeper supports that mission. Also, we want to interact with other organizations and companies with similar goals.”
2. How is Backyard Bookkeeper committed to Sustainability and being Inclusive?
“We believe small business is the backbone of the economy, and BB helps other businesses succeed, regardless of size or demographic.”
3. How can women be empowered to strengthen communities?
“Women can strengthen communities when they have opportunities to use their unique talents to contribute and to participate in the local economy. Unfortunately, many women are not able to find appropriate work or business opportunities. However, BB both offers flexible work arrangements for women looking for work. The business owners of BB itself are women as well.”
4. Why do you think the United Nations chose Utah to be the first city to host the UN conference outside of NY headquarters?
“Well, the simple answer is because one of our friends campaigned for it! LOL. SLC is a great hub for the United Nations conference. It has international interests and internationally minded people. The city is close to one of the newer tech centers of the country (Silicon Slopes), and it’s a great place for innovative business ideas to get a start.”
5. What do you think youth and young adults can do to create an inclusive and sustainable community?
“Youth can volunteer, seek employment, or start new ventures.”
6. How can society recover from conflict and nurture peace?
“We need to address the basic needs of each individual for food, clothing, shelter, and community. Addressing these basic needs, is possible both through charitable work, and ensuring that all people regardless of gender, race, etc, have an equal opportunity to participate in the economy and the community. Peace happens when people’s basic needs are satisfied. Several exhibitions and workshops at the united nations conference answer this question as well.”
7. How can we create more opportunities and economic success for youth?
“We create more opportunities for youth, when we emphasize college education less and actual work experience more. Many college degrees don’t impart real job skills and just leave students with crippling debt. Therefore, we need to remove the stigma associated with not getting a college degree and encourage youth to experiment with work study programs and apprenticeships. Consequently youth gain real life experience rather than prolonging an educational experience that prolongs their dependence on others. (This is a controversial topic, these are just our personal views. Not sure how helpful they are here.)”
Please check back the week of the United Nations Conference in Salt Lake City for the second half of our interview! Check out the UN website for more information: https://outreach.un.org/ngorelations/slc-conference .
I have a friend in the mortgage industry and lately he’s been “complaining” that there is not much to do at work. Complaining is probably not the right word for it, except that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for him to pretend he’s working now that he’s started to bring his guitar to work and is showing off his handstand abilities to his co-workers. Last year at this time, he was complaining because of how much work there was to do. He had to stay late and even work a couple Saturdays to stay on top of the workload. There was no guitar playing or handstanding that year. All joking aside, he had a meeting today that laid out the stats for his department.
Here is the important information to know because it will validate my point:
|Loans to process||LOTS (100%)||3% less than LOTS (97%)|
|Number of people in his department||20||15|
That’s right, only 3% less volume of work being done by 25% less people. And yet 2018 is the year their department feels like there is nothing to do.
“What made the difference?” you ask…well, that’s what I asked.
“Staying on top of things,” he replied. He then went on to explain that in 2017 his department was perpetually 3 days behind. A loan would be ready and it would take 3 days before it was processed. In 2018, their department decided it was time to get caught up. They began working to ensure that loans were processed as soon as they were ready. That changed everything.
Even when the amount of employees working went down, and work volume stayed virtually the same (which actually increased the amount of loans each employee processed if you do the math), they were able to stay ahead of the game. *Cue the guitars and handstands.* The difference came because there were no longer complaint emails and phone calls. And everyone’s stress level went down because they didn’t feel behind. The volume of actual work done increased, but customer service improved and suddenly work became easier. They went from “putting out fires” on last day loans to providing excellent customer service and enjoying their work day more when they forged ahead and stayed ahead.
What does this have to do with bookkeeping? Good question. This is, after all, a blog for a bookkeeping company.
First of all, it’s a good reminder to us all to stay on top of our bookkeeping. Work has this funny tendency of not going away when you ignore it, and even getting more difficult as time goes on. When you stay on top of your bookkeeping, it’s a lot easier to solve the financial problems that come because you are aware of them. Work doesn’t pile up and finances are easier to interpret when it’s not just a guessing game.
Secondly, this is just one more reason to hire Backyard Bookkeeper. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I’ve had with potential clients saying the same basic things: I can’t keep up anymore. I need to take something off my plate. I’m not doing what I love because I’m stuck trying to figure out QuickBooks/CosmoLex/Billy/Xero. When you delegate responsibilities to people who love to do the work, everyone stays on top of things better. We get to enter the numbers and you get to focus on the parts of your business that you love, the things you started your business for. And when you stay on top of business, it does better. Not only that, but you will have more time to play guitar, do handstands, be with your family, or do whatever other hobbies you choose to pick up.
So here’s to getting things done efficiently and in a timely manner. Let us know if we can help.
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
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:
I love working from home! The perks are endless:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
“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?
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.
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.
Starting a small business shows you believe in yourself and in your product or service enough to invest in yourself. Marketing is the way to grow the seed you planted into something substantial. This article from OnDeck has some great tips for promoting your business in free and easy ways.