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Alberta bookkeeper recommends professional advice from accounting to business planning

Location
CompanyMaizy Rose Bookkeeping
Industry:Finance and Insurance
City:Grand Prairie, Alberta
Amounts: various  Find what funding programs you qualify for

Business planning helps bookkeeper start her own business

Even someone with experience in the financial end of business can use help with business planning when preparing a business plan. Alberta bookkeeper Amanda Maissoneuve found this out when she turned to the Centre for Business Plan Development to help her out. "I knew what I wanted, but I didn't actually know what was possible," she says. "They did all the market research and stuff like that, and got better numbers more realistic numbers."

While Maissoneuve continues to work as a bookkeeper for a restoration company, she has launched her own independent bookkeeping service, Maizy Rose Bookkeeping. And she has plans to make it her full-time career. "Through the business plan, I learned that Grand Prairie is kind of special it has a lot of small businesses, like tons of sub-contractors, and that's who I would be doing books for."

The path to bookkeeping

Maissoneuve worked at a variety of jobs before zeroing in on a career that both excited her and had long-term potential. "Gas station attendant, IGA cashier, cooking everything," she says. "There's pretty much not a place in Grande Prairie that I haven't worked at." While she loved working as a line cook and a prep cook in restaurants, she realized it didn't offer a long term career. "To be a Red Seal in Grande Prairie, you're going to make maybe $20 an hour tops."

She began taking courses to upgrade her skills, with the goal of becoming a receptionist. "When I started getting into the courses at the college, I thought I'm better than this," she says. "And I got into the accounting aspect of it and decided that I wanted to be a bookkeeper. I graduated in May '08, and I started my first job in May '08, and I've been a bookkeeper ever since."

Learning the ways of business planning

She began working with another bookkeeper who had a client roster of more than 50 companies, and she continued there for three years, learning the fine details of running a bookkeeping business. Maissoneuve had planned to buy the business from her boss at the beginning of 2012, allowing her more time to build her experience, but when her boss decided to retire earlier she declined. "I decided I was going to start my own business when she retired. She didn't like that and let me go. So she kind of pushed me into doing it a year earlier than I planned, which was fine, but I wasn't in a financial position to do so."

She put what money she could afford into advertising and business cards and began trying to get her business off the ground. "It just started becoming too much without clients, so I got another job," she says. She works as a job-cost accountant with a professional restoration company, and they encourage her freelance work.

Maissoneuve was able to get two clients fairly quickly. One found her on Kijiji. The other discovered her by other means. "It's a local deli," she says. I bought a lot of their stakes in the summer, and I went in to apply for a cashier job, and kind of got into a conversation about how I was starting my own business and about being a bookkeeper. I was talking to the owner's wife, and the owner overheard that and was very interested in my skills, education, everything that I've been through.

Business planning essential for receiving funding

Maissoneuve also began to make the rounds of banks looking for financing for her business, and learned a business truth very quickly. "Most banks, most places, wanted a business plan to even bother looking at you for a business loan," she says.

"I knew what I was getting into," she says. "As a bookkeeper you know. I've set up businesses before brand new companies." But the market research and discovering the real potential for growth in Grande Prairie was encouraging and invaluable.

She advises that other start-ups seek professional help. "Make sure you talk to an accountant and speak with a lawyer. Even if it's just a consultation, just to make sure that you are doing everything right; because if you mess up, it can haunt you forever. So talk to professionals."

Imagine how a professionally prepared business plan could help grow your business. For a free consultation, call 1-800-481-8434.

Please note our Centre is not affiliated to programs profiled in the above article and no claim is made that funding is due to our Centre unless stated.
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