Discovering a distinct segment in your skilled companies

Finding a niche for your professional services

Accredited Reckon accomplice, Stephanie Crawford, found she had a knack for enterprise teaching whereas working as a bookkeeper. And now, as a coach, her essential clientele are fellow bookkeepers on the lookout for strategic enterprise recommendation.

“I’m an enormous advocate for companies having a bookkeeper as a part of their crew—they’re usually extra profitable because of this,” she shares. “Teaching bookkeepers has turn into my candy spot.”

Primarily based in Auckland, New Zealand, Stephanie began working in banking straight out of faculty, then held a string of accounting and payroll roles each in New Zealand and in Seattle, USA, the place she lived for a time in her early 20s.

We sat down with Stephanie to listen to about her journey from bookkeeper to enterprise coach.

Stephanie pictured on the 2016 New Zealand Bookkeepers Convention together with her business stalwart cousin, Di Crawford-Errington. Di was one in every of bookkeepers who initially impressed Stephanie to begin her personal enterprise.

How did you first get into the bookkeeping occupation?

Once I began my bookkeeping enterprise in 2007, I’d moved out of accountancy roles and right into a gross sales consultant position. My youngsters had been nonetheless younger and my youngest was 6 months away from beginning college. He’d been in daycare since he was two and I needed to spend a bit extra time with him earlier than then, so I stop my job to try this.

My husband (on the time) didn’t work Mondays, so I began working as a bookkeeper someday every week. I simply had one shopper. In that very same 12 months, my husband and I separated, and I grew to become a single guardian 50% of the time.

Fifteen years in the past, bookkeeping (as an outsourced position for companies), was comparatively new, and there weren’t that many people doing it again then. While I had an accounts background, it wasn’t till I met others, one in every of whom is my cousin Di Crawford-Errington, operating their very own bookkeeping companies that prompted the concept this was one thing I might do too.

Making the choice to really construct a enterprise and my firm’s model (not simply create a job for myself) was pivotal. You make totally different selections from that headspace and my enterprise grew from there.

What had been the elements that led you to maneuver into enterprise consultancy?

After about 8 years, I bought my bookkeeping enterprise in order that I might transfer into enterprise teaching. By that time, I’d misplaced among the ardour for the enterprise, and I felt that the enterprise would profit from somebody with contemporary power.

Moreover, I had (virtually accidentally) began teaching a few of my bookkeeping purchasers. I used to be discovering I had a knack for it—and I beloved it sufficient to wish to begin a brand new enterprise from it.

Round 2015, I met Geoff Knox, a longtime enterprise coach, who had created a coaching program for accountants and bookkeepers who needed to maneuver into enterprise advisory. I grew to become a member of this system which supplied me invaluable assist and ongoing training.

Proud second: Stephanie pictured (entrance row far proper) with bookkeepers in her teaching program on the 2019 ICNZ Bookkeepers Excellence Awards, the place 4 out of 8 of the awards went to members of this group.

How did you carve your area of interest as a famend coach to fellow bookkeepers?

Initially, I used to be teaching all forms of companies. I loved the variability very similar to I loved the number of bookkeeping. (As bookkeepers, we get to look “below the hood” of many alternative companies and see what’s working and what’s not.)

On the time, bookkeepers had been coming to me for teaching too. I’d already constructed and bought a bookkeeping enterprise and so it made sense that I used to be a good selection for bookkeepers who had been on the lookout for strategic path and recommendation.

And I simply couldn’t steer clear of the business. What’s occurring inside our business is fascinating. The developments with accounting software program and enterprise techniques and expertise are extraordinary and have created so many alternatives for small companies—myself included.

I nonetheless hold my hand in accounting software program consulting and coaching every so often, principally as a result of I take pleasure in it, but in addition as a result of it retains me present with the software program and with what’s occurring in our business.

In your expertise, what makes an awesome enterprise coach?

I’ve been informed that I ask nice questions and I believe that’s positively an awesome asset to have as a enterprise coach. It’s additionally about highlighting blind spots, difficult limiting beliefs, or providing a unique perspective.

Being a enterprise coach is commonly not a lot about telling individuals what to do and easy methods to do it. It’s about serving to your purchasers to articulate the solutions themselves, (which are sometimes of their heads already) however need assistance seeing the sunshine of day.

While we’re not telling purchasers what to do, we do usually have sensible expertise that’s invaluable, and we will recommend issues to try this we have now seen working in different companies.

What are your suggestions for bookkeepers to rework their companies?

To maneuver from technician to enterprise proprietor requires a mindset shift and a change in self-identity to a level, and it’s useful to have the information of somebody who understands enterprise, and who can supply some sensible expertise and useful sources to make that transition.

Honing your enterprise mindset is ongoing work, within the sense that issues like imposter syndrome crop up on a regular basis and cease us in our tracks. So, it’s helpful to get some assist with that or to work in your mindset whereas doing this.

You additionally wanted to take a look at the way you’re spending your time. Are you being environment friendly? Are you gifting away time?  Is what you’re doing one of the best use of your time?


Stephanie’s teaching applications, The Enterprise of Bookkeeping™ and From Bookkeeper to Enterprise Proprietor™ are for bookkeepers trying to construct profitable companies to allow them to create a enterprise and a dwell that they love.

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