I am very honored to have been invited to share my story. Universal Accounting has definitely been a part of it.
In June 2008 the owner of a company for which I had worked for 10-1/2 years passed away very unexpectedly. As senior financial officer for that company I gave oversight to all financial transactions for 45 companies and partnerships including 40 checking accounts in 5 different states. As a result of the loss of the owner’s leadership the company had to close. All of the partnerships had to be dissolved and all assets passed to the co-investment partners. All of the employees were laid off except for me and I went to work for the estate for the next year to oversee the conclusion of the handling of all of the assets and partnerships.
By spring 2009 I was facing the end of my estate obligations and realized that I would soon be facing a high unemployment world in search of where I would go next. As I read the ads in the paper in the financial/bookkeeping field, the choices were slim. The estate accountant with whom I was working at that time suggested that I consider going out on my own and doing freelance contract work. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I also realized that after working in one industry for over 12 years that I really needed to take a refresher course of some type before offering my services to a much more general market.
In the paper one day I read an ad for an informational seminar to be offered in my area and presented by Universal Accounting Center. I went to the seminar and the longer the gentleman talked the more I knew that this was what I needed to do. It was CD based which meant that I could do it self-paced at my home. I purchased the program and as soon as my official office responsibilities for the estate ended, my “work day” became sitting at my computer and working on the course. The course was just what I needed and walked me through industries in which I had not previously had experience. It refreshed everything that I needed to review relative to financial reports, journal entries, etc. I like the fact that it forced me to begin by doing everything on paper. I am constantly amazed at how my computer handles double entry bookkeeping at the touch of a button but it was good to go back to the beginning to be confident in what the push of that button was actually doing.
I was sitting at my computer one day and I had just finished the section on non-profits (an industry in which I had no previous experience) when an e-mail popped up on my screen. A friend from church who was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the local Chamber of Commerce asked me if I would be interested in interviewing for the position of contract bookkeeper for the chamber. I went for the first interview and then the second. In the meantime I had contact several times with my adviser at UAC and he was great at helping me walk through the process. The one mistake he made was when he said that as a small town chamber I could probably plan on 8-10 hours per week. After the third interview (each time meeting with a different officer), the chamber and I were able to come to an agreement. It was after that that I discovered what an active chamber this is. I am there Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of every week in order to keep up with all that they do. I work with wonderful people and have been able to get involved as a chamber member in addition to my direct responsibilities.
As a result of the contacts that I have made at the chamber I have been able to develop a number of other small businesses for whom I do their bookkeeping. For some of them I go to their location to do the bookkeeping. For some of them I pick up their information and do everything here at my home. I even have a couple of clients for whom I am their “trainer.” In each case they have Quick Books on their own computer but don’t really know how to use it most effectively. I go to them and train them not only in how to enter the data but more importantly in how to read their financial statements and understand what those reports tell them about the health and work flow of their business. The goal of these small businesses is to build their business to the point that they can afford to just turn it all over to me.
Once I went to work at the Chamber late last September, my work grew so fast that even though I had finished all of the course work and done well on the sample tests that I had taken, the holidays and everything else kept me from ever finishing my exams. Of course, the first of the year is full time for anyone in our business and the next thing I knew we were well into spring. I was determined to finish my exams so that I could add “Professional Bookkeeper” to my business card. In June of this year I set aside two days to review the course and take the exams. On June 25th I completed the final exam with a score of 98. The disgusting part was that the two questions I missed were stupid mistakes!
The support service at UAC has been extremely valuable to me throughout this whole process. There have been a number of times that I have had an issue with which I needed help. It has been so great to know that I can just shoot them the question and they are there to help me resolve the issue. I am able to gain confidence in what I do as each day passes because of the training and support that I have received from UAC over this last year. Thank you for being there.
I love what I am doing now. I especially enjoy the variety of work that I do after having worked in one industry for so long. At present I work with the chamber, a small church, a lawyer, two consultants in completely different fields, and a graphic designer. I am also on the Stewardship Committee at my own church where all of the refresher information from UAC makes me a much more competent committee member than I would have been several years ago. I have found that when someone contracts with you as an independent agent, they listen to you differently than they do if you are an employee. Being my own boss is wonderful! I keep my name out and am open to adding a few more clients but with three full days spent at the chamber my calendar stays pretty full.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you how great I feel about UAC and its program. Whether you ever use my story or not, I am so glad that I was able to tell it so you will know what a great job you are doing.