I am Living my Cloud Bookkeeper Dream
I think I am actually living a lot of business owners’ dreams.
I can work from everywhere, on my schedule and meet my clients’ expectations. I can run my business efficiently from anywhere there is an internet connection or cellular data.
I want to state upfront, unequivocally, that this post is not to brag or gloat. It’s to suggest that the “freedom” we’ve been hearing that comes with “working in the cloud” can actually happen.
I also want to be very clear that it’s been a process and it didn’t happen overnight.
But, it did happen.
I worked hard to make it happen. I plotted and planned. I tested and endured cloud technology fails. I put up with the pitfalls of early accounting SaaS adoption. I painstakingly created best practices and systems. I developed workflows (of course) to keep me organized and on track, and to have mundane, time-sucking, time change challenges actions and communications auto-magically occur. You know the drill … maybe you’re still mucked down in those early, exasperating steps.
I repeat that it’s been a process. And, of course, it’s still evolving.
My dream was to travel, to be able to stay at really cool (actually mostly warm) places for extended times and to keep my business going. When I wasn’t away, I wanted to work from my cabin the majority of the time, with my dog at my feet. I wanted to be available to volunteer at a near and dear cause one morning a week. All the while, I wanted to maintain close, fully engaged relationships with my clients.
Adopting, and embracing, cloud accounting technology can make so many visions of freedom happen though. Pick yours: maybe, it’s the ability to be available on your family’s schedule, your commute is killing you, you want to volunteer during business hours or you love a niche but there’s not enough business for that in your area. Whatever it is, drop your dream into my story.
I knew there were some life-timing advantages coming my way. My husband’s business was seasonal. Our parents were all in good shape, we were empty nesters and our dog was a terrific road tripper. The only missing piece was going to be keeping the income coming in while I was heading out. I said I had some life-timing advantages; notice, there is no mention of independent wealth.
From November to May, my husband and I can pretty much come and go as we please. We road trip back and forth to Florida with a loosely scheduled routine, or we head out with friends to random destinations. But, I always need to be set up somewhere, ready to work from the 5th of the month to around the 15th, and then again about the 20th for a few days. Bookkeeping is compliance driven. Deadlines are non-negotiable, and there’s collaborative work to be be done by clients and accounting professionals. The bookkeeping heavy load is at the beginning, once the bills and statements are available. There’s a breather while the client jumps in to supply missing puzzle pieces, interim approvals or changes. Then, I’m back on to finish up the details and get reports and filings complete. And, of course, there’s year-end work, but that’s a whole other story.
The beauty of cloud accounting programs, and the benefit of being paperless, is that I can work the hours of the day I choose, in the place I want to be, and take up very little real estate doing so. My “main office” doesn’t overwhelm anywhere that I am. It takes five minutes to disassemble and pack up. It takes only slightly longer to put it back together. It fits into a 29 x 5 x 29” mesh, handled bag. I have a laptop with a USB monitor that I use if I’m flying or going to be somewhere for less than a week.
This life I’ve set up is not without its challenges. Did I mention we are a compliance-driven industry? Technology and the internet have issues some days. Clients don’t always, or sometimes can’t, get everything I need to me on time to keep to my preferred schedule. But, on the whole, it doesn’t suck. And, it’s not like my previous tied-to-a-location business model was perfect either.
The big takeaway is that there is “freedom in the cloud.” You do have the chance to make bookkeeping a lifestyle inspired business. It’s going to take patience and you’re going to endure frustration. You’ll need to embrace the changes coming your way. You’ve got to have faith it will happen for you. But, most importantly, you’ve got to lace up your shoes and get started down this road.