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Amy Lafleur, CPB

Common Good Bookkeeping
Dunville, Ontario

What do you see for the future of bookkeeping and/or accounting?
I think many of us have already embraced the first phase of the future of bookkeeping, which is becoming experts at setting up, using, and troubleshooting accounting and bookkeeping technology. With apps like Dext that do the majority of the data entry, and others like Xenett that assist with reviewing the books for accuracy, the billable hours related to these tasks has decreased significantly so we need to find other things to do. There is also a lot of talk in the industry about bookkeepers taking on more of a “trusted advisor” role, however I personally see that as less important as this role has traditionally been filled by and will likely continue to be filled by certified accountants for many business owners. Maybe that’s just because that’s something that doesn’t interest me, personally, though. We’ll definitely have to keep talking about innovative ways to serve bookkeeping clients as technology takes over.

Why do you believe bookkeeping and/or accounting is such an important business?
I don’t think anyone doesn’t think accounting is an important industry, but bookkeeping is still struggling to be seen as an important and worthwhile business. Bookkeepers have to constantly keep up to date with the changing accounting, tax and payroll regulations, and also be the first to know and able to use all the new accounting and bookkeeping technology. Yet, many clients (and accountants) undervalue bookkeeping services choosing instead to either try to do it themselves which probably ends up costing them more in the long-run, or by hiring inexperienced and uncertified bookkeepers at low rates. That’s why I think the CPB organization and certification are so important and I hope to see it one day be recognized the same way CPA and other professional designations are.

Tell us about your Firm
I currently run Common Good Bookkeeping which is a firm I started with a couple partners in 2021. I had previously owned and operated Stamp Bookkeeping Company for about 10 years, but during the pandemic we wanted to make some changes to how we operate and what types of clients we work with, and decided the best way to move forward was to start fresh with a new company. Our vision for Common Good Bookkeeping was a firm dedicated to organizations that share similar values. We provide year-round bookkeeping and accounting services to clients in a variety of industries with a focus on enterprises that are committed to social equity, environmental sustainability and community responsibility.

What drove you to launch your own firm? Tell us about your journey in getting started.
My original bookkeeping firm grew somewhat organically. I worked part-time as the baker at a cafe while I was in school for accounting, and when I graduated from the program, the owner of the cafe offered me a position doing the bookkeeping for a few of her businesses. They really do not teach you *anything* about bookkeeping in the accounting program, so I had to learn as I went along looking things up online and from the multiple pages of adjusting entries sent back by my main client’s very patient and kind CPA. As I got more comfortable with what I was doing I began advertising in the area where my office was located where there were a lot of cool, new small businesses opening up, and also took on lots of new clients via word-of-mouth. By 2019, we employed 4 full-time bookkeepers and a CPA. With our new firm, Common Good Bookkeeping, it’s now just the two of us after one of the original partners backed out and I think we’ll be keeping it that way in the short-term. We have managed to replace a lot of the work that junior staff used to do by using technology and apps like Hubdoc, Dext, etc. instead.