Formerly operating as DGBookWorks in Edmonton, Alberta, The Balance Sheet has moved to the Comox Valley. The warm welcome and vibrant business climate have convinced us this was a smart move.
The Balance Sheet is owned and operated by Dianne Goodacre. Clients have described her as honest, reliable, tenacious and determined. She enjoys meeting new clients and learning new systems. Here she shares some of her business plan summary with you, not only as an example, but to introduce herself and her abilities.
The Balance Sheet is a bookkeeping business in the accounting industry, providing three broad services described below, to small and medium businesses in the Comox Valley north of Nanaimo. The first two facets of the business are a continuation of the operation as DGBookWorks in Edmonton, but the third is a new expansion.
My market position is that I tangibly improve business productivity and efficiency, hands-on and on-site. I am an accounting system efficiency specialist. What sets me apart from other bookkeepers in general is my ability to identify and understand the essential productive activities that make money for the company. Once I have earned their trust, I can suggest specific, simple, pragmatic solutions that suit the style of the managers. This is all on a part-time or as-needed basis, making these highly skilled services affordable especially to start-up companies.
My target market is the small to medium sized business sector in the first two years of operation. My targeted clients are owners of small to medium businesses who will profit from improved accounting systems and record keeping. Many will own relatively new businesses and will previously have set up and operated their own books.
Firstly, I will personally provide the initial set-up or clean up of accounting systems. Where possible, I will contact the client’s accountant to see if there are any preferences as to streamlining the year-end work. If requested, I will also provide the subsequent maintenance such as data entry, accounts reconciliation, statutory return preparation, payroll, and most importantly providing regular status reports to management.
Secondly, I am often asked to provide basic bookkeeping training, and to explain what the financial statements really mean. Occasionally I am asked to undertake the role of liaison between the business owner and his or her accountant, translating the accounting lingo into more understandable terms.
Thirdly and most importantly, I propose to expand my business on Vancouver Island. After I establish my name and good character, I will likely have more clients than I can handle myself (which has been the case previously in Edmonton), and so I propose to start a small training program. As soon as I have enough work to pass on to another assistant, I will hire a new one and begin their apprenticeship. This will not happen overnight, but at the end of five years I expect to have three or four assistants.
Initially, my business will require a small in-home office, equipped with a computer, communications equipment, and office furniture. I will need to use a vehicle. After approximately five years I will expand into commercial space as required.
How will my business benefit the Comox Valley?
To me, this is a very important question. The global economic downturn has presented quite a challenge to almost every business on the planet. However, I believe that with the right plan, smart businesses can position themselves to be ready for the recovery.
Before this is accomplished, many businesses will fail. Those businesses that survive, as well as those newly starting up, will be those that exhibit higher productivity and efficiency. My business’s primary function will respond directly to this need. My business goal is to provide my clients with a realistic means to achieve this through the implementation of clear, up to date accounting procedures.
The following excerpt from Seven Ingredients To Financial Success (an excellent source of business advice, provided by the National Bank of New Zealand and reviewed by Franchise New Zealand) quantitatively supports the need to maintain high accounting standards:
"Create efficient systems"
"Financial success is built on a foundation of good records. This table from The Small Business Book (Robert Hamilton and John English) reinforces the point:
"Why reduce your odds of survival to only half through ‘average’ records, or only 20% through ‘inadequate’ records?
In addition, Hamilton and English show that the frequency of accounting reports is also vital:
"The message is clear. If you’re not good at keeping your own accounting records up to date, then find an accountant or bookkeeper who will do this for you. If you receive accounts only once a year, your survival odds are only 36%."
The above points are directly related to what I intend to provide. I have learned a lot from working with my clients. In past cases, I have been hired to deal with a number of record-keeping disasters, and have repeatedly seen the confidence level of the business owners go through similar progressions. Initially, the business manager is not aware of their financial status, and they are very nervous, being without accurate and up-to-date information. When this is the case, they cannot make the right decisions. As they begin to see their financial state with clarity, they become more confident, especially if the news is good. Inevitably, sometimes the news is unfavourable, but in that case they become more determined. Overall, the effect on the survivability of the client’s business can only be positive.
I am confident my business will contribute to the Comox Valley’s economic growth, by improving the efficiency and productivity of my client’s businesses, and their likelihood of survival. While the scale of my operation will be small, I intend to do my part to contribute to a strong financial foundation within the surrounding business community.
The strengths of the business rest on my abilities. I am smart, honest, and tenacious. I am an excellent bookkeeper. I enjoy rolling up my sleeves and getting things done. I can make sense of myriad details and think things through logically. I am a patient teacher and a good listener. My passion is witnessing the successful establishment and growth of my clients’ businesses. I greatly enjoy watching them develop the confidence that can only come from knowing exactly where they stand financially, and I enjoy the warm relationships that develop along with mutual trust and respect.
The greatest weakness of my business will be that I am new and unknown here in the beautiful Comox Valley. It will take time and effort to establish a network. To overcome this weakness, I will become an active member of the community. For example, in the past I have organised the teams, coaches, playing schedule, photos, medallions and year-end party, for over 80 four-year-old soccer players for two seasons. I will enjoy getting to know all the accountants in the area, as well as other bookkeepers. I have already begun to carry this out, and have been honoured by being appointed the new treasurer of the Comox Valley Home Based Business Association.
I see a great opportunity in the establishment of a training program which will provide me with a source of potential assistants as well as new clients. I feel there is a real need for my services in the Comox Valley, and this sentiment has been corroborated by the discussions I have had with three separate accountants. I have already made my business easy to find on the internet, by setting up the type of website that works well with search engines. The need for new and existing businesses to become more productive and efficient in order to survive is greater than ever. If I can convince enough independent-minded small business owners (and their accountants) that they would be better off using my services, there is a large potential for growth.
The biggest threat coincides with the biggest opportunity. The independent self-sufficient nature of Vancouver Island business owners may not tolerate a bookkeeper from Alberta giving advice. They have preferred to do their books themselves in the past for whatever reason. In order to overcome this tendency, I need to establish myself as someone who is effective and can be trusted. This will take time, but it will happen naturally as more members of the community get to know me and see what I can do. I need to clearly get my message across that good bookkeeping is essential for long-term viability.
At The Balance Sheet, we have the experience to know what works. Dianne Goodacre provides honest, reliable bookkeeping services to small businesses in the Comox Valley.
Whether you are setting up a new small business, need a business plan, or need some tips for smoothing out the endless flow of paper, Dianne can tailor a double-entry bookkeeping system to suit your needs. Please contact Dianne at 250 650-SAVE for more details.