Imagine that the story of your life is being written right now. What you do every day and how it affects other aspects of your life is being chronicled at this very moment. Your history is being recorded for the benefit of future generations. The only problem is it’s being written in a language that you do not understand. How unbelievably frustrating would that be?
This scenario is not very different from the situation that many business owners find themselves in. Their business is their life. They have shoveled everything they have into their business. Working tirelessly to make it a success. But at the end of the day, when they look at their accounting records, it’s all Greek to them. How maddening!
As bookkeepers, our mission is not only to maintain good accounting records but also to interpret them. We can be the antidote to the frustration and the madness. Many people don’t understand how numbers can tell a story. They see the accounting profession as dull and static. But the opposite is true. It is a dynamic and energetic occupation where we document and breathe life into a business’s history.
But aren’t bookkeepers just office drones inputting data and handing out reports at the end of a period? That is the picture that comes to many people’s minds. Thanks to advancing technology there has been a shift in what it really means to be a bookkeeper. Yes, we can record the numbers. But we do much more. Those numbers have a story behind them. Something is happening in the business and the numbers are the key to understanding what that narrative is. Bookkeepers and accountants have the training and experience to understand the meaning of the numbers and can read the story that those numbers is telling.
As a business owner, you may wonder why would you need someone else to tell you what is happening in your business. After all, you are the one working in your business day in and day out. The truth is that sometimes even when we intimately acquainted with a subject, we still need assistance from others to completely understand what is happening. For example, think about going to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor may order some blood work. When the results come in, they analyze the numbers and then you sit down with your doctor and discuss the results. You may receive a report with the test results but you lack the ability to correctly interpret the readings. You need the doctor to tell you what the numbers on the page mean and what is likely going on within your body. What’s more, your doctor can offer suggestions for how you can feel better.
In the above scenario, perhaps your body was trying to tell you something. You were feeling the symptoms but you didn’t have the medical knowledge to realize how to address the issue. The same could be happening with your business. Perhaps you’re feeling the symptoms of an underlying condition. As with the doctor, getting together and having a discussion with someone who has a different perspective and insight can help to identify where your health could use some improvement. Bookkeepers have experience analyzing the numbers and know what those numbers mean. By having regular discussions with your bookkeeper, you empower yourself to take positive action with a full grasp of what the true story is.
As storytellers and interpreters, we as bookkeepers are most interested in the characters. We recognize that the tale being told affects our clients’ lives. We consider it a privilege to help them understand and tell their story. Above all, we aim to assist them in crafting and guiding that story toward a happy ending.