Candles lit. Playlist on. Kitties sweetly watching over me.
That was the scene a few weeks ago as I sat down to tackle our QuickBooks Online, so we could finalize the personal side of our taxes.
It was the first time I’d stepped in to run our personal financial numbers in many years. I was nervous at first, but once I organized our Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks, I felt ecstatic!
I did all of our personal bookkeeping for many, many years (and loved it). My husband took it over once our son was born. But last year, he was so focused on his business, it got behind — so now I’m stepping in to get us updated.
It feels so good to step in and take over our bookkeeping!
When I first learned QuickBooks many years ago — with lots of chocolate breaks and handholding, over many months — it was a REVELATION to me.
I know: that sounds dramatic. But it was. A revelation.
I never-in-a-million-years thought I could learn bookkeeping. I wasn’t great a math, growing up, and I equated that with not being good at money or bookkeeping. (So many people make that assumption, and it’s just not true!)
My emotions got in the way, too. All the shame and overwhelm and conflicting feelings about money (which nobody teaches us to deal with) had me so anxious and overwhelmed about money, I did everything I could to avoid it. In my 20’s, when I was in graduate school to become a therapist (where we never talked about money!) bank statements would arrive in the mail and go straight into the trash, unopened.
But I found the right teacher for me, and he taught me the gold standard of bookkeeping systems: Quickbooks. He was patient. There were a few frustration-crying breaks! But incrementally, over many months, I learned Quickbooks.
If I could do it? YOU can do it!
After that, I ran a bookkeeping business for therapists, artists, coaches, and contractors for a few years, before moving into my Financial Therapy work, which integrated my two worlds: the Master’s in Psychology I’d earned years prior PLUS my new love for all things bookkeeping and money. My business model has shifted several times over the years, but this was the seed for what is now The Art of Money!
For years, I did all of my own bookkeeping: both the personal and business sides.
About 6 years ago, I handed the business side of our bookkeeping to my wonderful bookkeeper, Jessica Reagan Salzman and her team at Heart-Based Bookkeeping.
But I am so grateful that I did all of our bookkeeping for so many years, because it was an invaluable education. Knowing my numbers through and through taught me so much about business. And knowing my personal numbers taught me tons about my income and spending patterns, allowing me to make meaningful, educated shifts.
Of course, knowing our financial values, dreams, goals, and emotions are so important. But getting intimate with our numbers is absolutely essential, too!
So after many years of little money dates with myself, doing all of our bookkeeping … and then a big break for many years … it feels so good to be here, stepping in again.
Listen: I was nervous at first! I wasn’t familiar with the online version of QuickBooks (I always used the desktop version).
So I did my Body Check-Ins. I lit my candles, started my music, and ate some dark chocolate. I was a bit confused, at first … but I paused, took deep breaths, and was able to figure my way around.
Plus, I knew if I couldn’t understand something on my own, I would reach out to Jess or her team to give me a little extra training.
It can take awhile to learn a bookkeeping system: sometimes many months.
Some systems are more simple and you can learn on your own — or watch their video tutorials (like Mint and YNAB). But many of us need a good bookkeeping trainer (YES these angels exist!), especially if we’re learning QuickBooks, Money Minder, or Quicken. And that’s totally fine and OK! Getting support is such a good thing.
As soon as I’d organized my Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks, I felt ecstatic! Having this money clarity is so grounding and empowering. And surprisingly fun!
So this is my PSA: get your bookkeeping on, folks!
If you don’t have a bookkeeping system in place yet, you can get yourself up to speed over the next few months. Here’s help on picking one. And here’s help if you’re terrified to even peek at your numbers.
Just imagine how different things could be a year from now.
If you start now and spend a few months setting up a gorgeous, clear bookkeeping system, getting to know your numbers through and through … next year (and next tax season) will feel so much better!
If you already have a bookkeeping system in place, take this opportunity to check in. Are there some refinements you’d like to make? Maybe you haven’t been taking full advantage of your system and would like to learn how to pull some special reports.
Remember: go at your own pace. Get the support you need. Shower yourself with patience and compassion, because this takes some courage. But also: don’t hold back, because this can be so empowering!
No matter how good or bad at math you were. No matter how long it’s been. Whether you had a system in place and let it fall by the wayside .. or even if you’ve never given bookkeeping a try.
Consider a loving little fire lit beneath you.
You really can do this!
Cheering you on,