What's it like being a small business bookkeeper?

In one way, hard work! In another, a constant challenge. In another way again, a great rewarding experience. Let me explain all three.

The hard work one is probably the easiest to explain first. There is no big boss to hold me accountable or tell me off, there is no certainty that I will get paid on time for everything I do, and I am always looking for the next batch of work to do or networking for new clients. At times there are long hours, often worked alone at home, and the need for some serious self-discipline. Plus the doubts, anxieties, fears, insecurities and all that.

The challenges are really to overcome all the bits I just mentioned. Unless I have one of my staff coming in at 9am and thus have to will myself to get out of bed, I could easily stay in bed or slack off and not get any work done. The self-discipline is also to spend my actual working time doing work, not checking my Facebook newsfeed or the cricket scores. But I know that if I don’t then there will be outcomes that I don’t desire later on, like not being able to charge out for work and thus having a sick looking bank account!

Some years ago in Busselton on a personal break, I was in a bookshop where I saw a book that supposedly described your personality based on the day you were born. According to this book, my special gift is ‘turning business around’. Definitely accurate for me, though I doubt it is for everyone. Often when I start working with a new client, the records are in a mess. So after all sorts of workings over a period of time I can get aspects of the business turned around, usually from a point where the business owner is a stressed out mess to a happy one that understands what is going on. And that is the biggest reward that I can ever have in business.