The Importance of Good Bookkeepers: A Conversation With Misa Bacon

for bookkeepers Jun 10, 2024
good bookkeeper



I am so excited to welcome Misa Bacon from Perfectly Kept Books on to chat with us about the importance of bookkeeping!

We were having this conversation over DM, but I felt it was an important one to have, so I wanted to bring it here and share it with all of you.

We want to call bookkeepers back to feeling good about their service and not getting distracted by any of the other noise, opinions, or anything that makes you feel less-than for any reason. So without further ado…



Why is Bookkeeping So Important?

Katie: Misa, why is bookkeeping—and being a good bookkeeper—so important? Why do you love what you do so much?

Misa: Bookkeeping is important because it's literally the foundation to everything else that you do as a business owner. Business owners are always asking questions, and a lot of times they can get that answer if they look at their books…but most are not looking at their books. Most are just going out and saying, “Oh, I need to go take this course. I need to go hire this coach. I need to go do all these things,” etcetera, before they’ve even looked at the numbers to see what’s actually happening.

You can't plan for tomorrow if you don't even know what's going on today. So I like to remind business owners that they want to pay attention to the numbers. They want to pay attention to the books. They want to have a good bookkeeper to do the bookkeeping every month—not just at tax time.

This is the information you're using to actually run your business. It's not something you want to do just from time to time, or because you need to file taxes, or because you need to submit reports for something you're applying for. It should be something you're using day to day to run your business. You want to invest in a good bookkeeper.


Don’t Compete With Cheap

Katie: Speaking of investing, I think it would be good to talk about a misconception about good bookkeeping and good bookkeepers, because one thing I’ve been wanting to talk about lately is large corporations that offer what they call “bookkeeping.”

People think it’s the same thing good bookkeepers do, but it’s not actually the same service at all. However, those large companies can offer it far cheaper than we as individuals can, which is attractive to a lot of business owners. Are you concerned at all about that?

Misa: Here’s the thing: people might think bookkeeping is an oversaturated field, but the truth is that there is a major shortage of really good bookkeepers, and so many businesses out there that need bookkeeping done.

I am 100% behind having options, but I want the options to be great. Whether a business owner hires me or you or one of these companies, I want their options to be great, because everyone is different. Everyone has different needs. But everyone needs a good bookkeeper, no matter where they find them.

Some people might be best served by your offers; others might prefer mine. And some people will look at our services and say, “You know, I don't really need all that. I just need to make sure it's done.” Some people have a good grasp on things already and just need to be able to pull the numbers and review them.

I have no problem with people looking into other options, but I want them to make sure those options are equal, because they’re often not. A good bookkeeper is worth their weight in gold, so I don’t spend much time worrying about trying to compete with cheaper but lower-quality services.



The Qualities of a Good Bookkeeper

Katie: Have any of your clients ever moved from these cheaper services to using a bookkeeper instead?

Misa: One of my earlier clients actually came to me from a service, and she was not happy with it.  She realized she needed something more personalized and someone who was actually going to give her what she needed.

The big difference with offering something personalized was that I was able to actually ask her what she needed, because like I said, everyone is different. Understanding what they need and meeting them there makes all the difference; I can then say, “Well, I have this standard reports package, but is that enough? Or do you need more?” And if they need additional things, I can tweak that for them. These services don’t do that.

So, to my good bookkeepers out there…let’s make sure we stay in communication with our clients, because we are working together.

Good bookkeepers shouldn’t be saying, “Well, I'm a bookkeeper and I know what to do. Don't question me. Don't ask me anything. Don't tell me to change anything.”

If someone is working with a bookkeeper and they can't ask them questions, that's a problem. Just because they are the expert doesn't mean they don't make mistakes and that things cannot be wrong, because it happens.

I make mistakes, and that's fine. And I hope that my client can catch them, because when they ask me questions and I answer them, they know what to look for. That's what I want.

I don’t want them to treat me as above reproach. I want them to have their books done right. I want them to be able to say, “Hey, Misa, I noticed that this was categorized this way, but actually belongs here.” I want them to be able to notice and flag those things.

We’re a team. I'm not the expert who just takes over and won’t let you say anything about your own books. That doesn't even make sense. I want us to work together. I want us to communicate.

If you want to be a good bookkeeper, you can make a huge stride just by not participating in this huge problem of our industry: a lack of communication.

My clients are surprised that I respond to their emails. My clients should not be surprised that I respond to their e-mails. It really bothers me that so many bookkeepers don’t communicate, because you cannot get what you need if you're not communicating with the client!


Making Bookkeeping Fun

Misa: One thing about me: I like to make bookkeeping fun. People are like, “Um, bookkeeping is not fun?” Yes it is. It’s very fun, when you have a good bookkeeper in your corner. If it’s not fun, then you have the wrong bookkeeper for you. 

The day-to-day work may not seem fun, but once you get that data in there and you start running reports…that’s when it gets fun.

For example, my clients have often gone, “Oh, I didn't even know I could run a report to compare all my years…and look, I can actually see the growth that I've had over the past few years!”

You can't do that if you're not updating your books, because you won't have the history to pull from. If you get your books done and keep them updates, you can look and say, “Oh my goodness, I've actually made progress!” And you couldn’t visualize that progress without that report.

The beautiful thing about looking at history is it literally tells you what happened. So you have data, you have information, you have something that tells you exactly what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished.

With that information, when you're trying to plan for the future, you can actually do that, because you now understand where you’ve come from. Like I said earlier, you can’t plan for tomorrow without knowing what’s happening today. Your history gives you the context you need to see what your goals should be in your business.

If you’re there thinking, “I want to hire a team member to help me!” you want to see if you have enough revenue to support another person. With upkept books, you can see if historically you haven't been making enough money to support adding a person to your roster. That will let you know that you need to bump up your revenue so that you can have enough to support that person and still bring home profit.

Your data from the past isn’t old news. It’s history that's going to help you inform the future.



Good Bookkeepers Matter!

Misa: All in all, the work that we do matters, and we love it.

It’s a special skill. People—including me—say that anyone can do bookkeeping, and that is true to an extent. With the proper knowledge and training, at the end of the day, anybody could possibly do it.

But to do it very well, that’s a special skill. It’s one thing to have the knowledge and understanding of bookkeeping, but then to translate that into working with clients and listening to their needs and communicating with them…when you put all that together, that makes a very, very rare bookkeeper that you don't find everywhere.

So when people do find you, they go, “I want that bookkeeper.” Not only that, they’re going to stay with that bookkeeper, because they’re not going to get that level of service anywhere else.

Katie: Amazing. Thank you for coming on and doing this today, Misa!

To everyone reading, you can hear our full conversation about the importance of bookkeeping on Episode 180 of the Profits + Prosecco podcast…and to connect with Misa, you can find all her links below!



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