Craving Leadership

Leadership

I’ve had some pretty terrible bosses over the years. I can now see, I have been a pretty terrible employee at times too. I have learned that not all bosses are leaders. Although I have had a few that are.

After 18 years of working for other people in accounting roles for various industries, I decided to start my own business. After a thorough business plan, meetings with business owners and industry professionals in my area, and after months of preparation, there were definitely things I expected to change. There were also many areas that took me completely off guard once my business got rolling. The complete change in employee-based versus consultant-based workflow, the unpredictability of income from one week to the next, and how quickly I realized that not every business was a client I wanted, just to name a few.

The one that I did not expect at all, the one I am still discovering, is how much I actually desire leadership. I was always a very independent employee and I was often convinced I could do a better job at managing the department or the whole company than my own boss. I now know how much they had to deal with that was never even on my radar. I have more respect now for my terrible bosses than I ever thought possible. And that much more for the excellent ones. As business owners, we are not only accounting managers, but billing clerks, collections agents, strategists, marketing professionals, PR agents, IT technicians, and every C-level officer rolled into one. Over the last three years, I have stumbled through these other unexpected roles and have been quite horrible at some of them. At first I thought I needed a boss again, somebody to just tell me what to do and when. Try telling that to my slightly younger self and I would have laughed hysterically. But that would be a task-master and not necessarily a leader. Some days within the last few years, I would have been satisfied with even that.

Forbes.com says leadership is “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal”.  I believe it is perfectly natural, and in fact healthy of us to want to be led, even leaders themselves. I don’t think anyone can honestly say they have no need to continue to learn from and be influenced by others, to establish relationships with people you respect that are stronger in the areas in which you are weaker. For me, that meant not finding one person, an all-encompassing mentor for all areas, but many individuals that have strengths in one area at a time that I am clearly lacking.

You always have the opportunity to have leaders in your life as they do not have to be strictly work-related. Teachers, pastors, counsellors, coaches, or even peers can provide leadership if you are willing to accept it. Even my years as a choir director opened my eyes to what people looked for in a leader. I learned how to communicate the same material to multiple skill sets all at the same time and with a unified result. That single role prepared me more for my current training career than any other experience.

When you are an employee, you do not have the luxury of choosing your boss. But as a business owner or entrepreneur, you can hand pick the people you want in your life that will help you improve your business and yourself. I have been blessed and fortunate to now have, and to be able to continue to find, leaders who can set wonderful examples for me in how to do that. Some of them don’t even know who they are. Some do. That craving for leadership is slowly but surely getting satisfied. The desire to continue to improve myself and my business has resulted in some strong client relationships, business partnerships, and wonderful employees. Hopefully, I am a better boss to them than I was an employee. Maybe one day I’ll be a leader too.

Have you worked under a great leader?  I’d love to hear your story! Email me at rachel@fischbooks.ca or check out my website http://www.fischbooks.ca.

The Appification of QuickBooks

Apps

Technology is changing the landscape of the Bookkeeping industry.  My goal is to use the combination of QuickBooks plus third-party applications that makes for the best and most streamlined accounting solution for my variety of clients here at FischBooks.

Rarely do our clients come to us with a full ecosystem set up.  It is usually up to us to investigate, get thoroughly trained on, and then customize the best set tools to fill our client’s needs. There is no single packaged solution to fit every client and we draw from a collection of six key apps: Hubdoc, Receipt Bank, TSheets, Telpay, Square and Teamwork.  Not only do our client’s business and industry needs differ, but they all have varying levels of Technology Quotient; their TQ.  We can have the “perfect” solution for a client’s business, but if it does not engage the client or easily fit within their workflow, it will not get used. And if it doesn’t get used, it is a waste of money, no matter the price point.

We are constantly testing new applications both for our clients’ use and for our own, and are willing to add more to our portfolio as long as they can save us and/or our clients time, and are easy to operate. I am actively looking for the ideal app for service-based businesses that will allow scheduling and prepayment of services, assigning appointments to staff with full customer history if required and of course job costing for this industry is a must.  I have found bits and pieces of each of these functions in separate apps, but no one solution that fits the bill.

The simplicity of TSheets is an example of how marketing to the Bookkeeper (as well as the Small Business) involves them directly in the success of the app.  It is not some mind-blowing function, it is time tracking. Not-so-plain, but simple. Any app that requires a level of training and certification, as TSheets does, is a positive for me as a trainer myself.  Those software companies understand the importance of us who recommend their product and how reliant the end user is on the Pro for initial setup and support, and are invested in their success as well.

Third party applications, or Apps, and the ecosystem they provide, are what take QuickBooks from a solid choice in accounting software, to a complete game-changer for small businesses and Bookkeepers alike.

If you love one of the apps I listed above, I’d love to hear why!  Or if your favourite app is missing from my list, tell me about it!  Email me at rachel@fischbooks.ca or check out my website http://www.fischbooks.ca.

TSheets: A Client Story – Surprising benefits behind our favourite app

T+QB

I have been a huge fan of TSheets for a while now, and a TSheets Pro since I knew the program existed.  The ease of integration with both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online is unprecedented.  For my clients converting from Desktop to Online, it has remained their constant. The mobile functionality is remarkable (um, hello, GPS?!).  That initial sync where I show my clients THEIR customers, jobs, service items, all being pulled through directly into a time tracking program that is easy for their staff to use and their managers to, well, manage, is positively mind-blowing.  But I recently found some very surprising results with one client in particular.  She already loved saving hours of work per week not tracking down paper timesheets, not dealing with missing information, not tracking down managers to authorize the dirty and torn pieces of paper, and not entering them individually and manually into QuickBooks Desktop.  Based on the security settings she selected in TSheets, timesheets were no longer manipulated (they could never prove they weren’t) and hours were no longer stolen. But the benefits just didn’t stop there!

Staff were actually taking shorter lunch breaks! This particular client is in the construction industry.  These are hardworking guys, don’t get me wrong.  But this staff really enjoyed a long sit-down lunch at a nice restaurant close to the job site, and would indulge several times a week.  By being able to easily see how many hours were getting logged in a day through the mobile app, the crew were starting to realize that even 15-30 minutes a day waiting on menus or serving staff just wasn’t productive for anybody.  Most of all them.  Staff started finding quicker places to eat and adding that unproductive time back to a job, back on their payroll, and back in their pockets.  Some even began bringing lunches from home.

Staff were actually working longer hours! Besides taking shorter lunch breaks, staff who would regularly call it a day by around 3:30 or 4:00 were staying right until 5:00.  Even on Fridays! This client had been processing payroll by direct deposit for a while, but leaving early, especially at the end of the week, had become an unproductive habit.  The purpose of which, of course, was to get back to the office in time to pick up their paycheque, in time to take it to the bank to get cashed.  That purpose didn’t exist anymore, but the routine sure did. Once again, the mobile app prevailed and staff could quickly see that if they kept that up, they would be far below the 80 hours desired per pay.

The managers actually loved it! I have found that the trial period for TSheets is not only a test of wills with staff in some cases, but also with managers deeply set in their paper-tracking ways.  Who knew people loved their paper timesheets so much?! There has not been one client I have worked with that has not had at least some pushback from management staff regarding this “outrageous and futuristic technological marvel” called the mobile app.  But within a matter of a few days, they are quickly transformed and wonder what took them so long to make the switch.  One Health and Safety Manager found it saved him hours a day by only having to travel to worksites when required and not simply to do attendance. He could quickly tell which staff had logged in and ensured they were at the jobsites they were assigned using the GPS functionality.

If you don’t love TSheets, contact me to give you a personal guided tour and we can discuss why so many so many businesses are using TSheets and why so many Pros are recommending it.  If you do love TSheets, I encourage you to look a little deeper, past the boxes of archived paper timesheets, to discover just how much difference it is making to your bottom line.  Is your favourite TSheets perk not listed above?  I’d love you hear from you at rachel@fischbooks.ca. Happy Time Tracking!

For your free 14-day trial, click here http://www.tsheets.com/#a:fischbooks.

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