Elmer Howard Dollars and Sense Bookkeeping

Elmer Howard with Dollars and Sense Bookkeeping

Elmer Howard of Dollars & Sense Bookkeeping talks with Founder, Justin Recla, about accountability and transparency in business. As a QuickBooks Pro Advisor, Elmer and his team assist people in outsourcing bookkeeping and financial management. Listen in as he shares his journey into business ownership and talks about the importance of holding yourself accountable and being transparent in all aspects of business.

Hi. This is your host, Justin Recla, and today we’re talking about accountability and transparency. We’re interviewing one of the members of the Clear Business Directory, and what it means to operate the transparent business. Our guest today is Elmer Howard, the CEO of Dollars & Sense Bookkeeping.  Elmer, welcome to the show.

Hello, and thank you for having me.

I want to brag a little bit about you. Elmer is actually a really close friend, and his business is actually a business that we engage for our own business. He’s an absolute stand-up guy. He and his team actually take really good care of us, and we’re so grateful to have him part of our business. And of course, he is in the Clear Business Directory, but Elmer why don’t you let the listeners know what it is you do exactly.

What I’m in the Clear Business Directory for is bookkeeping. I do a lot of things outside of that, but what I’m focusing on here is the bookkeeping part. And I don’t do taxes. I’m not a CPA, and please don’t ask me to do taxes. I’m not interested in that, but I will take of your books all year long, and when you’re ready to go to your CPA, I can have all the documents ready, so when you go to him, or her it’s an easy to do process with them, as well.

Fantastic. And again, we’ve been very pleased with everything that you’ve done for our businesses, and you do an absolutely fantastic job. So our listeners know … I’m sure my recommendation will go a long ways, but regardless I do still want to let everybody know that … Give you an opportunity to explain what it means to you to operate a transparent business, and so can you give our listeners an idea?

What’s an important question that someone should ask you before they decide to hire your business?

I think that before you decide to hire any business the important question to ask is to actually meet people. I think getting to know somebody, and connecting with them energetically, no matter their background, no matter their credentials, no matter their referrals. After all that’s said and done I think you really need to sit down and meet somebody face to face, and see whether or not they can fit with your business, fit with you personally.

Especially when it comes to finances because it’s a very sensitive subject, highly confidential, and you want somebody you can trust. Trust, I think, is not only found from the due diligence part, which is very important because you want to make sure that there’s no red flags, but after all that’s said and done, and you’ve got the green lights and all that, you need to sit down and connect with the person’s energy.  That’s the most important thing to do. I know it’s not a question, but I think that’s the most important thing to do after you’ve done your due diligence.

You bring up a really good point, you know? We actually call that intuitive due diligence. And making sure that … Does it fit intuitively. Do you get along. And just because the person’s got the credentials, and the experience, and the mechanical side of the house looks good. You want to make sure that you can get along with that person. And otherwise you’ll find out the hard way that three months later the person’s a jerk, and you don’t really get along, and you don’t want to work with him anyways, so that’s absolutely great.

I can imagine being in the financial world, being a bookkeeper and such. And like you said, financials can get personal, and can get very intimate as far as business is concerned. I would imagine there’s probably been a time somewhere in your background that you’ve had a miscommunication with a client.

Can you share an example of when you may have had a miscommunication with your client, and what the result of that was?

Yeah, the one instance I have is actually outside of the financial world, and I want to talk about that. In terms of being in the financial world there’s always been minimal for me, simple little mistakes of miscommunication between … From me, from them, or from both of us. And you know, you just sit down and take care of it. You just correct the issue. And I always go above, and beyond to make sure even if it wasn’t my fault, I just go above, and beyond to try to make the client happy.

But the one incident that I can think of recently, for me, was I was in a partnership with somebody else about selling some items, and they were asking me to do something that, I felt, wasn’t part of the original agreement. We brought the original agreement back up, and it wasn’t really clear. So how we resolved that was we just sat down and had a conversation. We just sit there, and be like, well what do you expect of this, and what did I expect, and then we figured out … Okay, well this is where we both are. How can we move forward, and still make it a profitable business and we were able to sit down and do that.

Communication, I think, is the key to any relationship whether it’s business, professional, whether it’s personal, and friends, or even in terms of a couple’s relationship. Without communication, you just don’t have anything to stand on, and it’s just ripe for problems and issues. So I always try to over-communicate with my client’s so that we try to avoid the miscommunications.

Fantastic. That makes a lot of sense, especially when you’re dealing with numbers, and money, and books, and all that kind of stuff the communication is essential to make sure that everything is … All the ducks are in order, and so forth. That’s actually fantastic. Thanks for bringing that up.

So being in the Clear Business Directory we vet all of our members. Everybody’s been through the vetting process. We make sure that they’re clear of frauds and scams. We all have something in our business background that was a hard lesson, or something that we wish … And we think, God I wish I could go back and do that over again.

Is there anything in your business background that you wish you could do over?

As I thought about this question it’s always little things that you think of … Like, oh I could have done this differently, but what I kept coming back to, and realized that, I think, was the thing one thing that I could change would be to start sooner.

We’ve been talking with Elmer Howard of Dollars &  Sense Bookkeeping about Accountability and Transparency. We’ll be right back after this short break. 

We’re back. You’re listening to the In the Clear podcast. Today we’re talking with Elmer Howard of Dollars & Sense Bookkeeping about Accountability and Transparency and why he wish he hadn’t waited so long to start his own business. 

I was too concerned with the security of having a job knowing that I know exactly how much money is coming in every week, or every bi week however I got paid. I knew I had that security. I didn’t have to worry about running a business, and so I waited a long time before I took that leap of faith. And it was a leap of faith, because you don’t know if you’re going to have enough clients, you don’t know if you’re going to have enough income to pay your bills. So I think my biggest regret was just not starting earlier in life.

That’s absolutely some absolute fantastic advice for people that are just starting up, or contemplating on becoming an entrepreneur. That first step of just doing it is. It’s the biggest step, but like you said, the sooner you start the easier it gets, and you realize that, yeah, you can do it.

Your wife, Tonya, had a great piece of feedback, or advice for me was … I have this script that I’ve been working on, I think, four or five years now, and she’s like what are you waiting for? She’s like, you’re waiting for life to happen, and it’s not gonna happen that way. You have to get out there and do something, and I was. I was waiting for either an opportunity for to be working in the industry better, or for me to have a huge cash windfall where I could then create the film, and I realized that might never happen, and for me to get this done, and allow life to happen.

Because, you have to take the actions. You take the actions, and then opportunities fall into your lap. You can’t just sit in your recliner, like The Secret tells you to do and wish upon a car. Next thing you know the car is going to appear. There are actions in between those … the beginning and the outcome that have to happen for that manifestation to occur.

So, I think, that was great advice from her, and just stop waiting for life, and make life happen.

Awesome. Usually the contents of the movie, The Secret, for those listeners that aren’t familiar with The Secret, it’s a book on the Law of Attraction, and how you manifest things. I think more and more entrepreneurs are becoming aware to those concepts. But you’re right, there’s those actions steps that you have to take in order for that manifestation to appear. It’s the whole concept of overnight success. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes 20, 30 years or whatever it might be, right?


Fantastic.  Awesome.  So tell me … Tell our listeners what’s the one thing that you really want our listeners, and your potential clients to know about your business?

The one thing I want … I guess what sets me apart from other bookkeepers is I’m not just a numbers person.  I came into this the other way around.  I’m a business person.  I’ve been running a lot of people’s businesses for a long time. I’ve consulted, from a business standpoint, for other very successful businesses, and helped them turn around.  So … When I come into your business it’s not just the numbers guy.  A lot of people who focus on numbers, only focus on numbers, and I’ve run into some bookkeepers that make it very difficult to run a company because they don’t understand how to run a company.

They understand the numbers, and so they fight you because they understand the numbers, and where they’re coming from makes sense, but they’re not applying it to the business world.  And that’s a thing that bookkeepers … a lot of them don’t understand.  A lot of them don’t have that background.  So I bring that to the table.  I understand how to run a business.  I understand what that means, and I understand the finances.  So I understand the impact of any decision that is being made, and can be more of an asset than just saying, we can’t afford that.

And also just being able to help … seeing the finances … I can also give you advice that maybe other business always can’t see. Seeing both sides of the picture. Of what’s working financially, what’s not working financially. What’s bringing money in, what’s not. Where are we losing money, and how to streamline the business, so that you’re making the most profitability that you can. And the other important thing is, I think, the question to ask anytime about bringing anybody in is how does this help my bottom line. And for me, what I tell people is bookkeeping takes time and if you don’t know what you’re doing, or don’t completely understand that it takes a lot of time and a lot of energy.

And that time and energy you’re spending trying to figure out the numbers, you’re not out there growing your business and making income. So I bring that to the table, as well. Let me take care of that, let me handle that so you can go out and be your best, and brightest in whatever position that might be. If you’re great at sales, or great at the product development, you don’t want to be wasting your time doing the numbers.

That’s a great piece of advice. I think there’s a lot of entrepreneurs that find themselves in the CEO … The Chief Everything Officer, and they find themselves doing the numbers, they find themselves doing the taxes, they find themselves doing all those other things that they can outsource, and it is such a valuable asset to have somebody, a part of your team knowing that they’ve been screened for frauds, and scams. Knowing that they can focus on that one particular aspect that they shine in. And take it off your plate so you can go out and focus on what you do, so you can grow your business.

You’re absolutely correct with that. That’s some great advice.

And even if you can do it. Maria and I had this conversation a couple times last few weeks, Maria Speth another one of your Clear Directory members, and it was simply about just house cleaning. Just having somebody to clean your house. Yeah, I can clean my house, and you know what, she can clean her house. But she bills out three, four hundred dollars an hour whatever project she’s working on. So is her time better spent spending three hours cleaning her house, or going out and making a thousand dollars at that time?

So, even though you could do; it doesn’t mean that you should.

So so true. So true. I think it’s Entrepreneurs that start realizing the power of outsourcing some of your daily tasks whether it be bookkeeping, or like you said, even housekeeping. You’re able to focus on your business more, and really that’s when your business really starts to take off and grow. So, that’s absolutely fantastic advice.

In addition to reviewing your profile in the Clear Business Directory what’s one thing that a potential client can do, as part of their own due diligence process before they choose to hire your business?

I actually think there is maybe two things. One is if they don’t know, or even if they do, but they don’t know that I’ve been working any of my current clients is to reach out and talk to them. Ask them how is Elmer? How is his Dollars &  Sense Bookkeeping helping your company. Even ask them. Is there anything that you see that isn’t great, and their strength. I would hope they would come and tell me that you’re a little weak in this area, so I can focus on that. But always ask for, not only the positives, but also the negatives cause maybe that negative is something that you want to make sure that I can handle before you want to bring me on because it’s bigger in your business than maybe it is in somebody else.

And the second thing that I think they’ll do is … goes back to the first answer that I gave to the first question was sit down and meet with me. Make sure you connect, make sure that we can work well together. That our personalities align. And not only is that for you, it’s also for me. I’ve met some potential clients, in person, after they’ve reached out to me, and after the meeting I’m like this is not somebody that I want to work with.

I’ve worked with somebody that has those similar traits and I didn’t enjoy it that time, really didn’t want to bring them on now. So a lot of people don’t understand that when you’re meeting a potential client, it’s not just you interviewing me, it’s also me interviewing you because I have to also make sure that whatever your project is I can buy into it. I think you’re doing a great job with whatever it is. And personally we can work together. Because if it’s a nightmare for me it’s part of the reason I got into my own business was I worked for a nightmare boss, and I don’t want to repeat that in my own business.

Fantastic. That’s solid advice. The more that people will start doing that, doing that intuitive due diligence, meeting with the people that they are getting involved with and really making those educated decisions. It makes the decision-making process a whole lot easier when you choose to engage somebody. That’s absolutely fantastic.

Elmer, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Thank you for having me.

You’re so welcome, and thank you for everything that you do in assisting us with our own businesses. Again you can find … Real quick, Elmer, why don’t you give everybody a website address that they can find you on the internet.

The company is Dollars &  Sense Bookkeeping. http://dandsbookkeeping.com

Fantastic. And again, they can also find your profile, and contact information at ClearBusinessDirectory.com. Elmer, again thank you so much, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Thank you very much.

Thank you all for listening to today’s show about accountability and transparency with Elmer Howard of Dollars & Sense Bookkeeping. Bye bye.