QuickBooks Live Bookkeeper profile: Carlos Contreras
Welcome to our series of profiles spotlighting QuickBooks® Live Bookkeepers. This Q&A features Carlos Contreras, a certified ProAdvisor® and QuickBooks Live Senior Associate Bookkeeper.
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping (QuickBooks Live) is a monthly subscription service that’s intended to fill gaps for small businesses and self-employed who aren’t currently connected to ProAdvisors and accounting professionals. To learn more, go here.
Mindy King: Hi, Carlos! Tell me a little about your background. How long have you been providing bookkeeping services, and what types of small businesses do you typically serve?
Carlos Contreras: I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), with an option in accounting, from California State University East Bay. I have been a bookkeeper for over six years, and have had experience with non-profits, technology start-ups, and service companies.
MK: What do you enjoy the most about working with small businesses?
CC: Working with small businesses has given me the opportunity to interact with the owners of a lot of different entities. That has been very interesting, as I get to directly contribute to the decision-making process. In most of the cases, I see how these small businesses grow over time, and being a part of that is one of the things I enjoy the most.
MK: Why did you decide to become a QuickBooks Live Bookkeeper?
CC: That is a very interesting question. I decided to become a QB Live Bookkeeper after last year’s QuickBooks Connect event, where I heard a lot about the service. To be honest, I was just curious about the service at first, but once I got to know the product, I thought, “I can do this.” I signed up right there at the conference, and got interviewed the same day.
MK: What do you like most about working on the QuickBooks Live platform?
CC: There are several things I like about the platform, but if I have to choose one, I would say the constant learning. This is a relatively new service, and every day “we” learn something new. When I say “we,” I mean myself, my team, my manager, and so on. I like the fact that we have some guidelines on how to interact with the small businesses, but since they are so unique, every interaction I have with them is different, and that keeps me in constant learning mode.
MK: How does serving small businesses on QuickBooks Live actually work? Can you tell us a bit about the process, and the kind of work you do?
CC: In general, it’s a simple process. I get assigned a new small business, and I make a general assessment of their business and its books.
After that, the fun part comes in. I meet with the business representative – which means the owners most of the time – and I get to know more about the business. Once I have all the information, I discuss a plan of action with the small business to solve their needs: cleaning transactions, reconciling accounts, finding ways to improve their books like classes and projects, and any other way that can help the small business owner make better decisions.
MK: What types of small businesses have you worked with on QuickBooks Live?
CC: Now, working as a Live Bookkeeper for Intuit®, I have had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, all kinds of companies: farms, online retailers, construction companies, law firms, non-profits, marketing agencies, printing companies, and more.
MK: What do you love most about working with small businesses?
CC: Flexibility! I love the fact that a small business can make changes at a faster pace, new ideas are welcome, less time is spent on inefficient tasks, and there is always room for growth.
MK: What do you believe is the key to having a successful relationship that is 100% virtual?
CC: I believe the key is to be professional. I treat the small businesses I work with through QuickBooks Live in the same way I would treat them if I was having a “normal” work relationship with them. I show up on time, I prepare before my meetings, and I am honest. I don’t over promise anything, but deliver what I promise. I try to stay on schedule, and I contact them on a regular basis.
MK: What would you recommend other accountants or bookkeepers consider if joining the QuickBooks Live platform?
CC: This is a new service and things change constantly, so you have to be open to change as well. I would also highlight that it is necessary to be a team player. It is impossible to be successful riding solo. Having a team behind you gives you confidence to deal with any issue you encounter.
MK: What advice would you give to new accountants or bookkeepers just starting out in the industry?
CC: As technology advances, tools like QuickBooks get better and better every day. If used correctly, these tools can help businesses make better decisions for their future. My advice is to become proficient on these new tools, and to try to make an impact on the businesses you serve. Doing this allows the owners to focus on their businesses, while you support them with the right information at the right time to make informed decisions.
MK: If you weren’t an accounting professional, what would you be and why?
CC: I am also an industrial engineer, so I probably would be working with something related to the financial field. I like to analyze processes and find ways to improve them, and my preference is service companies.
MK: Now, some just-for-fun questions! If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is the one book you would bring with you?
CC: “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez. I had to read it in school, and I’ve reread it a couple times since then. Every time, I find new things. Plus, Gabriel García Márquez is the only Nobel Prize winner from Colombia, which is where I’m from, too. The book keeps me in contact with that culture.
MK: If you could have dinner with one celebrity or public figure (living or dead), who would it be and why?
CC: Pope Francis. I have a special admiration for him, and how he is so compassionate. He cares about the environment, and about the rights for everyone, regardless of their race, beliefs, sexual orientation, and more.
MK: If your playlist got stuck on repeat, what would be the one song (or album) that you would want to listen to over and over?
CC: “Revolver” album by The Beatles.
MK: If you were allowed to watch only one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
CC: “Breakthrough.” It is such an amazing story!