This Global Firm of the Future finalist shares on the importance of asking for help and not falling in love with technology at first sight
Every year, QuickBooks honours bookkeeping and accounting firms near and far for taking the lead in embracing technology to grow their practice and helping their small business clients succeed and prosper, with the Global Firm of the Future contest. The 2018 country finalist for Canada is Cloud Bookkeeping, a full-service and cloud-based bookkeeping firm in Ontario.
We spoke to founder Tanya Hilts about entrepreneurship, being tech-savvy and what keeps them going when the going gets tough.
‘If you think you can do it alone, you’d be wrong.’
TSheets: When we speak to women business owners, we’ve found their businesses are often the result of necessity and not opportunity. Would you say it’s the same for Cloud Bookkeeping?
Tanya: I guess you can say that. When my daughter was 6 months old, I just couldn’t see myself returning to corporate life and having her be raised by strangers or spending long hours at daycare. So I made a decision to start my own business and here we are 16 years and counting.
Looking back, what is one piece of advice you’d give budding business owners or your younger self?
It’s a very long road, and it can be very discouraging at times. But I’ve always had the support of my family and their faith in me keeps me going. I started as a one-woman show where at times it felt like it’s me versus the world. My support network keeps me focused and grounded. If you think you can do it alone, you’d be wrong. And you shouldn’t have to, because it really does take a village.
What do you love about what you do?
I am results-driven, and I love solving problems. It sounds cliché but it doesn’t make anything less true. Helping my clients solve their pain points excites me, and I know my clients see this too when they work with us.
‘Technology is like a new habit. It takes time.’
How would you describe your relationship with technology?
I’ll be honest. I was resistant to cloud technology at first. It was new, it was foreign, and I was comfortable in my old ways. But then I saw how powerful it was and will continue to be. Why would I spend doing a task for an hour when I can do it in five minutes? I embraced the cloud three years ago and it has completely transformed my business.
How does Cloud Bookkeeping help its clients when it comes to technology?
Because I was once that small business owner adopting new technology, I know exactly what my clients are going and will go through. My transition to the cloud was done in small, incremental steps. I do the same with my clients. There should not be major impediments to their daily operations unless they’re ready.
“Technology is like a new habit. It takes time.
But once it becomes second nature, you don’t even think about it.”
― Tanya Hilts, Founder,
Cloud Bookkeeping Services
What’s the biggest hurdle for business owners when it comes to technology?
It’s really about getting the help they need. Maybe they’re having an issue with payroll because they’re trying to do it themselves when they shouldn’t be. Or they don’t understand numbers, cash flow or CRA regulations. I help to fill that gap, and technology helps to reduce the learning curve.
‘When you’ve made it, pay it forward.’
What does it mean to be the Global Firm of the Future country finalist?
It’s humbling and empowering. We’re a small firm without the traditional brick-and-mortar structure, yet we’ve been able to grow continuously here at home and in the U.S. This recognition tells us we’re on the right track, and we never expected the support and encouragement we’ve received from our community. Talk about hometown pride! We’re bursting with it.
We recently surveyed women entrepreneurs and many wished they had a mentor when they were starting their business. What are your thoughts on this?
I am a volunteer mentor with Futurpreneur Canada and it is so important to me. I encourage everyone to do this: When you’ve made it, pay it forward. Giving back is a great way for us to make a difference in the very neighbourhoods where we work and live. My mentorship with Ron Baker through the IPBC the Black Swan Project has been the biggest influence on my business. Jennie Moore of Moore Details, Inc. introduced me to the possibilities in the cloud. Remember what I said earlier on how no one can and should it alone? I’m proof!
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Everything starts with a single step. It’s the same with business. Don’t wait to ask for help, don’t think you deserve less and don’t ever stop learning. Running your own business is a constant battle, but it is also immensely rewarding. I wouldn’t have it any other way.