Why Getting a Professional Bookkeeper Was Crucial to Growing My Agency

By Kahl Orr on September 12, 2019

Rise.co Office

I knew that growing my Internet marketing company would be a huge time commitment. This is something I’m very passionate about, so it doesn’t feel like work. But I didn’t realize how much more time I’d lose by not having the right accounting solution in place from the start.

I’ve been steadily growing my agency (Rise.co) for the last few years, which means accurate bookkeeping with only minimal time investment from me is vital. I want to focus on what I do best: running my agency. It’s funny how you tend to underestimate the value of seamless bookkeeping when you’re focused on growth. Only now do I understand that not worrying about your books frees you up to growing your company with greater confidence than ever.

When DIY accounting software failed me, I knew I needed a real solution to ensure proper bookkeeping that didn’t require a huge time investment from me. That’s when I discovered Bench. I haven’t trusted my company’s books to anyone else since.

Let me walk you through my journey of finally finding peace of mind with bookkeeping.

A talent for coding turns into a career

Ever since middle school, I’ve been building websites. Back then, it was just a hobby, but I was always very enthusiastic about experimenting with web design and various web languages.

I went to Penn State University and took Computer Science. Things were going well until…I began to feel unfulfilled from what I was “learning” there. I felt that it was just a retread of my high-school computer science courses, and it was too slow-paced.

Things weren’t smooth at first after I dropped out.

To get by, I took on whatever jobs could pay the bills: manufacturing work for temp agencies, washing cars, you name it.

Then, I landed my break when I got a job as a web developer for a small company, on the strength of my website samples that I’d shown them.

A talent for coding turns into a growing business (with unforeseen challenges)

I also started a side hustle taking on web-design projects while working full-time as a web developer. I eventually started making enough money from my contracting income to leave my full-time job. This meant I could focus on building my own company.

I started a partnership with an established SEO professional from California, who had a roster of clients. Our partnership would focus on lead generation, bringing SEO and web development together to bring exceptional value to our clients.

Months later, things didn’t work out as planned. I bought out my partner because, unlike me, his commitment to delivering high-quality results for our clients just wasn’t there. After buying the rights to our company, I rebranded as Rise. All of our existing clients stayed with me.

We’ve been growing ever since! We’re about to clear half a million dollars in revenue for 2019, and the growth is expected to continue for years to come.

Growth turns into a bookkeeping nightmare

Throughout 2018, our team kept growing quickly. I hired some full-time employees and started working with more contractors. This eventually resulted in serious bottlenecks that wasted time and money.

Having a hard time keeping track of your growing success is a “nice” problem to have, all things considered, but if you don’t stay on top of it, it’ll come back to haunt you, just the same.

It was impossible to keep up with manually categorizing our expenses in DIY accounting software. There were issues with their automated categorization rules, not to mention a massive amount of duplicate entries (because we were syncing with numerous financial institutions).

I hired an assistant to help me bring some order to this mess, but she only complicated things, which meant I had to invest additional time to make sure things were done right. The end result? Still more time and money wasted.

The kicker was, at year’s end, I would still be the one answering our CPA’s questions and ensuring he got all the information he needed.

With our growth increasing rapidly, I couldn’t continue with this inefficiency any further. I needed a real solution, fast.

How Bench solved our accounting problems

The first thing Bench did was assign us a professional bookkeeper. This was a stark difference from the previous arrangements we tried.

Our Bench bookkeeper did the following:

  • Noted all of our spending habits and rules

  • Got rid of duplicates from the numerous, synced financial institutions

  • Coordinated with our CPA

  • Only contacted me when absolutely necessary (if she needed to clarify an expense)

For us, these systems in place mean that our books are accurate on a monthly basis, and I can finally remove myself from those arduous, back-and-forth conversations with our CPA.

Bench even went the extra mile for us, delighting us in the process. Our new bookkeeper helped in getting financial documents and statements that were crucial to securing a business loan, all with no hassle.

The “Pulse” feature in the Bench app is another blessing, as it empowers me to track our cash flow across all our accounts very easily.

If all this didn’t already indicate that I made the right decision switching to Bench, I soon experienced that Aha! moment just two months into our new relationship. At the end of last year, our CPA told us:

“This package from Bench is perfect. I need nothing else from you.”

In terms of sheer numbers, Bench now saves me at least two to four hours per month, which translates to between $3,600 to $7,200 worth of my time back to focus on building the business. In 2018, we did a total of $218,000 in revenue. Now, with more time freed up for growth, we’ve already surpassed that amount in our first six months this year and are on track to surpass $500,000 in revenue for 2019.

How my professional life is smoother thanks to Bench

I love running my company. It’s what I do best. Thanks to Bench, I can now put 100% of my energy into that, which is where my passion lies. Their support is peerless when it comes to managing my books.

It was challenging to go from solopreneur to delegating by hiring employees and managers. The last thing I needed was problematic bookkeeping. Because of Bench, I now have the freedom to focus only on:

  • Building my company by landing more clients

  • Managing existing client relationships

  • Leading my team

What I learned was that professional bookkeeping is integral to growing my company. If you’re in a similar situation like I was—facing rapid growth and needing reliable financial records—don’t wait as long as I did to make bookkeeping your priority.

Prioritize it from day one, and you’ll grow your company more efficiently thanks to the peace of mind and order that comes from having accurate books.

Bookkeeper

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Kahl Orr is an entrepreneur and the Founder of Rise, a web development agency. Rise builds high-end, custom websites and mobile apps for national brands.


This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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