This is the 6th post in the “A Conversation With” series, where I interview talented people about their areas of expertise focused on nonprofits. With the start of a fresh, new year, today’s conversation is super relevant to kick off 2021 on a great note. 

Beth Blaney, owner of Beth Blaney & Associates provides bookkeeping and remote office support for small businesses and solopreneurs. Beth’s mission is to serve as the backbone of your business so you can flourish and shine, and connect with your clients.

⁣In our conversation, she shares common struggles with her clients, the first step to becoming more fiscally responsible, and 3 actions you can take today to put yourself in a better financial position. 

Tell me a little bit about Beth Blaney & Associates, your philosophy, and your passion for helping small businesses and nonprofits.

I started out with the plan of being simply an outsourced bookkeeper. I wanted to provide support to small businesses who needed help with their bookkeeping. Over time, I started realizing that my clients needed more than ‘just bookkeeping’. 

These solopreneurs and small businesses needed more back-office support, like they would have if they had an office manager, an executive assistant, a project manager, an H/R person, etc. Those roles were all part of my background, so it was totally natural for me to start providing those services! I wanted my clients to feel fully supported – to not have to worry about the ‘stuff’ so that they could focus on building their businesses and doing what they do best!

beth blaney
Beth Blaney, Owner of Beth Blaney & Associates

What are some common struggles that you see with small business owners and nonprofits?

So many people come to me with just really bad books and processes (or none at all). It really saddens me that this part of their business is so often overlooked (and that there are so many so-called ‘bookkeepers’ out there who do the absolute bare minimum, and even do that poorly). With nonprofits specifically, there are so many other things to consider such as separation of duties, audits, grant tracking, specific forms. I’ve come across nonprofits who didn’t think that they were big enough to worry about these things. Right now is the time to plan for the future!

And why are you so passionate to change this?

Having clean books is VITAL to the success of a business! I want to see my clients succeed! The world is really turning to small businesses these days, and these businesses don’t have large accounting departments or office staff. We can provide that to them on a scalable level for a cost appropriate to their size

What do you suggest to your clients as the first step in an effort to become more fiscally responsible?

Stop commingling! Seriously… no matter the size or situation, make sure that you have a separate bank account and credit card! Next: hire a bookkeeper. Even if it’s just to set up or review your books. Even if you already have one. Get a second set of eyes, if only for an hour!

What are common mistakes you see with your clients?

Have I mentioned commingling? I also see a lot of realllllly long ‘charts of accounts’. It’s important to keep it as simple as you can while also allowing you to report on what you need. I actually have a blog series dedicated to these mistakes.

What are 3 specific actions an organization can take today to put themselves in a better financial position?

  1. Keep accurate records.
  2. Review your reports.
  3. Hire a professional.

What are some of your favorite books, podcasts, or blogs on small business / nonprofit finances?

Oh boy, I could go on for days about books! 

I am totally in love with: 

And an ABSOLUTE DO NOT MISS is 

The Home Biz Tax Lady

For blogs, I’m pretty partial to my own 😉 Beth Blaney

 Also, 

Where can people connect with you online?

Here is my Linktree. And you can download my free personal budgeting tool here.

Any Final Thoughts?

Bookkeeping doesn’t have to be scary, but it must be accurate! Find an accounting professional that you connect with, who believes in you and your business. They should be your partner, not just a data entry person hidden in the background. You’ve got this! 

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ABOUT JENNY BELANGER
I am a web designer for small businesses, solopreneurs, and nonprofits. Like you, I find myself with only so many hours in a day to get things done. Website design, marketing, and tech tools are my thing and I am truly passionate about you get the best results without all the tech overwhelm. Let’s chat and see how I can help you.