Architect Jennifer Tulley shares how virtual bookkeeping helped her save hours of frustration during tax season and gain confidence in her books.
According to a recent Vistaprint study of American moms who run their own businesses, 62% reported that flexible working hours was one of the top reasons for branching out on their own. For Jennifer Tulley, more flexibility was exactly the reason why she decided to start her own architecture firm in 2002.
Jennifer knew she wanted to eventually have her own business that would allow her the flexibility she needed to spend more time with her family, so she gradually started taking on projects while her kids were still young. And just like that Jennifer Tulley Architects was born.
By 2013, after a relocation to San-Francisco and the completion of numerous residential, office, and small commercial renovation projects, Jennifer Tulley Architects had grown to the point where Jennifer needed to hire her first employees to help handle the increasing workload.
Of course, it’s a great situation for any small business owner to be in, but Jennifer was really starting to feel the growing pains, especially in 2017, when her staff head-count doubled in size from 3 to 6 employees.
The Tipping-Point: Why Jennifer Considered Virtual Bookkeeping
With such a high-volume of work coming in and more employees to manage, Jennifer noticed that things began to slip, especially with her expense categorization during last year’s tax-time.
Jennifer approached this tax season the same way she always had by putting everything off until the end of the year. But as her business grew, this approach was proving to be inefficient and time-consuming.
According to Jennifer, “In the past, I have tried to do my end of year books for my business myself, but I don’t have an accounting degree and I was really struggling a lot [to get] things ready for my tax accountant.”
And try she did. But despite her best efforts, an expense would still end up missed or miscategorized. The result? Jennifer spending hours on end trying to figure out why her books weren’t adding up.
“Because I waited to the end [of the year], [bookkeeping] probably took [me] about 20 hours of time and a lot of frustration.”
And that was time that could have been spent working on her architectural projects. Jennifer started to wonder if there was a better way.
Weighing Options: Real versus Virtual Bookkeepers
Already a long-time FreshBooks user, it was perfect timing when Jennifer received an email from her Account Manager, Brian Li regarding a new FreshBooks partnership service: Virtual bookkeeping.
“Brian sent out an email talking about [FreshBooks’ virtual bookkeeping] service and it happened to be at a time when I felt it was a good fit for us.”
Jennifer realized that this could be a great option for her growing business and free her time up to focus on the work she loves. But, as a savvy small business owner, she wanted to consider her options.
From an online perspective, Jennifer knew that the FreshBooks’ virtual bookkeeping service would be a good fit since it integrates seamlessly with her existing FreshBooks account.
However, she also looked into hiring a full-time bookkeeper as well to join her growing team. After some contemplation, Jennifer felt that this option would be more expensive overall and would be less flexible with her time.
“[With virtual bookkeeping] it wasn’t like we had to set-up a meeting every month to go over something. [But] that might be something you would do with a [full-time] bookkeeper.
Jennifer decided to give virtual bookkeeping a try. Once in place, she really started to notice the time-savings. In fact, now she is only spending 30-60 minutes at most per month on bookkeeping!
The Difference Virtual Bookkeeping Has Made
When using the virtual bookkeeping tool, typically all Jennifer has to do is answer simple questions about her bank statement to help the virtual bookkeeper categorize her expenses in the right categories. And Jennifer makes the choice on when she enters in this information, no meetings required!
As Jennifer put it, “I liked that [virtual bookkeeping] was on my own time.”
With virtual bookkeeping in place, Jennifer can now use the time-saved on year-end bookkeeping and invest it back into her architectural projects or spend more time with her family.
She added that the benefits of FreshBooks’ virtual bookkeeping service go beyond time-savings.
“Even more than the time is the confidence and the feeling that I don’t have a looming issue that’s going to hit me at the end of every tax year.”
By trusting her virtual bookkeeping service to get the job done on her behalf, Jennifer is ready to conquer the coming tax season. She encourages other small business owners to try out virtual bookkeeping for themselves so that they can reap the same benefits.
“If you are a small business owner who wants to keep a lot of flexibility in your timing for doing your bookkeeping while feeling you have a strong support network, then FreshBooks’ virtual bookkeeping is a good system.”
Now with the support of FreshBooks and its virtual bookkeeping service, Jennifer can get back to what she really loves.
Jennifer’s last words: “I’ll let the professionals do the bookkeeping.”
about the author
Lisa is passionate about small business success, having managed funding programs for hundreds of Canadian start-ups and entrepreneurs. She is presently Senior Content Marketing Manager at FreshBooks.