SelfInformed

August 2016


Bookkeeping Self-Employment

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Teewa Akers is the owner of The Bookkeepers Accounting Service MD (Bookkeepers MD) located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The goal of Bookkeepers MD is to provide quality accounting services and increase financial literacy one client at a time. Teewa believes that financial literacy is extremely important for individuals and business owners alike, without a strong financial background, you may not be equipped to make major financial decisions. The Bookkeepers MD also specializes in working with small businesses to free up precious time for business owners to run their businesses instead of worrying about accounting and tax issues.

When and why did you join the NASE?
I joined NASE in early 2016. I decided to join this organization because I was seeking a resource for entrepreneurs that was not industry specific.  While industry specific organizations are great, I really enjoy meeting and interacting with entrepreneurs outside of my industry. The benefits are awesome as well!

What inspired you to enter the field you are in?
My inspiration to be an accountant stems back to my childhood. I have always had a love for mathematics and problem solving. I figured I would be a math teacher, but after taking my first accounting course in high school, I fell in love.

When and why did you start your business?
I founded the Bookkeepers MD in 2008 while pursuing my undergraduate studies at Howard University. In 2007/2008 when the financial crisis hit, I realized that many people made financial decisions without the proper information to fully evaluate their options. This was a HUGE problem; however I did not know what I could do to help. In college, we were highly encouraged to follow a specific career track that ended with working at a Big 4 accounting firm. I knew that there was a different path for me. Not only did I want to crunch numbers, but I also wanted to help educate others on how to better analyze and manage their finances. This was the driving force behind me starting the Bookkeepers MD.

What challenges have you faced in your business?
Starting the business was one of my biggest challenges. With accounting and financial coaching being a trust based businesses, starting was not as simple as I had planned. You have to build trust and that takes work. Yes, some consumers may hire you or retain your services based on a bio or article they have read, but most of my clients have come from word of mouth referrals and meeting me personally.  This is something that I had to learn. When I initially went into business, I was excited to get my first few clients. I tried everything. Everything included spending thousands on a coach and different marketing initiatives that yielded very little results. I took a huge loss and vowed that I would need to try a different approach. Being young and not knowing of any entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial resources, I was unable to ask for advice. Once I realized that I had to build the public’s trust I worked hard and invested in items that allowed me to show my skills. This definitely helped me get my business off of the ground.

How do you market your business?
I currently market my business by taking advantage of my personal & professional networks, teaching classes, utilizing social media, and my business website. I have found that this combination has yielded the highest return and allows me to interact with the public.  I rarely spend money on direct advertising or marketing.

Do you have any employees?
The Bookkeepers MD currently has a staff of three part time employees and one intern. This allows us to not only be efficient, but also continue to offer our clients the “personalized touch” that we pride ourselves in.

What's your schedule like, what's a typical day for you?
A typical day for me would look something like this:
Arrive at office and prepare for morning one on ones or staff meeting
Meet with staff
Meet with clients, respond to emails and work on outstanding projects
Take a short afternoon walk
Review social media posts
Teach accounting course (online or face to face depending on the day of the week)
Workout
Visit parents
Brainstorm
Go to sleep and do it all again

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?
If I had to pick one benefit of being self-employed, it would have to be the flexibility. I have the flexibility when it comes to my schedule, but I also have flexibility when it comes to the direction I want the business to go in. As an employee, you may have input on certain decisions, but there is always someone else who makes the final decision.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
I had a customer tell me that the person they were dating asked them “How much do you love me?” and their response was, “I love you a lot, but I love my accountant more”.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business?
Wow, there are so many pieces of advice I would love to share. If I had to choose one bit of advice to share with new entrepreneurs, it would be: Stick to your contracts and agreements. Many entrepreneurs tend to deviate from their contracts and pricing to sign their initial clients. I am guilty of this myself. As an entrepreneur, you have to stand firm. If not, you may find yourself spending many hours working on projects and not being properly compensated.

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