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  • Writer's pictureLaura Bedal

Aren't Accountants Supposed to be Risk Adverse? What am I doing?

One of the key roles I have taken anywhere I have worked is to identify and mitigate risk. It's part of the territory when you are the accountant. Protect the assets! Find ways for the business to minimize cost and increase profit.

For the last 22 years, I have been working for other people. I spent a short time in a big, global public company - but when they decided to sell the plant that I worked in to an entrepreneur from the US my first reaction was "How can they do this to me?" and my realization about a year later was "Wow, that turned out great!". I learned in that experience that I really prefer working in private companies. It provided me more opportunity to influence and to try things outside of my specialty. Instead of just operational accounting, I learned about treasury, credit facility management and just overall fire fighting in the world of business.

In the most recent 5 years, I worked on a small team which was part of a much larger company. Our objective was simple. Manage these small businesses so that the Founder could focus on the larger company. And it was here that I learned something new. Taking all of the things I learned in the big companies I had worked for and apply that same methodology in smaller companies makes sense. It is like the logic of "behave today like you are already doing the role you want to be promoted into so that management knows you can do it". Small businesses, if they act like they are already big, can assert the confidence that the world needs to see to give them the opportunities needed for growth. It was the role of a lifetime. I was having a lot of fun and my personal learning was exponential. Instead of just accounting, I learned about legal, sales and just overall catastrophe recovery in the world of business. I loved every minute and had planned to be there until I retired.

And then, at the end of April, I went to a meeting where I was told that due to COVID-19, my role was being eliminated. I spent the next couple of days thinking "How can they do this to me?"

And then, one morning I remembered the same thoughts from 18 years earlier. I remembered that even though I did not see it at the time, the result of that tragedy was an experience that redefined my career. I thought that maybe I was on a road to something great; even if it was not a road I put myself on. And when I really thought about what I loved at that last role, how the world was changing due to COVID-19 and how there would be LOTS of small and medium family businesses who would need help but could not spend large company dollars to recruit the talent that they needed, I developed my new plan. If I could take on several of these companies and let them hire me for just what they need, then maybe that is the path towards being able to say "Wow, that turned out great!".

And so I put together a plan to provide accounting and financial services from my home. My plan would allow these businesses to get my skill without needing to invest in an office or computer equipment or medical benefits and receive the same care, passion and dedication I have for my work and the businesses I support. And, through the magic of the internet, I have made myself available to the companies that need my help. No more worry about the time to commute to an office. Take the lessons from COVID-19 about working remotely, take the lessons from your entire career and rebuild. Not only for me and my family, but for as many of the family businesses as I could.

Arguably, this is the worst time to try and start a business. The economy has slowed down. The very people I want to help have had months of slower business due to the restrictions of the state of emergency. This is risky. But, this is my time to try.

This blog will contain some tips and tricks from an accountant to small business owners. It will document my journey towards being able to say "Wow, that turned out great!"

I hope that you find it helpful. I would appreciate any feedback you have, including topics you want to hear about.

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