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Jack (or Jackie) of all trades

User busySo, you have your own SMB. Good for you! You have that ‘entrepreneur’ gene; lots of great ideas. You love to sell yourself and your product. You LOVE the pressure, the uncertainty, the long hours. All great reasons to be your own boss; a ‘Jack or Jackie of all trades’.

Does this mean, though, that you want or NEED to be your own Bookkeeper/Accountant?

With all those amazing accounting packages to choose from, you can just do it all yourself, right?

Well, you probably can. The question becomes this: Do you really want to? Ask yourself a few questions before you decide that, on top of all the other hats you are wearing, do you also want to be your own accounting department:

  • Do you have any bookkeeping/accounting knowledge? The answer is likely yes, you can balance your cheque book and manage your household. So, you could likely manage the basics.
  • Do you have TIME to do this? Once again, the answer is probably yes. You could do LESS marketing and sales; less customer relations, fewer trade shows, spend less time with family and friends. (Depending on your family and friends, you may WANT the excuse of having to ‘count beans’.)
  • Do you LIKE bookkeeping? I mean, really like it MORE than selling your widgets or dining with potential clients. This one is more than likely a resounding NO. I notice that when I get all excited and start talking about QuickBooks that most people get that far away look in their eyes or they start picking imaginary lint off of their sweater. Let’s face it, it does take a special person to really enjoy numbers!
  • Do you like the CRA? It’s okay to say ‘sometimes’; I won’t tell. Nothing against the CRA, except that the odd time you may have a ‘longer than normal’ wait time. This is time you could be spending ON the business.
  • Do you like formatting invoices and statements? Oh, you aren’t into graphics that much?
  • How about reports? Love seeing them, but would rather see it as a graph or perhaps in Excel? Or maybe you would like it set up as a memorized report so you don’t even have to think about it but you aren’t too sure how to do this?
  • Not really keen on keeping up with software issues, patches, releases, updates, upgrades; you name it you need to keep on top of it kind of ‘stuff’?
  • You know that software can do all these amazing things but it doesn’t come with a manual? No problem, you have all the time in the world to do internet searches, right?
  • Tax time. Two nasty words. Where’s a shoe box when you need it? Wait a minute, you don’t need that shoe box; you’re going to sort through all that ‘stuff’ yourself, now, and make sense of it, right?
  • I’ll just bet that after a long day your partner, parents, kids, dog or cat just can’t wait for you to get home and start discussing the business! Should you do this, or that? Should you increase this, get rid of that? Should Sally be promoted or shown the door? The list goes on and on. Refer here to the point above on ‘faraway look and picking lint’. Wouldn’t it be just awesome to have a trusted advisor; someone that truly understands the business to bounce these things off of?

And, finally, I get to the point. (Took long enough) The point being this: YES, sure you can punch, scan, import to your heart’s content. But, at the end of the day, is that enough?

I will agree that the role of the bookkeeper/accountant has changed drastically. It’s been a good change; a long needed change. No longer are they mere data entry clerks or report generators or tax filers.

The role has evolved to that of a trusted advisor. Most SMB do not require a full time, in house keeper of the books. But, they surely do need someone to make sense of the numbers. To offer suggestions, support and direction. The role has grown to that of a business consultant. A person that not only understands your numbers but your business as well. It’s hard doing it all. Sometimes it’s just such a relief to have someone to bounce an idea off of. Someone to deal with that nasty HST mess that you created (by accident because you thought you had the software figured out). Someone to help you find new staff or a new business location.

The list goes on and on as to what a trusted advisor/consultant can do to help your SMB grow and flourish. It may take time to find one that supports your software, your odd hours, your personality and that truly understands your business and your vision. Let me tell you this; once you find this person, hang onto them. They will be instrumental not only in your day to day ‘accounting’ needs but also in the very essence and wellbeing of your business in general. 

Yes, you do have to pay for this person and likely more than you would pay a data entry clerk. Basically, anyone can do data entry and with the features of software ever evolving, even this is becoming less of a requirement. What you are looking for is YOUR own ‘Jack or Jackie’ of all trades to be part of the team; the team that sees your vision of success.