In celebration of Global Bookkeeping Week, we invited bookkeepers from across our global network to share their view on the importance of bookkeepers and some of the pain points of the industry. With tattoos, piercings and multicolored hair adorning their advisors, Moxie Bookkeeping in New York defies bookkeeper stereotypes. Tracy Stanfield, the company’s Business Manager shares what makes Moxie unique.
What makes your business different from your average bookkeeping practice?
Well besides the fact that our founder Ean’s hair is currently three different colors, our clients are what make us unique. We specialize in working with creative firms, film companies, photographers, music ensembles and dance companies. Additionally, another niche that we focus a lot on is non-profits.
These creative firms and organizations are some of the most passionate people I’ve had the pleasure to work with, but they’re often so consumed with creating that they need a little direction managing their financials. That’s where we come in.
I think we attract a more artistic, creative clientele because we share a common ground of creativity. Within the team, we’ve got writers, actors and even a musician in a punk rock band.
We have a more relaxed attitude than a lot of bookkeeping and accounting firms and our clothes reflect this with jeans and tattoos being very much part of the ‘uniform’. When setting up client relationships, we think of it as speed dating, an investment in a long-term relationship. Ultimately, our clients need to be able to trust us and we need to understand each other, so each bookkeeper needs to match up with their client.
What is the most important issue facing bookkeeping today?
We just got back from Accountex and the overriding theme there seemed to be the difficulty in finding good bookkeepers. Unfortunately talented, savvy and empathetic bookkeepers do not grow on trees and we expend a lot of effort and resources to find talent.
Good bookkeepers need to be so much more than just efficient with numbers and data. They also need to have discipline as many bookkeepers work remotely a lot of the time. Moreover, it is essential that they have good people skills and can follow up with clients and be communicative. For bookkeepers, communication is the lifeblood of a business.
How do you set yourself apart from other bookkeepers?
When you’re updating a client’s books, communication is what will set you apart from other bookkeepers. Numbers aren’t for everyone and a client may not know how to read the report, but they will read that email. Giving a general recap of the report in an email in a way that’s easy to understand is key. We also always give them the option to talk it through with us. It’s more than just Y equals Z, you’ve really got to communicate the value you’re providing.
Giving them insight into their business and advice for growth will mean that they view you as a true partner in the business, rather than a human calculator.
Why do you think it’s important to have a bookkeeper?
My boyfriend was one of the first Moxie clients but when his business started failing he decided to do his own bookkeeping to cut costs. Now he spends two to three hours a week struggling to go through his books. He doesn’t have any bookkeeping experience and faces constant interruptions. It eats up his after hours and impacts his business.
While he may not be paying for it financially he is definitely paying for it in time. Having a bookkeeper takes the headaches away and gives you more time to focus on the areas of the business you are passionate about which will ultimately drive growth.
Can you pinpoint a particularly memorable client success story?
Having the opportunity to work with a variety of creative and non-profit organizations really makes working at Moxie exciting. We really become involved in our clients’ projects and their passion for their causes is infectious. We recently started work with a charitable organization that helps women in Southeast Asia immigrate to the US. They have been so appreciative of the work we have done for them that they recently invited us to their fundraising gala.
We also worked with a film company, providing bookkeeping for a documentary they were making and they ended up giving us a film credit. These little displays of appreciation are part of what make our jobs so rewarding.