Today, we’re speaking with Deborah Elver of Clear View Business Solutions. Deborah is one of the accounting professionals who won the #QBBetterTogether contest, along with her client Catherine Baron of Catherine’s Estates and Appraisals. As part of the contest, we asked small businesses and accounting professionals to tell us how they work together to achieve success. Read on to check out Deborah and Catherine’s story!
Shauna Maher: Welcome Deborah, and congratulations on winning the #QBBetterTogether contest! Can you share a little bit about your accounting firm?
Deborah Elver: Clear View Business Solutions LLC has been in business for nearly 15 years. We are a team of bookkeepers and tax professionals who specialize in helping self-employed people and small business owners reach a higher level of success by allowing them to do what they do best (and which makes them money), while taking care of the business end of their business. Clear View has more than 100 small business clients in the Tucson area.
SM: How did you start working with Catherine’s Estates and Appraisals? How did you find each other?
DE: Catherine was referred to Clear View by a different accountant who did not provide bookkeeping services and knew that we focused on helping small businesses. Catherine’s Estates was one of our very first clients; she has been a client since 2007.
SM: What are the keys to having a successful working relationship with Catherine’s Estates and Appraisals?
DE: Having had Catherine as a client for so long, I understand all of the nuances of her business very well. Catherine’s provides not only estate sale services, but also appraisals and other valuation services. We have had a tradition of meeting monthly to review financial reports and discuss trends in each area of her business. I run reports from the QuickBooks file that I manage for her business, and we go over them together. In doing that, I point out areas where she may want to improve or expand and also give her ideas on cost containment and profitability. We have become good friends over the years and so we use our monthly meetings as an excuse to socialize as well. I love shopping Catherine’s sales so we have mutual business interests!
SM: What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve helped Catherine with?
DE: Ironically, the biggest challenge I helped Catherine with was making too much money (a good problem to have)! About five years ago, Catherine sold an Alexander Calder mobile and also held one of her most profitable sales in the history of her business. That year, we had to be very mindful of how to plan for her tax liability and look for ways to invest so she could lessen the burden. At our monthly review sessions, we carefully tracked her income and timed expenses so that Catherine could benefit the most from her big success.
SM:What is your favorite part about working with Catherine?
DE: I enjoy the camaraderie of working with another woman business owner and helping her achieve her financial goals. Our businesses have matured together, and we have formed a close personal, as well as business, relationship.
SM: What advice do you have for other accounting pros working with this type of small business client?
DE: Be mindful of the client’s personal and business goals, and use accounting information to help the client achieve both. For example, Catherine has been the caretaker for her elderly mother for several years and her mother recently passed away. Given her caretaking (and now executor) duties, Catherine has had to lessen the time she is spending on the business. So my advice has had to adjust to what Catherine’s personal needs are at this time; it is not just about the bottom line, but also about realizing a lifestyle that works for her.
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