The Ambitious Bookkeeper Podcast

Shifting into Becoming a Virtual CFO with Aimee LaLiberte

January 26, 2022 Season 1 Episode 33
The Ambitious Bookkeeper Podcast
Shifting into Becoming a Virtual CFO with Aimee LaLiberte
Show Notes Transcript

This week I'm chatting with Aimee LaLiberte, the owner of My Virtual CFO. Aimee is a trusted profitability advisor to six and seven-figure business owners who are tired of

being behind in their books and are ready to uncover blind spots,

course correct, and ultimately get more profitable.

Aimee also is a certified life and money coach and works with

business owners who seek greater confidence and unwavering drive

to attract and build wealth in their businesses and lives.

After working in non-profit and finance for over 16 years and

helping hundreds of business owners since starting her own

business, Aimee knows how important it is to have steadfast trust in

the person looking after your books.

This episode is packed with insights and advice from someone just like you, who was giving away advisory and high level CFO services with her bookkeeping, and she is sharing her knowledge and tips with you on:

  1. shifting your mindset and limiting beliefs when going out on your own
  2. creating a plan to leave corporate
  3. advice for accounting students who want to start a business
  4. 3 things that provide immense value to clients
  5. creating results in your own business that you can translate into success for clients
  6. and so much more

It was such an honor and pleasure to interview Aimee and honestly I'm excited to have made such a great connection through the podcast and know we'll keep in touch going forward.

Connect with Aimee:



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33 - Shifting into Becoming a Virtual CFO with Aimee LaLiberte

[00:00:00] Serena: I didn't really plan this, but. This episode and the last one are both around offering virtual CFO services. And I think the episode is really timely to build upon what we talked about last week with Mike and give you another perspective, the female perspective of being a CFO and offering those services.

[00:00:24] And to also just share someone else's journey here in this space. I'm super excited to bring on my guest, Amy, she's the owner of my virtual CFO. She advises six and seven figure business owners who are tired of being behind on their books and ready to uncover blind spots course-correct and ultimately get more profitable.

[00:00:45] And what I really enjoyed about talking with Amy was that she's actually. We're still doing bookkeeping services also for part of her clients, which we didn't talk about on air. But when we had the recording off, I was basically just asking her how exactly she runs her practice, which probably would have been a really great episode as well.

[00:01:07] I wanted you to, to know that Amy brings a lot of value to our profession. I encourage you to follow her on social media and connect with her. I think you're going to love this episode and love hearing her perspective on how she advises her clients. It's not just about the numbers. And we talk about this on the episode.

[00:01:28] She packed in insights and advice. On how she came into this journey of offering CFO services. And she talks about shifting your mindset and your limiting beliefs when going out on your own, which is something I talk a lot about as well. We talk about how she left corporate. So helping you create a plan to do the same she gives advice to.

[00:01:52] Accounting students who want to start a business. So if that's you, if you're listening, definitely tune into this episode she gives you three things that provide immense value to clients and how you can position the value that you're providing. If you are offering CFO or even just kind of some higher level bookkeeping services and Just so much more, this conversation was amazing.

[00:02:13] You're going to love Amy. I'm so excited to have her on. And I know I'm going to stay connected with her after this episode. Without further ado, welcome Amy.


[00:02:52] Serena: Thank you so much for coming onto the ambitious bookkeeper podcast. I'm super excited to have you today. So let's just jump right in and have you introduce yourself and then I'll just start, you know, rapid firing some questions and we'll see where. 

[00:03:08] Aimee: All right. Sounds good.

[00:03:09] Hi everyone. I'm Amy law Liberty. I am the owner of my virtual CFO, which is a boutique bookkeeping and CFO business for six and seven figure business owners. And I help my clients create and foster a intentional relationship with money. And I do that with very tactical things like. Bookkeeping profit first services, forecasting and CFO stuff.

[00:03:35] And also all of the work around mindset that just inevitably comes when it comes to scaling businesses and just managing money and having a relationship 

[00:03:44] Serena: with money. I love that in that something that I've talked with my students about. And I've kind of been experimenting with and not even really on purpose, but with a lot of clients, the mindset does come up and think, goodness, I've done a lot of work around money mindset.

[00:04:01] So I can kind of like share that that coaching with them. But however, I'm not like certified in any money, money, mindset stuff, but it has absolutely helped because it enables me to really dig in and ask the right questions to help them. Good decisions. So maybe we can jump into that a little bit to, to talk about like how you ended up getting there with your clients and your whole journey, starting your business.

[00:04:30] Aimee: Sure. So for me, I feel like my journey to this moment has like started. Like Thai many years ago as like a three-year-old who was obsessed with like their parents blank checkbook. Like I used to like write like, pretend like checks, which obviously were like real live checks that I was like playing with.

[00:04:52] And like, I've always had this fascination with money, how it was like transacted, how it was earned. And I come from a blue collar family. And so when it really started to feel real for me was when I was 18. And You know, my parents Had a change of financial situation. And I was ha getting a lot of experience working with their finances. I was a president of the student body. So like learning about like budgets and all of that from like a very collegiate level. And then I found myself working in nonprofit higher educational environments where I was developing fundraising programs left with having to finance my own college education, and then it really getting real about like, having that relationship with money because before then it was just sort of like I earned money.

[00:05:37] I spent money and it was just sort of fun. And then it became real when I was reading promissory notes and taking on student loan debt and really trying to figure out how I was going to become an adult financing and taking on the significant student loan debt that I did to finance my college education.

[00:05:53] So then. Through that journey I ended up for the institution. Started out with doing smaller class programs and then build myself all the way through, by the end of my career, working on campaigns that were bringing in between 50 and a hundred million dollars and learning all of the aspects of that from the frontline fundraising perspective, the operational perspective as like developing the plan and the strategy as well as all of the financing and accounting.

[00:06:20] In that journey. I found that there was a lot of successful entrepreneurs like me that you would talk to about philanthropy and you would also learn about their business. And it always seemed like the finance side of it was always this delicate subject to be had. 

[00:06:36] And it just made me wonder, if this is something that they face then business owners that are under. The $10 million annual revenue mark must inevitably face. And so when it came time for me to really think about wanting to create my own business, I thought bookkeeping would be perfect. And bookkeeping for companies under $10 million in annual revenue is a niche that is underserved because they're not quite big enough to have a full finance department, if you will. So that's where I started. And then it was just bookkeeping. I did bookkeeping. I identified myself as a bookkeeper and as time went on, I realized that I would speak on panels and I would do the bookkeeping perspective.

[00:07:18] And then there would be the CPA next to me. And they would always say listen, Audience, Amy's talking to you as a bookkeeper here, but what she's really talking to you about, and at the level that she's talking to you about is in like a controller, CFO capacity. And the reason I want to share that with you is that if you are looking for a bookkeeper to talk to you the way that Amy is talking to you, like just temper your expectations, because what she's doing is not just bookkeeping, it's a higher level thing. And that's really where I saw the pivot for my business to start to embrace that CFO capacity where it's like, okay, here's like the umbrella of finance, there's the CFO stuff. And underneath it, it's the bookkeeping stuff. And then when the mindset stuff came in, I mean, I think a lot of the conversations you can review income statements and balance sheets and cashflow and all that with your clients. 

[00:08:11] But especially the last two years with being in the pandemic the scarcity mindset and the money mindset is really where a lot of time it would focus. Are we going to be okay? Is this going to be good? How do we create growth opportunities in this type of environment? And what it really boiled down to was really starting to poke holes into their thoughts that they had about scaling, about money, how much was in the bank account, how much they were making in revenue. And really just trying to develop more of like a mindset, pragmatic approach so that they could feel like they would walk away from the meeting feeling like they had confidence and clarity around their financials, but then also we're working on like stepping into the future version of them as a CEO of running the business at their next money goal rather than the one that they were in.

[00:09:02] Serena: Oh, I love that. That's so important. we can provide so much value. And if you're listening to this, I want you to kind of rewind that and relisten to it over and over again, because this is where you provide value and you don't even realize you're providing this value. Like, for me, I'm in that position where I am trying to be that next level of myself. So I'm bringing my clients along with me. So if you're, if you're continuing to grow and you're putting yourself out of your comfort zone, it's going to, it's going to benefit your clients as well. Kind of just walk them through that same process that you're going through when you're done with it, I guess, or when you're in it either way. But thank you so much for sharing all that. That's going to be just amazing for people to be able to listen to. 

[00:09:49] So you kind of talked about your college experience. Did you actually study accounting or was it a different degree? 

[00:09:57] Aimee: No. So my like big goal in life was to become a lawyer. So I was a poly PSI, pre law. And even like after I got my four year degree I started working, doing all the work I was just describing and I started getting a masters and I finished my master's in public administration. And, you know, my thesis was on. Ethics and job satisfaction. I mean, like, it was not anything accounting related. I just had a lot of professional experience managing money and just learning on the job experience. And I always enjoyed it and I took accounting classes in college and I enjoyed it, but I think that I was so attached to this identity of like, I was going to practice law that I just dismissed the intuitive calling that I had. And thankfully I was able to follow it professionally because of the experience that I have now. 

[00:10:54] And I think that one of thoughts that I had to really work through was the limiting belief that I had, that no one would hire me because I didn't have the accounting degree. And now I'm like, actually, that is an asset. The fact that I have all of this experience from managing like real, hands on experience, not just textbook experience. And that I am able to give you all of that information plus the strategy stuff.

[00:11:22] Building a $50 million campaign is more than just plugging numbers in. There's a whole strategy part of it. And I think realizing that not having those degrees and those pieces of paper, I was able to not make it as like, this is a problem. And more of like, no, this is an opportunity. You want someone who has this holistic approach that can look at things from different perspectives because they don't have that, classically trained brain of an accountant. 

[00:11:51] Serena: Yes. I, I agree with that. My thoughts on the whole offering advisory stuff, and this is where you and I had kind of even talked about this before we hit record, is people feel like they have to have all the answers because of their accounting training, because there's always a right answer in accounting, but finance is not like that. There's not always a right answer. There's a lot of estimations. There's a lot of like you said, strategy that goes into it. You have to be forward thinking, you have to understand the operations of the business to know is this strategy even feasible with our current pricing, and our current marketing, and all of the things tie together.

[00:12:32] So you're not going to know all the answers and you have to just trial and error, learn about the business and dip your toe in with one client at a time. If you're thinking of offering a higher level strategic service to your clients. But no, you're not always going to have the answers. Most of the time, you won't have any answers, you have questions for the clients because they need to come up with the answers. 

[00:12:56] Aimee: Well, that, and I also think that, for me, it's the experiential, like, I mean, the companies I work with, as I mentioned, are six and seven figure business owners, but I have experience creating 5,000 million dollar results. And so I feel like I can pull from that and say, this is how we got there. And how does this apply to you? And know that one of the things that I've really started to embrace particularly over the last year is this idea of I'm writing in pencil, and I know that for people who have a, like my brain thinks in very much black and white, you're either in or out type thinking the gray area is just uncomfortable because it's like, well, how am I like, you know, like how can I not know? And there's like a level of uncertainty that creates discomfort.

[00:13:45] But what I love saying, I'm writing this in pencil. This is based on the information that I have right now. This is based on the information that I've had from my past that I'm pulling into this moment. And I don't have a crystal ball and can see into the future, but what I can say, if we chart the course this way and are able to make the pivots, when we need to based on the new information we receive, we're going to head in the right direction. What I can tell you is that this is the path that I think you could go on and can get you where you want to be. 

[00:14:16] Serena: I love that. I don't know if you've shared with us. How long have you been in business with my virtual CFO? 

[00:14:22] Aimee: So I started my business in 2016. So I'm six years in, I would say that that first year, 18 months was working full time and almost like trying to step into it, but having all the fears and doubts around it because I'm married. I have three children and leaving a six figure salary to start a business. It's just, there's a lot of mind drama, if you will, that goes into that because it's like, I've never done this before. Is this going to be successful? Am I going to be able to create these results and really just working through my plan to get to the other side. It was an 18 month journey from the start, but full-time, I would say like four years.

[00:15:05] Serena: Awesome. So we've kind of been at this around the same time. Cause I left corporate in 2016 to have another kid. And my plan was to be a stay at home mom and I was a stay at home mom and building a business. So I like to say it was like my side hustle to motherhood. So around that same timeframe, you were still in corporate doing the same thing. So that's pretty cool. So how did you decide to focus in on six and seven figure entrepreneurs? And is that like in the online space or all industries? 

[00:15:39] Aimee: Yeah, so I would say online and service-based businesses. And, and what I mean by service-based businesses is that I have medical practices. I have group counseling practices, and I also work with digital media agencies and public relations. So like marketing and white collar professional medical, professional practices are probably the two areas that I niche and focus on the most. But what I am finding is the coaching realm and anything in the online space is sort of that third tier that I've been focused on.

[00:16:11] But what I will say is that I've intentionally decided to not be in product based businesses. I had experimented with working with restaurants and working with product based businesses. what my takeaway was was that like for restaurants, for example, labor and food costs, that cost of goods sold number has to be so dialed in. And I just found that like, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I was going to. And it was just understanding like, oh my gosh, that was amazing. I loved that experience, and I know that that's not the right place for me. And so yeah, just really being clear on like service-based businesses, six and seven figure businesses. Like that's my jam. 

[00:16:53] Serena: Awesome. I know someone is listening right now and is like, well, how does a six-figure entrepreneur afford you? Did you-- Talk us through that whole process. I'm sure you had some mindset stuff around that. So tell us how you handle those mindset-limiting beliefs on "is a six-figure entrepreneur going to be able to afford my services."

[00:17:15] Aimee: Yeah. So what I will tell you is that I've adopted a philosophy that I'll share with you in terms of how I feel my client journey is, and, you know, if you're just starting out, I really think it's important that you almost take a baseline of what your relationship with money is and what your client's relationship with money is. What I find is people that are just starting out are so quick to delegate this task because they just want to avoid it because they have the mindset issues. So, you know, one of the things that I'm developing is a group program that helps businesses that are just starting out that make their way up to their first or second six-figure business and giving them the tools and the skillset and the accountability in order to really flex that muscle and be able to harness that so that when they have the revenue in place and they're looking to outsource it, they're able to do so, but to do so with having a seat at the table and knowing the financials, not because they've abdicated responsibility, but because they choose to delegate it to somebody else so that they can focus on more revenue generating initiatives.

[00:18:22] So in terms of having that conversation, I've really tried to dial in if they're just starting out, pushing them towards that kind of a program so that they're able to really understand the nuances of the bookkeeping part of it. When I see clients that are showing the evidence of scaling and that they need someone to help them get to the other side and they know that there are things that they're shifting in. So, you know, they've made their first six figures, they have a plan to do like 250 to half a million. They're really starting to think about things like bringing on team, maybe starting to identify as an S Corp. Maybe they're just an LLC now. And like all of those things. And when they're showing those sorts of things, these are people that are already investing in sort of continuing education and profit and professional development stuff. That to demonstrate the value of working with someone like me. It's a really easy conversation because they understand that they need to have this dialed in and they want to work with someone who can help them navigate. 

[00:19:21] And then once you get past, I would say the half a million mark, I feel like this becomes one of those things where if your client is continuing to do the work or they have somebody like maybe a family member doing it, but they know that they need someone who's more seasoned. Then I think it becomes more of a no brainer of like, my outcome and my results are that if you have questions about your finances, I'm going to be able to provide you with the answers and the guidance. If you have a money goal and you want to get there, we can figure out how you're going to do that. And there's never going to be this, like, I don't know what's happening with my financials because I'm going to have that seat at the table for you in order to represent you and to honor the finance side of your business. And that usually becomes a no-brainer conversation. So again, it really just depends on where they are and and how they want to be supported. 

[00:20:10] Serena: Yeah. Do you find in your group, I'm guessing you have a group program already. Do you find that people from that group program you're able to identify the ones that are growing and then do you approach them one-on-one or do they just naturally say, okay, I'm ready for your services because you've just communicated that the next step is. 

[00:20:31] Aimee: Well, I will tell you, I don't have the group program is coming this year. This has been something I've been looking at developed for the last like two years. And part of the reason I have stalled on it is because I've been really attentive to my client base with navigating all of the situations with the pandemic and really just dialing in my one-on-one systems and process and experience that I have intentionally not done this. But I am planning to do this program. And the intent is to say, either they're going to graduate from this program, if you will having, like, I know exactly what I need to do and I feel confident that I'll be able to execute the functions of this finance, operational side of it with ease, or I know exactly who I need to bring into this and I'm going to go and hire that. Or they could be in a position where they're like, I want Amy and her team to do it. So the outcome is confidence and clarity, regardless of what your next step is. And the intent of the program is designed so that it's lifetime access. So it's one of those things where if you've outsourced like your bookkeeping, but you still want the support around the forecasting and the profit first stuff. You're still going to be able to get that no matter if you're still sitting at six figures or if you're at seven figures, that's the intention behind this program.

[00:21:53] Serena: That's awesome. I've had something like that on my list for awhile too, but at the same thing of like, I'm busy serving the clients, we have building our internal team so that we can support a program like that in the future. So, you know, but I'm excited to see your we're going to have to keep in touch because I want to know how everything goes with that.

[00:22:12] It sounds like it would be just a natural funnel, I guess, but also you're still able to serve those people that can't afford your services. So I think it's great. It's awesome that you're going to offer that. So we talked about all of the things about your business journey. I feel like was there anything else that you feel is really important in that journey that you wanted to share?

[00:22:35] Aimee: Yeah. So I want to say that you're going to wherever you are, if you're at the early stages of it, you may feel inclined to create this business planning. You're going to say things to yourself like, okay. My goal is to get five new clients this month. And so in order for me to get five clients, I need to have 10 consult calls cause I have a 50% conversion rate. And in order to get those 10 calls, I need to do this. And like, I mean like basically like funnel one-on-one stuff. Right. And what I'm going to tell you is that you can do all of that. And you can also just, decide that you are going to be someone who creates value in service and are looking at meeting people and, and not necessarily be in sort of attached to the numbers of like, oh my gosh. I only had nine consults, so that must mean that I'm failing. 

[00:23:30] Like, no, like I feel like as soon as I dropped the, manual, if you will, about how I was supposed to be creating clients, I'm not kidding. And remember it was December of 2018 and I just remember being like, I'm done, I'm done with this entire situation. And it was in December. And I remembered that following January, my business doubled. It was the realization that I needed to raise my prices, which I did. And then also I needed to really define who was the person, the business owner and the business I was serving. And it was just getting really clear on that, but it was also this shift inside of me of like, I know that the really huge self-belief that I knew I was really good at what I did and that I could serve people. I know that that sounds a little like, "woowy"? And I think for like us accountant types, we're probably like, what are you talking about? I'm telling you the internal shift that you have within yourself and in your mindset does translate into your continued business development.

[00:24:35] So my advice is don't be so attached to the plan, use the plan as a guide, but not as a weapon to be used against yourself, allow yourself to become an unfold in the moment and not be so like, I need this to happen exactly the way that I thought it was going to. 

[00:24:54] Serena: Yeah. Hopefully if anyone is listening to this podcast and they don't get the whole woof thing, then they haven't been listening very long. Cause I'm definitely on that end of the spectrum. I feel pretty balanced with it because I still have, you know, my accountant hat, but yeah. Wholeheartedly agree with that. One of the biggest things that I preach and teach inside of my programs is not being attached to the outcome. Be open to opportunity, be there for the conversations, put yourself in the room and then see what happens and just serve. Just show up to serve. 

[00:25:31] Aimee: Yes. And I think that sometimes that might be harder to receive because if you're someone who is like, no, I have to make this money because I have to pay the bills and I have to do all those things. And I think that for me, at least, that is why it took 18 months from leaving to go full in because I needed to build a bridge from that point to there. And I'm always careful talking about this part of my journey, because, for me, I knew that I needed that stability within me in order for me not to spin out of control, to abandon a six-figure salary to zero was just not going to serve me. So the way that I did it was I went from six figures. I cut it in half. And then I had a part-time in the industry that I was in, and then I was building my business. And as soon as I reached that income, I then dropped the part-time job, and then I went all in and then I scaled up into that. And that was the way that I did it. 

[00:26:27] I'm not saying like, this is exactly how you should do it. I think, again, you having a developed understanding of your relationship with money and how you can handle it. And the fact that, you know, how much money you need to bring in personally. I feel like those are numbers that you should have in your brain so that you can then show up and serve. Because if you're showing up and serving and hoping that something translates into a sale, I feel like people can feel that. 

[00:26:54] Serena: Yeah, absolutely. I love your approach because there's always listeners that are like, I'm still in my nine to five job. I'm building this on the side. I'm not really sure when to make that switch. But I will say that the students that have made the switch usually have to do kind of what you did and have a, have a safety net, obviously like build up your savings. Have a few months of a runway, maybe cut your hours back. But at a certain point you do have to make the leap because there's just not enough time to do both and enough energy to go around. I mean, it works for awhile, but you can't burn the candle at both ends. So like that internal work really has to be done before you do make that leap. 

[00:27:37] Aimee: Yeah, no, for sure. And I think knowing that when you have that switch, it will happen. And you'll know. You'll know when it's time. You'll just know intuitively if you're really in touch with where you are. And I feel like there's always going to be a leap of faith that comes with it. But also I really, really truly think our industry, especially with the way that I approach my business and the way that you Serena approach yours. I think there are so many business owners that need us. This is not about competition. It's really about finding the business owners who understand that this is invaluable and that this is not an expense, but this is a profit generating opportunity for them to find people who understand that there's this holistic approach when it comes to business finances. And that it's not just about categorization of bookkeeping, but really about setting intention and being dialed into what it is that you want to create as a result of this business. 

[00:28:41] Serena: Yeah. I'm huge on community over competition because yeah, especially once you start, even when you're providing only bookkeeping services, you're going to hit capacity at some point. There's like, what is it like 60 million small businesses or something that need help. And probably half of those are not ideal clients for anybody, but there's still millions out there that need help. Especially once you start getting into the higher level services, if you don't have a team and you're the only one offering, you can only serve a small handful at that level. So there is plenty, plenty of opportunity out there. Which brings me to, when you said Something about, I don't even remember exactly how you said it, but getting them to kind of see that this isn't an invaluable service. Can you share a tip for someone who is like, they're already offering this or trying to offer it, but they are struggling with how to communicate that value to present it as more of an investment instead of a cost, because it is difficult to tie an ROI to things. And like, do you do any kind of guarantees? Like I want to save you this much money to cover my fee or like walk us through how you set up the value. 

[00:29:57] Aimee: Yeah. So I think that what it really comes down to is I can appreciate when you're just starting out to demonstrate creation of value when maybe you don't have case studies or results, like proof of concept. if you will. But I think that what you can do is if you're someone who has experience in a corporate capacity, you can dial into that. Like, what are the results? And I think that's what it is. It's not, I think a lot of people think I'm going to offer you bookkeeping services. I'm going to categorize all of your expenses and I'm going to send out your invoices and it's going to be so much fun. They do want all of that, but what they really want is they want to know what results are you going to create?

[00:30:35] And they can be as simple as clients that work with me ended up saving X percent in the first year, which more than pays for the retainer of my services, because they have realized that they are paying for things and services that they don't even use. So we find them and we remove those from like expense categories. The next thing is, is we ended up doing analysis of different service offerings. And what we find is that maybe there are some loss leaders on here. And if there's not a strategic tie to, yeah, we're going to take a loss on this, but over here, whereas the strategy is to get them over to this point. If it doesn't make sense, then we. Turn around. And we either A increase the price of it or B remove the service altogether. And then the other piece of it is then what are the things that you're going to give back to the owner? 

[00:31:25] So like one of my first clients, they were doing their, accounting on the weekend. They were running a multimillion dollar business and they were doing their bookkeeping on the weekend and they had three kids. And I was like, I'm going to give you your weekends back. And they were like done cool. So it could be something that's just as much as that. When you're in a consultation call, you can say like, what are the things that are keeping you up at night?

[00:31:52] And they'll, they're going to tell you, what are the tasks that you're currently doing right now for bookkeeping and financing that you dread? They're going to tell you because I like, I. Do not. I do not think that I have, I have maybe one client I could maybe put in this category, I'm about to say, this is owners do not get into business or that they can do bookkeeping and financing. They just don't think they understand it's part of the drill. They're not like, oh my God, I'm so excited. I get to do. So they really don't want to do it. And they want to know if they're able to afford to have it outsourced and they have like a trust factor of the person that they're looking to outsource, it's not a hard sell. I don't think it is. I feel like they're just looking for someone that they can create a level of vulnerability with, because talking about finances, because it is like, I know that they're, you know, there's a saying like business isn't personal. I think for the business owners that I serve, it is very personal. 

[00:32:47] Serena: Absolutely. 

[00:32:48] Aimee: Being able to know that you're able to articulate and tell your clients that you have their back in terms of making sure that they're going to receive their financials on a timely basis, that you're going to be able to tell them different things that you're seeing in the numbers that they may want to pay attention to. That they're going to be able to create scale and growth into their business and solve for any sort of operational issues that may come up, that you're going to be able to see in the financials. It's not even going to be, when you talk about renewals, it's not even like a conversation as to you justifying the cost as much as you inviting them to continue working with you. I choose my clients just as much as they choose me and they know that. 

[00:33:31] Serena: Yeah. That's awesome. And I think anyone who's listening totally understands that what they do, they're going to be saving their client money. They're going to be analyzing revenue streams. Hopefully if you don't know how to do that, you have to start with categorizing revenue into the different revenue streams. So that is always step one is like, there's always going to be a little bit of customization to the chart of accounts so that people can make better decisions. And revenue is the biggest piece of that. So make sure your revenue is broken out. Otherwise you can't provide. That line of service and value, and then getting their time back, everyone knows that that's one of the huge benefits that they provide. I think that we have such a hard time realizing how much value is in that. So Amy and I are telling you right now, There's huge value in that we are also close to it that it's like second nature. And we're like, well, duh, why would anyone want to pay for that? But you have to look at it from the perspective of the business owner and consider yourself in your own business. What is something that you dread doing it? Is that your marketing? Is it setting up your website or whatever and consider it from that perspective and that's how your client feels about bookkeeping. 

[00:34:38] Aimee: Right. And I think the other thing too is because, you know the numbers, like if I know that my clients hourly rate is $350 an hour, And I know that they're spending five hours on the weekend. It's like friend. No. You're losing money doing this, knock it off. 

[00:34:55] Serena: Yeah. That is huge. And so that's something that you basically ask on discovery calls. You're like how much time you're spending on the weekend. What is your hourly rate that you could bill a coaching client or spend doing revenue generating activities. And then you just kind of bring them to that calculation and say, this is how much money you're losing. Awesome. 

[00:35:17] Aimee: Exactly. 

[00:35:18] Serena: Yeah. Thank you for breaking that down. That's going to be super helpful for someone, lots of people, hopefully. So you already kind of, I have, one of my questions was to ask, to give some advice for someone starting out and you already kind of did about, just kind of like doing that, I guess, mindset work on the value that you're bringing. Just dig into your past and think about what you've done in corporate. If you've worked in other bookkeeping jobs where it is tricky as if you are actually a brand new, like maybe you're an accounting student listening, and you know, you want to start your business. Do you have any advice for someone like that that might not quite have experience yet?

[00:35:58] Aimee: Yeah. So the first thing in terms of like bringing on team, I've had people who realized that they wanted to start their own bookkeeping practice, but they just didn't have the business, acumen, nor did they have the knowledge. So like I brought them on as 10 99 contractors because they had the skillset, they just didn't have the hard experience. And I trained them using my processes. I do not think that if you are a student right now, do not take that as a negative. I think that's such a beautiful opportunity that if you go to someone and say, Hey, I'm a freelance bookkeeper. I'm looking to build out my client portfolio. But in the meantime, I'm looking to just get support. You know, it may not be you working directly with the client starting out, but just you, you just need to get in the game. I think students what's so amazing about them is you're spending the time studying and doing the learning. Right. 

[00:36:48] But I was a competitive swimmer. And so you can read books about swimming and about technique and about breathing. I was a distance swimmer. Which is amazing, but I actually got in the pool and took all of that information and applied it. And so it's not as like, those are your clients in your business, when you're going to be able to do is if you're able to find bookkeeping companies that are looking to have contract bookkeepers, you're going to get tremendous experience. You're going to see how a business is run. And you're also going to be able to create against, again that foundation of what's the type of business that you'd like to work for. What are the things that you're doing the process for the way that this bookkeeping agency wants to do it, but maybe you want to do it a different way.

[00:37:31] So don't discount yourself because you are not someone in active practice. I feel like the folding in of that is going to be so helpful to you. And what it's also going to do is foster the confidence and build the confidence. So. You know, maybe you have social media and you post something about your bookkeeping services and everything. Like if it's from an experiential share. It doesn't matter if it's from your business or not. It really just matters that it's like your positioning yourself as an expert who can support and serve the clients that you're looking to attract into your. 

[00:38:05] Serena: Yeah, I love that approach. And that's I actually, I have a part, I guess, a partnership anyways, I'm in contact with our local community college. There's a bookkeeping certification here in EA program and they're actually trying to build out a four year degree program, but I have connections with the accounting and the business department. And so when we're looking for help, that's the first place that we usually go for an accounting intern. Either way it would work out. Like if that person wants to eventually start their own business, they can get the experience. And we actually even have an apprenticeship set up with the department of labor. Side note: accounting is an apprentice profession. So you can do those kinds of things, which I wish that more people understood that, you really do need hands on experience. I think more firms should offer an apprenticeship, but anyway, beside the point. Whether they stick around with us for the long haul or they are using it to build experience. I can already hear someone listening is like, well, what if somebody comes on as a contractor? And then they leave, they steal all of my clients and they steal all my proprietary processes. I know what I would say to them. What would you say to someone with that mindset? 

[00:39:19] Aimee: I mean, the one thing I will say is that I have not had someone take my clients. And part of the reason they haven't taken my clients is because I'm still supporting my clients that I'm serving my clients. So they might be executing the bookkeeping functions of it.

[00:39:31] But it's my brain, my experience, my stuff that's driving and I'm still maintaining. The relationship with my clients. That being said, we also have an independent contractor agreement that's in place, which very clearly states what they can and cannot do. And so it's very clear where the boundary lines are.

[00:39:50] And then the other thing too, is I know that my processes are awesome. And I know that if you want to come in and learn how I do what I do, and then you, with the intention of wanting to develop your own business, I think that's amazing. And that's the reason why is because again, back to what I said before, so many businesses need us. And so if my process resonates with you, then please take it with you. 

[00:40:15] But you know the only thing that I will say that two times this happened both one time, the person was very clear. Like I want to start my own business. I'm looking to create a bridge of what I'm doing right now. And I'd love to contract with you to help bridge me financially. And I'm like, perfect. The other one was, I don't want to have a business, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then all of a sudden, months later, they resigned. And then all of a sudden they had a business and I don't have a problem with that. It's more of like, gosh, I wish I knew that like your mind had changed and this is what you wanted to do because I want to refer business to you. 

[00:40:50] Serena: Yeah. 

[00:40:51] Aimee: I know that you have a skillset that I know that I've trained you on, and I know that you do good work and you want to do this on your own. I will send you business. I am incredibly loyal to my former contractors and employees. And if they've done really well for me, I completely want to reciprocate that because it's, it's in gratitude and appreciation for that. So don't be afraid. To take on that sort of contractor role, but don't steal people's clients. That's not cool. 

[00:41:19] Serena: Yeah. And just be honest about what your intention is, whether, and if it changes, right. Like you said, whether it was, you know, intentional of changing her mind or secretive in the beginning, like just don't be secretive about it. Just be open because if the person that you're contracting with honestly doesn't want somebody that's looking to start their own business, they'll be looking for an employee, not a contractor. Right. Because you can't maintain that control over somebody and not let them anyways so the other thing too is I would take it one step further because you were saying my processes are awesome and I feel the same and we need more, really good bookkeepers that are doing really good, accurate, high-level work and detailed, work so detailed. And like you, you get what I'm saying, advanced bookkeeping. So if somebody learns from your process and goes and takes that and implements it with their own clients, that's amazing. I think we need more of that. There's a lot of really bad work done out there in any industry, but it's really important to have. Good good numbers that, you know, CFOs, like you can help guide business decisions based on. So yeah, absolutely. 

[00:42:31] Aimee: For sure. 

[00:42:32] Serena: Awesome. Well, we're getting near our time. So my last, I think my last question for you is, do you have any advice for someone who might not know if CFO offering CFO services is right for them and how they can start to kind of figure that out if they should go down that path?

[00:42:51] Aimee: Yeah. I think that I was just showing up doing what I was doing. Not realizing in a high level awareness way that I was doing CFO level work until multiple people on a panel were like, no, like she'll, she's obviously is going to do your bookkeeping. But what she's also talking about is this kind of stuff here and where it was like somebody reflecting that back to me was where the awareness came in. 

[00:43:14] But what I would say is if you're somebody who's interested in, perhaps adding that on as a service, I think one of the things is just looking at your current clients. And seeing like, okay, if I like I'm sitting in the capacity as the bookkeeper, but like how would I do this? If I was sitting at it from the lens and the angle of a CFO what are the questions that I would ask and just really play with that. And then also do it on your own business, how are you going to create these results? And if you decide to sit down and do your finances on a weekly basis, And you're like, I'm showing up as a CEO. What if you didn't show up as a CEO? 

[00:43:49] What if you showed up as the CFO and what are those types of questions that you would ask. Do you know what your gross profit percentage is? Do you think that that is good for the business of your size? Do you like the servicing that you're offering? Just start asking questions that are amazingly easy for people like us, because it's based on math, which is what we love to do. We love a spreadsheet and calculating and doing all the things and really playing with it.

[00:44:16] And then at some point you are going to have a client. That you know, is going to benefit from the services you're offering and then just have the conversation with them. Like, Hey, these are the things that I'm noticing. And again, similar to the way that you build up a bookkeeping business in terms of showing up and serving, start building out that offering from the CFO perspective of like, Hey, these are the things I've noticed. I would love to help you more and support you more with this. Is that something that you would be looking for additional support and inevitably, if clients are super happy with the service that you're providing and there's even more that you can do. Chances are, they're not going to tell you no, because you've already started creating results for them. And if anything, they just see it as like more opportunity for them to grow as a business.

[00:44:59] Serena: Yeah. Awesome. That's amazing advice. So with that, I am going to wrap it up. I don't do any rapid fire questions at the end of my episodes, but thank you so much. Do you have one last parting words of wisdom or multiple words of wisdom? I guess not one last for our listeners.

[00:45:20] Aimee: Yeah. I can remember where I was when I was just starting out, being so afraid of whether or not I was going to be able to do this and to know that I didn't quit on myself and to know that I operated through the discomfort. And I think that sometimes we think, oh, once we hit a certain revenue threshold, we're not going to feel the discomfort. You are, and it doesn't mean that anything has gone wrong. It just means that you're, you're always evolving and stepping into the next version of yourself and nothing has gone wrong. And just to continue to experience that and to really just check into yourself and celebrate the milestones along the way, because this is a journey. This is a marathon. This is a long paced game and it's to be celebrated with different victories along the way, but know that this is long-term and if you're all in, it will take you places you never thought were posting. 

[00:46:13] Serena: Oh, thank you for that. So if anyone wants to connect with you and learn more about you, where's the best way to do that?

[00:46:22] Aimee: Yeah. So if you go to my website, that's where I am on the website world. I do have an Instagram handle, which is @myvirtualCFO. I am going to create more intention behind like posting there and hanging out there. I usually do a lot more responding than I do like new posting, but know that if you follow me, then I would love to connect with you further. That's one of the areas that I'm looking to create more intention behind in 2022. 

[00:46:47] Serena: Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on here. And all of Amy's information is going to be linked in the show notes for you, and we will talk to you next week. 

[00:46:57] Aimee: Bye.