171 episodes

I Love Bookkeeping is a global community of Bookkeeping Professionals. We all bleed bookkeeping and want to grow and prosper our businesses. This podcast is for Bookkeeping Professionals who serve clients, and it's for the person who aspires to join our great industry. Join Ben Robinson every week to geek out on Bookkeeping.

I Love Bookkeeping Ben Robinson

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 118 Ratings

I Love Bookkeeping is a global community of Bookkeeping Professionals. We all bleed bookkeeping and want to grow and prosper our businesses. This podcast is for Bookkeeping Professionals who serve clients, and it's for the person who aspires to join our great industry. Join Ben Robinson every week to geek out on Bookkeeping.

    You're Doing Too Much in Your Bookkeeping Business with Randy Ballen - Encore Presentation

    You're Doing Too Much in Your Bookkeeping Business with Randy Ballen - Encore Presentation

    Randy started her bookkeeping business after the age of 50. She had been working in a dance studio for over ten years until things went awry, and she felt that if there was no security in the traditional job market anymore she might as well do things her own way.
    [3:25] Freedom means being able to go out for lunch with her son completely unplanned, without having to run it by a boss first.
    [4:25] Randy is currently working with attorneys and has between 15 and 20 clients, depending on how you count. Trust accounts are the number one reason that attorneys are disbarred so Randy feels like she is doing the most good she could do.
    [6:10] Randy is a big fan of Bookkeeper Business Launch. It gave her the security to know she wasn’t alone and didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Being an entrepreneur is a rollercoaster and this really helps limit the lows.
    [7:50] Overwhelm is a very prevalent feeling in Randy’s life with her business. She feels like she has so much to do and never enough time to do it. Her vision for the business has changed from what it started out as, but now she has client work that takes up the majority of her time.
    [10:30] Productivity is not about doing more in less time, it’s about doing less in less time.
    [11:10] Randy’s unique abilities have to do with client relationships which gives her business a lot of security.
    [12:30] If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the first thing to do is to find one hour a week that will allow you to start taking back your time. Overcoming overwhelm is about intentionally setting aside time for the important things. The first thing to do is create your “do not do list” and keep it in front of you all the time. What of those tasks are the easiest that you can hand off?
    [15:30] To hand off a task to a VA, have the person watch you do it via screen share so they can see the work as it happens. Record the video and then use it as a reference for later on.
    [18:30] Work expands to fill the allotted time. You have to be aware of how much time you allot to certain tasks and ask yourself what your 80/20 activities are. You want to eventually give yourself fewer activities and less time to do them in so you maximize efficiency.
    [22:25] The longer you are on your entrepreneurial journey, the more you realize that there are only a couple of things that you are really good at.
    [23:35] Randy’s business has been life changing for her. She realized that she would have to go out and meet people, and every day she is doing something outside of her comfort zone. The small amount of discomfort is outweighed by all the benefits that come with it.
    [26:15] Quick recap on the lessons learned today. Do less in less time, take the time to celebrate how far you’ve come, and take things one hour at a time.
    [28:05] A common objection is that we can’t afford the time to offboard a task to someone new, but the truth is you can’t afford not to.
    [29:20] The difference between being excellent and your Unique Ability is that your Unique Ability is something that charges you up and could do all day. Everything else is something that you should give to somebody else.
    [30:30] There is always another challenge to overcome, and there will always be people who want to take your time, but you have to keep pushing and refining. It’s about being effective and not just efficient. Before you do things well, you need to know what things you need to be doing in the first place.
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Ballen Bookkeeping
    Contact us about the show:

    • 34 min
    How To Get More Done In Half The Time - Process Optimization - Encore Presentation

    How To Get More Done In Half The Time - Process Optimization - Encore Presentation

    Once you’ve documented your processes and created the checklists, you need to put yourself into a different frame of mind and ask “how do I improve on these?”
    [0:55] One of the biggest traps that people fall into is documenting their processes while trying to improve them at the same time, which is a recipe for disaster. You have to clearly distinguish between documenting your processes and working to make them better.
    [2:00] Just like advisory services, you need to set aside time when you have the highest level of energy and bandwidth to work on your processes. Go back to your video recording and watch yourself do the task and start looking for the cracks.
    [3:05] You can’t do this right after you record the process because you need to have as fresh a set of eyes as you can manage. Ask yourself if there is a piece of technology that you can use to make the task more efficient.
    [3:50] It’s important to remember it’s not all about technology and apps, it’s about the process. Apps and technology will come and go but the process will still remain essentially the same.
    [4:25] The second place to look at is where the bottlenecks within your process are. If you’re working with other people, this is easy to identify. If you have to continually give review notes to the person you’re working with, you probably have a process problem, not a people problem.
    [5:20] The main questions you should be asking yourself when improving processes are “how can I do this better?”, “how can I do this quicker?”, and “how can I be more efficient?”.
    [5:40] The most powerful way to improve is to ask someone who is five steps ahead of you outside of your organization to review your process.
    [6:50] You need to have a process control document in place because improvement is not a one and done activity. You should look at the critical processes that really turn the dial in your business every 90 days.
    [7:50] Give your team the responsibility to question how they do things and give them permission to suggest improvements on how things get done.
    Contact us about the show:

    • 10 min
    How to Effectively Document Processes - Encore Presentation

    How to Effectively Document Processes - Encore Presentation

    One of the most common questions that Ben gets is around documenting processes because they are often all over the place.
    [0:35] The first thing to do is to distinguish between process documentation and process improvement. Whether or not you have your processes written down, you will have processes in place on how you do things.
    [1:00] The reason you want to document your processes is to do more with less time and improve the quality of the services that you offer your clients. It also opens up the opportunity to offer additional services because of the increased efficiency.
    [1:35] Even if it’s just you in your business, it’s still important to document your processes, but once you bring on other people, it becomes crucial.
    [2:10] The first step to documentation is to list out all your processes in your business. For every deliverable in your business, there is a process. Once you’ve listed out the meta-processes, you can break them down further into tasks.
    [3:05] The next step is to take one of those tasks and actually do it. Go through the physical steps of the task while using a screen capture software to record exactly what you’re doing.
    [4:30] While working through the task and recording it, you should be narrating what you’re doing at the same time, preferably in a way that a sixteen year old could come into your business and do the task the same way that you are.
    [5:20] Once you complete the recording, you get a video file that you can use to create your process. Take the audio and get it transcribed by a service like Rev.com and then edit the transcription down to the key elements.
    [6:30] Once you’ve done that, you have a video that shows you how to do the process as well as a Word document that allows you to read how to do it. Once you have those, you can turn the document into a checklist.
    [7:05] The checklist has to pass the Cessna 172 test and fit entirely on one side of a folded piece of paper. The checklist should only address the big things involved in a task, the stuff that absolutely has to be done in a process. There should be no more than 5 items on any given checklist.
    [8:10] Improving your processes is a different process altogether. Start with the simpler tasks on your list and then work your way up. Just by working your way through the documentation process, you will reap tremendous benefits in your business.
    [9:10] List your processes and start documenting one. Don’t worry about the quality of the recording or how you sound. The point is to get started.
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Contact us about the show:

    • 10 min
    The Pros and Cons of Working with Startups with Jessie White - Encore Presentation

    The Pros and Cons of Working with Startups with Jessie White - Encore Presentation

    Jessie has a background in education and actually worked as a history teacher. One day in her third year, she wanted to teach some new classes and was given a flat refusal from her boss. At that point, she realized her days as a teacher were numbered. She stumbled upon Bookkeeper Business Launch on the Penny Hoarder and it seemed like a good fit. She enrolled in the course in August, launched her business in October and got her first client in November.
    [5:25] Before jumping into bookkeeping, Jessie was considering other jobs including different teaching positions. Once she learned what bookkeeping really is, it checked all her boxes. Going through the modules in the course was challenging initially but she benefited a lot by discussing the contents in the modules with her husband.
    [8:00] Jessie’s first client was a startup that just needed some help with their setup. She was close enough to actually meet in person so she drove to her place to do some training with her before landing her as a client. She now has 15 monthly clients with a few others who require different services.
    [10:00] The first client and the majority of the subsequent clients were mainly found through LinkedIn. Building relationships with a couple local CPAs has also been helpful by referring clients and offering help. You never really know where the most valuable relationships will come from.
    [12:45] The business of bookkeeping can become a monster if you let it, so Jessie books time every day to make sure that she has time to herself. Even with that challenge, Jessie considers herself completely unemployable at this point.
    [14:20] There were three major struggles that could have ended Jessie’s business. One of her lowest points involved getting fired by her second client. There are many reasons to quit a business but you have to remember why you started it in the first place.
    [16:25] In terms of vision, Jessie would like to move into more of a manager role. She would like to be able to work more with the clients and help them grow.
    [19:00] Jessie loves working with startups but it can be difficult because they have so much on their plate. It’s a challenge to know what to charge and get their attention because they tend to be overwhelmed. It’s a lot easier to help a business grow in the beginning than it is to jump into a big business that has never done their books at all.
    [20:50] It’s very important to work with the right kind of startups. The ones with no money and no direction can be a major headache. The best kind of startup with whom to work are the ones with funding. If they don’t have money because they’re bootstrapping, it's probably going to be an issue. Vet and qualify your potential clients on the front end based on their capital structure and business model.
    [25:25] Most of Jessie’s clients reach out to her within their first two years of business and the majority of them don’t really do much beyond a box of receipts in terms of bookkeeping. The optimal time is probably around the one-year point. That’s when it will be obvious if the business model is sustainable.
    [28:00] Jessie’s niche is health and fitness but it really comes down to the personality of the entrepreneur that she’s looking. It’s important to write down the specific attributes of your ideal client and what motivates them. Start with your favorite clients and what they have in common.
    [31:20] Based on your avatar of your ideal client, think about who already has their attention. For Jessie that means CPAs and people in the banking industry. That can also mean attorneys, podcasters and authors as well. Those are the people with whom you want to establish relationships. It doesn’t take too many of those to start getting clients. Keep in mind that the best way to get a referral is to give a referral.
    [35:30] You should try to get in the frame of mind of the referral partner and what they need from the relationship.
    [36:40] Jessie could a

    • 45 min
    How to Double Your Revenue with Brooke Swan - Encore Presentation

    How to Double Your Revenue with Brooke Swan - Encore Presentation

    Brooke started off in the industry as an account manager with a construction company, until one day she got fired which was a first for her. Brooke was a day trader for a few years after that but once that became stale, she started looking for other opportunities. She had always wanted to start a business and after doing some searching, she found Bookkeeper Business Launch and decided it was the right fit.
    [4:10] Brooke’s business is now one year in and she serves a number of clients, some of them are other Bookkeeper Business Launch members.
    [5:50] Brooke really enjoys bookkeeping so she’d be happy to just do it all for a while, but she knows that eventually if the business keeps growing, she’ll hit a wall. Training a team to take some of the work off her hands is probably going to be in her future.
    [7:00] In terms of income, Brooke is still trying to boost revenue but she’s specifically focused on increasing her average client billings first.
    [8:10] Higher-end, service-based businesses are the niche in which Brooke focuses. Working with motivated business owners is one of the best parts of working with her clients.
    [10:00] Freedom is definitely Brooke’s favorite thing about the bookkeeping business and being able to shape her work around her lifestyle. At this point, she can’t imagine working for someone else, which is a very different perspective from what she had when she was younger.
    [11:55] Not knowing what you don’t know has been one of Brooke’s biggest challenges with growing the business. Being able to reach out to the Bookkeeper Business Launch group has been extremely helpful in understanding what to do next.
    [14:00] Brooke really likes cleanups while at the same time kind of hates them because of how crazy they can be, but once the books are reconciled and everything balances, it’s very satisfying.
    [15:30] In terms of activities that Brooke avoids, it’s more the business-owner stuff that gets pushed off, partly due to uncertainty and partly due to a general dislike.
    [17:10] By this time next year, Brooke is hoping to double her clients and hire two other bookkeepers and outsource the work to them. She wants to have the right pieces in the right places before she starts to scale.
    [20:15] Brooke’s struggle is whether or not to hire someone to run her business for her or should she hire bookkeepers so that she can step into the business owner’s shoes. In every business, there are only three parts: marketing, administration and operations. Whenever you bring someone on, they should complement your weaknesses.
    [21:50] One of the things that distinguishes business owners is our ability to market and get clients. When you’re getting started, you shouldn’t outsource your marketing because no one will have the same vested interest in your business as you do.
    [23:10] Finding the time to work on her business has always been difficult due to Brooke’s workload. Ben recommends booking four, one-hour sessions into your calendar next week where all you do is plan your business; preferably at a time when you are at your sharpest.
    [27:30] You may have to retrain your brain into being able to work on the high-level activities that move the needle. Sometimes the easy things we love to do are the ones that get in our way.
    [28:25] Do a task audit and list every single activity you do in your business and then assign a dollar amount to each one. The point is to not get bogged down doing the low-dollar work and focus on the activities at the top of the list. Once you’ve got your list, look through all the tasks and try to identify your unique abilities; the things that you love to do and could do all day. Everything else are tasks that you should be looking to eventually get off your plate.
    [30:55] Acknowledge what you have done to get to where you are. This helps build your confidence and to be grateful for what you have.
    [34:40] Make your business building work environment a special pla

    • 47 min
    How to Create Consistent Systems with Simplicity: Dave Rice - Encore Presentation

    How to Create Consistent Systems with Simplicity: Dave Rice - Encore Presentation

    Dave and his wife have been working together for a long time. She took on the bookkeeping side of things, while Dave had been running his pharmacy. After selling off the business and traveling for a while, they got into real estate investing and eventually started looking at bookkeeping itself as a business.
    [4:30] Dave knew what his niche was going to be even before signing up for Bookkeeper Business Launch. As real estate investors themselves, they understand their needs and pain points, and currently work with 22 real estate investing clients.
    [6:15] There was no secret to Dave’s success. They found their first client on LinkedIn and after working with them for a few months, that client referred another one. Since then, they have referred at least seven other clients as well.
    [7:20] Dave eventually migrated away from LinkedIn to Facebook and is a member of a number of real estate investing groups where they post semi-regularly. Dave also managed to get onto his real estate mentor’s podcast and that has resulted in a number of other investors reaching out to them.
    [9:40] Dave doesn’t pay for any marketing or advertising. They simply make themselves available on Facebook groups and respond to inbound inquiries. Dave has a one page website that is focused on one thing, to get someone to book a call.
    [13:15] In terms of work hours between Dave and his wife, they probably work an average of 50 hours a week. Their goal is to maximize their income over the next 8 or 10 years, and they want to keep most of the business in-house.
    [15:50] It’s important to manage your clients’ expectations. Rarely is anything in the business truly urgent, so it’s not necessary to be taking phone calls at 9 pm.
    [17:10] As Dave and his wife started figuring things out and writing their processes down, they realized that they did things differently depending on the client. They have started documenting everything, and are in the process of turning processes into concrete procedures.
    [19:20] Processes allow them to get the most amount of work done in the least amount of time. It also allows their service to be uniform across their clients. Another big tip is realizing that niching down allows you to become much more efficient.
    [23:30] The struggle is mainly taking time out of the day to actually create the document itself while doing the tasks. At the same time, how they do things is still evolving and you can’t document a procedure until you’ve figured out what the procedure is. Dave has started recording some smaller tasks to begin the process.
    [26:30] Start with the low hanging fruit, and document the simplest and easiest processes that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant. Each task may only take you a couple of minutes to do, but they add up to hours over the course of the month.
    [28:45] Dave has a checklist for his onboarding that he follows every single time. Since Dave only onboards a couple of clients a month, he still uses the checklist even though that’s one of his main focuses in the business.
    [30:20] Mundane and repetitive tasks are the first ones you should hand over to a virtual assistant. Just by documenting your procedures and systematizing your business, you will reduce the amount of time you need to complete tasks by 20%.
    [31:30] Document your processes as they are, not as they should be. Once you’ve done that, then you can start to improve them. It’s important to have a separate space to work from when you are working on your business.
    [34:10] Once a client gets into maintenance mode, the amount of time it takes each month to service them gets really low. The majority of the time spent in the business is on cleaning up new client’s books and getting things in line. Getting the documentation from a new client is one of the best examples of a task that can be turned into a process and outsourced. Break down each major activity into smaller, more discrete tasks.
    [39:50] Don’t let perfection

    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
118 Ratings

118 Ratings

Spotter86 ,

Love the new format!

I am loving listening to the conversations between Hannah and Melissa. We need more women podcasting in accounting!

Maksmom2018 ,

Literally Love

Love the podcast but the September 6 episode had an overuse of the word literally. It was getting humorous. 🤣😂😂
But seriously, great podcast!

PrincessBride^_^ ,

I’m Proud of You!

Ben delivers high quality and very valuable content on what feels like a never ending path to self sufficiency in the world of starting and running your own bookkeeping firm.

As a student in his course with so many ppl posting their success stories on our group’s Facebook page, Ben is never a stranger. Constantly commenting on how proud he is of everyone, making this whole experience extremely personal.

Well, I wanted to turn it around for a second and have been reflect on his accomplishments for a moment in case he reads this. Myself, and I’m sure many others, are very proud of you sir!

Thank you for being you! Keep up the great work!

Top Podcasts In Business

Freakonomics Network & Zachary Crockett
Erika Kullberg
Ramsey Network
Jocko DEFCOR Network
Guy Raz | Wondery

You Might Also Like

Serena Shoup, CPA
Michael Palmer
The 6 Figure Bookkeeper
David Leary & Blake Oliver, CPA
Katie Ferro
Kemberli Stephenson