Tell us about your career up until now, starting with why you chose this profession.
I have been so blessed to have chosen this career almost out of the gate, it has been 36 years and I have never looked back. I truly think that this career chose me as I was attending an agricultural college enrolled in a completely different career path and I had to take a farm accounting class and I loved it and the rest as they say is history. I then came back to Edmonton and attended college for two years where I obtained an Accounting Degree and then worked at one of my instructor’s accounting firm for the first 18 years of my career. I then left this position and worked a bookkeeper for an electrical contractor for the next 9 years and at this point I also started my side bookkeeping business. It was a few years later that I became involved in part time training at another local college where I instructed, updated, and assisted in the delivery of course curriculum for four levels of manual bookkeeping and Sage 50 training. At this same time my part time bookkeeping practice kept growing and eight years ago I left the electrical company, incorporated my bookkeeping business, and have never looked back.
How do you enjoy your time outside of work?
I love animals and the best part of my day starts with walking my dogs each morning at the dog park.
Tell us about the clients that you serve, which industries they operate in and explain your approach to working with them and helping them achieve their desired results.
My clients are all small business, and they range in industries, I started out with the clients that I had been working with at the accounting firm and it has been growing every year since then completely by referral. I have always approached my clients that require Sage 50 training that the goal is to eliminate me. I want to empower them to use the software to achieve their financial results and the best feeling in the world is when they tell me that they are getting this result from their software. I have had a few new clients recently that have been processing data in a spreadsheet program and then entering it into Sage 50 and I always say that I am lazy and that is too much work!! Then I find a way to get that data into Sage 50 without those spreadsheets and that extra step. I am so happy to hear them say the amount of time that they are saving with this new process.
What amount of your client base would you say have embraced the cloud or would consider tech-savvy?
At this point in time my client base would only be about 25% cloud based or tech-savvy and I think this is due to the demographics and the length of time that they have been operating. I do find the newer business that I have taken on as clients are more inclined to embrace more of the cloud technology and are using it to further the operations of their company to be more efficient. One of my favorite features of Sage 50 is Sage Drive and it has helped especially during COVID.
What skills make a great trainer in your opinion?
I think some of my greatest attributes when I train is my sense of humor and patience, I have absolutely no patience in my personal life but when I train, I am able to take the time needed to assist my trainees. The best moment I find in training is when the deer in the headlight look changed to, “I got this”.
Which trends do you think have the potential to disrupt the future of bookkeeping or accounting?
One of the trends that I feel may cause some disruption to the future of bookkeeping of accounting is the easy access to client data. I feel this more for the bookkeeping industry then the accounting industry as the accounting industry is stringently regulated. I feel it is very disappointing that the bookkeeping industry has not been able to achieve this which is resulting in untrained bookkeepers’ access and assisting clients when they may not be completely qualified to do so. It is one of my goals in my bookkeeping life to assist in moving this legislation for bookkeepers forward so that not just anyone can hang their hat and say they are a bookkeeper and access the records of clients without some way of ensuring they have the skill set to assist them.
What impact did COVID 19 have on your business? What guidance did your clients need during this time? Did you need to pivot or adapt your own business during this time?
COVID 19 caused an increased to my business as my client asked for my assistance to navigate through the funding opportunities and completing necessary paperwork to ensure their eligibility. It was a trying time for all as clients struggled to adapt their business to ensure their survival and how they needed to pivot. I did have to decide early on regarding onsite visits by ensuring that protocols were complied with at client locations and that they were comfortable with me still returning to their offices and interacting with their staff. I also did have to make the time to find the information to be able to assist clients with the funding opportunities so that I could support these clients with these applications to assist in their survival. It has been an emotional time for many of my clients as have been part of my practice for over 25 years.
How does it feel to be recognized as an award winner in your industry?
I am ecstatic to have been recognized as an award winner and can’t wait to be able to shout it from the roof top. It is a complete honor to have been nominated, make it to the finalist stage with the amazing colleagues that were also nominated. It is a highlight of my career to have been awarded and I can’t even find the words to express my gratitude and appreciation that Sage has created these awards to recognize individuals in this industry.
What advice would you give to the next generation of students considering a career in bookkeeping or accountants?
My advice to the next generation is to never stop learning and never stop asking for assistance and support from your community of bookkeepers and accountants. We all need to work together and not view each other as competition as I truly feel that there is enough work for all of us and that we will all success and have way more fun if we all work together to assist clients to have their best business life ever.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or mention that have supported you in your career or on the path to receiving this award?
I would have never made it this far in my career without the support of my bookkeeper family and this included so many individuals and organizations. The biggest cheerleaders of my career are my two amazing colleagues that have been part of my life for over thirty years both professionally and personally. These two ladies are not only my colleagues but as of October 2019 they became my partners in our amazing journey called Trifold Bookkeeper Advisors. Our partnership goals are to support and train these upcoming bookkeepers and assist them in their career path. These two ladies are no strangers to Sage and so a special shoutout to my bookkeeping sisters Dianne Mueller and Marge Wegren-Debre.