Jay Kimelman, Founder and CEO of the digital CPA, shares what inspires him, and how it is our mindset that determines our commitment to achieving our goals.
As I sit here reflecting on my time at Xerocon San Diego recently, one word keeps popping into my head. Mindset. As professionals, we must be willing to change our mindset. Steve Vamos told us this in his keynote address. From my perspective it is happening, albeit slowly. From conversations and experiences I have, I notice myself and the people I engage with worry less about being 100% right. Our community seems more open to change. I can see the growing tendency of business professionals to ask questions and learn from others. This truly inspires me. Not only in my role as a Xero Ambassador, but as an accountant and entrepreneur. I’m dedicated to helping more accounting professionals begin and continue the process of changing their mindset.
I am lucky to love my work but my deepest inspiration is my family. After Xerocon, I flew all night to meet my wife and daughter in Myrtle Beach for the national dance competition. I do this because I am a ‘Dance Dad’. You might be thinking, “But Jay, you’re the digital CPA”. I assure you, the digital CPA holds little sway at home or in the world of dance. But there are surprising similarities between the two worlds.
The life of a Dance Dad
As a Dance Dad – I haul props, I clap wildly, I take photos, I drive carloads of excited girls, and I pay for things – lots of things. Such things as sparkles, shoes, makeup, costumes and private lessons. I do this because my daughter, Abi, has spent the last 11 months working towards something that matters to her. Dancing lights her up and inspires her. I understand that. 12 year old girls are not inspired by doing beautiful business. But as I reflect on Xerocon San Diego and our dance competition, I realise how similar we all are.
I stacked my schedule in early June to make sure my calendar was clear for the week of my daughter’s dance competition. I wanted to immerse myself in the activities of a Dance Dad. Abi makes sacrifices all year long – missing birthday parties and school events to manage school work and dance practice.
Success is having the right team behind you
For her, it is the feeling she experiences when dancing on stage, whether working towards a goal in a solo performance or practicing with her team for a big production number. For me, it is doing business in a way that supports my fellow professionals to grow their businesses. It’s also about using what I have practiced and studied over my career to improve the life for my family, the people I work with, the customers I serve, and the Xero community. One thing I have in common with Abi is being present with others while helping each other to meet our goals. Both individual and shared goals.
My daughter’s team support one another after every dance performance, running backstage to tell each other how great they did. I watch them console their teammates when they stumble or miss a step. I hear them tell each other to be brave, to pick themselves up when they fall and to keep going. It is truly inspiring. Their smiles and their grit power us all through the 7-day event.
Reviewing and recommitting to a mindset
Recently, Abi was awarded the Contagious Smile Award by her studio, for always having a positive attitude and encouraging her team. Abi has had to change her mindset in the last few years. When she first joined the team, dancing was about twirling in pretty costumes and being with her friends. It has evolved into something a lot more. Each year, we recommit to our team. We ask Abi, “Are you willing to put the work in and make the sacrifices needed to be on this team?” Each year she says, “Yes” – and we do our best to support her to achieve her goals.
However, as she gets older, more is expected of her. Her teammates want to win. They want to do more complicated dance routines and increase their individual and group skills. Abi’s mindset has needed to shift from twirling in pretty costumes to working hard to reach a shared goal. She has to listen to her team and her coaches, and let go of being right about things. Learn to be open to the changes in her life and recommit each year. As well as ask herself if this is truly what she wants and if she wants to work for it.
I see myself doing the same thing as a Xero Ambassador and as the owner of a Xero-focused practice. Like Abi and her teammates, I hope I encourage you and help you when you miss a step. I am grateful for the opportunity to engage with a few of you at Xerocon in San Diego recently. I am thankful for the amazing and collaborative work I do. I’m also lucky to place the same amount of focus on my family when I switch gears from the digital CPA to “The Prop Father” – a term our team has coined for us Dance Dads. I am not sure the work I do in business would matter as much if I did not have Wendy and Abi to do it for. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Choreographing our work/life commitments
As I am writing this, we’ve already received next year’s competition dates and rehearsal schedule. My wife sits with me as we look over our calendars together, making sure we can juggle her growing practice, my travel commitments, and our daughter’s dance schedule. We do this to make sure we consider what we all need to enable us to live a good life.
My family, like a business, does not run efficiently or happily if priorities are not clear and the tools are not effective. I am grateful to have found a community of like-minded business professionals who leverage powerful tools to create meaningful lives for themselves, their teams, and their clients. This work allows me to be the Dad, the husband and the professional I want to be.
About the author
Jay Kimelman is the Founder and CEO of the digital CPA & the digital Integrator, beyond the cloud firms delivering accounting, tax, technology and consulting services to small and medium business owners and accountants, freeing them from the desktop. Jay is also a Co-Founder of Bluewire Strategy Group, a consulting firm specializing in crafting the modern accounting firm.
As a recovering appaholic, Jay pairs his love of technology with his love for accounting. He has been named multiple times in the Top 50 Cloud Accountants list, was named Xero Most Valued Professional in 2016 and currently serves as a National Xero Ambassador. When not working, Jay is a Dance Dad supporting his daughter, Abigail, or can be found spending time with his wife, Wendy.