Episode #113 Family + Automations = A Successful Bookkeeping Business

For this special episode of The Bookkeepers' Voice, Angie Martin is joined by Small Business Consultant and owner of Bishop’s Bookkeeping Solutions, Sarah-Jane! 

As a client of The Savvy Bookkeeper and part of our Savvy Membership, Sarah-Jane is one of our superhero Bookkeepers, who not only runs a successful business, but does so alongside her husband Anthony while they raise their 4 children and fur-babies.

In this episode, you'll hear all about Sarah-Jane's background and how her bookkeeping journey began. As an automation ‘Queen,' Sarah-Jane will also share how she used automations to help keep her business running during a recent interstate move and now ongoing.

Key Takeaway: “Through the use of automations you can put your family first while making sure your bookkeeping business flourishes.”

Podcast Info

Episode: #113

Series: General

Host: Angie Martin

Guest speaker: Sarah-Jane Bishop

Topic: Family + Automations = A Successful Bookkeeping Business

Useful links
Read transcript

Summary Keywords: bookkeeper, business owner, automation, business process automation, small business automation tools

 

Small Business Automations for Successful Bookkeeping

 

Angie Martin  0:01 

Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us for another episode of The bookkeepers voice. My name is Angie, and I'm part of the savvy team. And today we are actually joined by a very special guests, and also a savvy member. And I'm gonna say your full name first. And then we'll just go by what I usually do for the rest of the episode, but I'm here with Sarah Jane Bishop, and she is a small business consultant in business owner of Bishops, bookkeeping solutions. Hi, Sarah, thanks so much for joining us, I think, Oh, it's an absolute pleasure. Now, for those of you who don't know you, I just wanted to do a bit of a sound bit about you in your background with savvy because you've actually been a client with a savvy bookkeeper for a little while. Yeah. And you're part of our sense of a membership. And you've been working with Amy since before I even started.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  1:04 

Yeah, that's right. So I'll jump straight in, then I guess, um, I am really great at knowing what I want to say. But I'm not great at that starting point. And I really got stuck. And I just needed someone to kind of give me that starting point helped me to work out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go with my business. And that's kind of why I signed on with savvy, I love the templates. I love that they're changing and evolving. But I also love that they for now, like they're more than like, they have Facebook, their Instagram, they put this in your email template, they're not go to the client place and pick up a thing, because we don't do that we're not on site with anyone. And I just found like, a lot of direction and really clear picture of what I wanted to do for meeting with me and getting into the savvy groups that we do.

 

Angie Martin  1:56 

Yeah, I love it so much. Now, I also wanted to do a bit of disclaimer, because you are one of the superhero bookkeepers out there. And there's actually a lot out there. But people don't give you guys credit enough, I think because not only are you a bookkeeper, business owner of a couple businesses, but you actually run Bishop's bookkeeping solutions with your husband, Anthony, while the two of you also raise your four kids and your fur babies as well.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  2:28 

Right? We're a little bit select animals and humans. Yeah,

 

Angie Martin  2:33 

it's just it's really impressive. And you guys, you know, I'm not a fly on the wall. But you guys seem like you do it really, really well. You know, you have your successful business, you have a really great structure of priorities with your family as well, which is really lovely. And I think that's a lot. A lot of bookkeepers struggle with that balance.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  3:00 

Yeah, it's hard to maintain. But I mean, it's just about priorities, like you said, knowing what's more important, and then making sure you're putting your effort and your energy into those things. But while still reserving some for everything else.

 

Angie Martin  3:15 

Yeah, we absolutely love it. And the entire team loves working with you. There's certain templates that we've created that were like call centres gonna love this. We specifically think about you with certain ones and many automations that we find out for like, Oh, I need to we need to share this because

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  3:37 

I find that I have a bit of a shiny syndrome. Yeah, when something new comes along, and it looks like it's going to be useful and fun. So I have to give it a go.

 

Angie Martin  3:46 

Because you're good. You're good at the shiny syndrome, though you find it but then you actually do implement it.

 

Automation for a small business

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  3:52 

We do with a lot of things. Yeah. I think there was a point, just when I was coming on board was savvy at the beginning, where I just wasn't doing it. Well, though, I had a lot of different software's nothing, talk to each other. And if it did, it didn't do it in a good way. So it was a lot about looking at what we had, what we couldn't live without, and then how we can make them work together. So we do have a system that's not 100% workflow where it does it all automatically for us. So in the background, and that's on purpose. We don't necessarily want everything with the one company either. We don't want to have all the eggs in one basket. So we have made that decision to make some things a little bit more manual than they have to be, but on purpose to give that little bit of security to our back end.

 

Angie Martin  4:39 

Yeah. And to be honest, so to savvy, there's certain things that we could have 100% automated, but it's also nice to have that human touch that human point where you do just assess things a little bit just so you also know what's going on in the business. Yeah, because that's that's the thing with automation. Sometimes they're so successful that you actually lose a little bit?

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  5:03 

Yep, definitely, you've got to really be on top of that, because it sounds like it's gonna save you all this time. But if you're not still monitoring, it can cause more problems than Exactly.

 

Angie Martin  5:14 

Andthere's always with, you know, systems and automations, there's always a way to improve it. It's always, it's just like, you know, personal development, like who you are as a person, there's always room for a little bit of,

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  5:29 

yeah, it satisfies that shiny syndrome I have, because there's always room for growth, there's always room. And not everything's benefit. So sometimes it's fun to go in and have a look at programmes, see its benefits, see what it can do for someone else, and no one's there. But then be able to say, That's not me, I need to continue down different paths. And that's okay. Sometimes, like, it's actually really important, not just okay, it's something you need to know, everything, he tested an interview for that product, you don't have to say yes, you just that time investment is not wasted, that time investment is telling you that that is not the right fit for you. So you can then walk away and go, knowing you invested the time checking, but it's not going to work. So you know that your system is either great that you've got it's working, or in the future, you can keep an eye on that one, it might evolve into something you wanting. That's such a good point.

Software for bookkeepers to improve business process

 

Angie Martin  6:19 

And it's also for the industry that we're in, like Yes, for bookkeepers, but we're also business owners, and so other business owners tend to talk to other business owners. So it's nice to also know what's out there. And even though it might not have worked for you, the system that you looked into might work for someone else. So it's nice to be able to say all well, I use this, because I didn't go with this one for this reason, but that might work really well for you. And it's one of the reasons, you know, I love doing that as well with different systems or different, you know, marketing software's and everything. It's just because I don't personally use it doesn't mean it's bad. Yeah, kind of thing. So I love, I love how you do support your clients in a way that you have your systems all in place, you really do take that time with your team as well to really help them feel supported and feel like they're backed by you with the system's with. Okay, well, if this isn't working, okay, let me try and figure out another way of doing things.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  7:31 

Yeah, my them too. They're having a problem. Yeah. But want to look at what you would like to achieve, and then come to me with what you think should be happening. Like, don't just come to me with the problem, let me know what you'd like to see, then we can look better at and I say that to my clients, too. They'll say to me, I want to do this better. I'm like, Yeah, but what do you want to actually say, because better for you better. And I want to, because sometimes the software, they already have like zero, and they want to do something in particular, maybe it can do it, they just don't know. So it's not always about I want the software, because I've seen an ad for it. It's what outcome you're trying to achieve. And will this software actually do that for you. Because if it's not going to if it's just a fancy name singing lad, or someone else has mentioned to you, then your outcome still not going to be there. So even though you've gone with the software you want, you're not necessarily going to be happy, you can still having to fix those missing portion. So and I don't I don't like that patchwork too much like sometimes you need to have it, but that patchwork of systems and software's can actually cause more problems in the long run.

 

Angie Martin  8:39 

They definitely can. And that's one of the reasons why with sabby, we're always, you know, start at the beginning. So I know you want to do this, this and this awesome. But let's start the groundwork and start the beginning so that we can actually shape exactly what you need, not just what you want. I

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  8:59 

was laughing because when you say that testing group, or you've got all these fancy software's that you do, and I go grab a texture and a piece of paper, and I write down what outcomes I'm looking for first. And then I start drawing a map and I start scribbling. And I start before I even look at the computer and what software I'm actually scribbling down on my notes and drawing a picture of what I want to happen. And then I go and look at if that software can actually make my weed snake with a picture actually work in real life.

 

Angie Martin  9:27 

I love it so much. And that's the way it should because the thing with a lot of software's out there, especially for bookkeepers and virtual business owners is they all pretty much do around the same thing. They all you know a task management software is a task management software, a client relationship software as a client client relationship software and email marketing software as an email marketing software. What you need to figure out is what you need it to do and then narrow it down from there so that I love that you Do that. It's great. It's awesome. So as everyone can probably tell from just hearing you for a couple minutes is that you are very not knowledgeable in what you do. So I thought before we go any further, we should kind of talk a little bit about you and celebrate your journey to how you became a bookkeeper. Because, again, your background is different than everyone's and I actually really love your bookkeeping story. I think it's really great. So I was hoping you would share a little bit about it today.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  10:36 

Sure. So when I was a bit younger, I did joke about being an accountant. When I grew up, everyone was funny, like, what 12 year olds wants to be an accountant as they grow older. And then I was working in sales and retail sales with a telecommunication company. And then I met my husband. He wasn't married straight up. But his mother and his mother owned a bookkeeping business, she was actually studying to go to become an accountant at the same time, and she offered me a role with her. So I took that on. And then unfortunately, she felt quite ill. And needed someone to this is around the same time that best agents were created and had to be in the business to actually maintain that registration. So I quickly stopped everything I was doing, went to a community college and got my surfboard organised. I was actually at uni at the time that I dropped out and did the setup for so that I could take over the business and make sure that the registrations stay current with the hope that my mother in law would recover and be able to come back into the business. Unfortunately, she didn't. And when she passed away, we, my husband and I took over the business. And she was really great at looking at what new things were coming out and looking towards that future and wanting to do different automations and different software's which a lot of bookkeepers at the time that we were interacting with way to do that. Yeah. And then I took that one step further, like she would look at them, I was like, let's go do them implement these things. So we had a bit of a rebrand. Just recently, we changed the name business from ambi, solutions to bookkeeping, focusing just on the bookkeeping side of things on the automation on the different software's and systems that we could have in place. In amongst all of this and taking over the business and growing it. We had three of our four children, we already had one when it all started kicked off. And then just COVID hit last year. And that was when we went a little bit harder on all those automations we were home, we had kids with us, we were trying schooling school for kids. Yeah, that was great. We were stuck in a little house in New South Wales. And we just, we just weren't happy in that situation. So a lot of the automations that we brought in, in that period, were to allow us to have time with our kids to help them study to help them to grow during that period. But also to give us a little bit of, you know, peace of mind that we could spend some time together to because we were important. Yeah, we weren't leaving. But we were busier than we ever were. Like, we used to think that we were busy running kids to sport and running the business and doing all the client work. But then we were stuck at home we didn't have to run anywhere move busy them and get the painter I was there increased, we had job complete cash flow boost, we had all these different things happening. And then we had four children that were being homeschooled to in high school and two in primary school. So we set up a whole heap of automated email system so that they were going out and collecting information from our clients in relation to our job keeper. We had our software's that were collecting signatures and collecting information. And we were having all of that kind of work in the background with very little interaction for us, we come along and check the work, produce it and send it back off to be signed. And then in the background that would all just be working and happening so we could focus on family. And then those automations gave us a bit of peace of mind that we were like, well, if we can make us more productive drains really busy, hectic time, maybe we can actually bring on more clients build up the business a little bit more. And we're excited we're going to do that we were moving as well to a large house. And then that turned into moving to Queensland. So it meant while we're moving a lot of work was happening in the background with our automations with our software as our clients are still supported that still getting communication from us. But like I might have been in telling cancer with four kids and no internet access. He was sleeping on the floor and a house we've moved furniture like it having those automations and systems in the background really led us to do that. And now we're reassessing them and how they're working now that shopkeepers ending and we're looking at actually all about different business, all the BAS work, all the bookkeeping, all of everything. How can we now make that work in that area, and we're looking at that marketing side, which is not something we're very strong in but it's something we're starting to Look into one of your learning though you'reError! Hyperlink reference not valid.

 

Angie Martin  15:02 

really you guys are really learning and you're really doing leaps and bounds.

 

Small business automation tools to boost productivity

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  15:07 

Yeah, we are, we're trying to get that working. But that's the automation side of things that we're really working on at the moment. And one of my clients has got some really cool tools that he uses. So he's been great in discussing them with me, we head out to the river in our software world, and neither of us are really in those industries. So it's really fun to kind of have that common ground with the client. And he's like, Oh, look at how this is working. And I'm like, oh, look what I'm trying. So and that's what you need in business, do you need that support of other business owners to really make it happen? And then yeah, so we've got more time as a family, we're exploring a new area and the house, we get to spend time as a husband and wife without discussing work, which didn't happen in 2020. Yes. We still have some work all the time. So yeah, we really want to, we really use those automations in our business, and we want to try and have a fun, shoot them in there as well. And when I say automations, I don't just mean like, sending out emails, I mean, like receipt bank, for example, decks, where it's processing those receipts for us in the background, we're coming through checking them, then we're going into zero free books, whatever it is, we're using that day. And it's kind of there and happening, our job is to monitor and make sure it's accurate news, our experience and our knowledge to make sure that it's doing the right thing, or reviewing that work out. And then we still do our part, you know, still going in, and we're communicating with the clients and stuff like that. But there's lots of different automations for different things out there. And, yeah, it's great to give them a try and see how they work. Yeah,

 

Angie Martin  16:44 

there's so good. And, you know, like you said, you know, the automations aren't just all emails, there are different workflows and processes that you guys just have that work seamlessly together. So as you know, one person does the one thing, then it kind of very seamlessly moves on to the next step.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  17:01 

So one of my favourite automations that we have that's really been helping me a lot lately, is it's a combination of a couple of software's, but we use a coding software for new onboarding clients. Once we've, they've except that once they come to us, we do all our work to work out how much their quota is, we send that out to them. And then it's like following them up, it's reminding them about the code, it's checking in on them to see if they have any questions. I'm not doing that, like I see the responses, but I'm not doing that side of it. And then once they except there's a Hey, how you doing welcome me now, but it's not loom video is embedded into it, which is showing them the next step. So I'm not having to reach and be like, you're all the next step is to do what you need to do. Then it's collecting that information and bringing it through to me. So I can still give them a call and say welcome time doing. But in the background, without automation, they have already submitted through all that information, we need to set up a user and file all that information, we need to contact their accountant, we're not having to get on the phone and ask for that when they might be busy doing other things, kind of making their life a little bit easier. Because it's at a time convenient for them. They can reply to that email or click the links and do the things that need to happen. And then we can pick it up and run with it. And it's reminding them as well like, it's like, Hey, you signed up, we see that welcome. We're so happy to see you, we've noticed you have an interest, invited us into your software. Let's here's a video to help you do that. Here's a couple of steps. I'm also a big believer in giving them options. So I want that automation there with the video. But that might not be how they learn or work, they might want the step. So I've also got that underneath. Here's five steps to do that, you know, summarised in the booklet here. So that kind of has made our onboarding so much easier. We're not chasing paperwork, we're not emailing back and forth, all that time now is being done by the software, not by us. And we're just doing the work like the actual work to get that software up and running. And then move the client into our regular bookkeeping. That's what we're doing is a setup, not a regular bookkeeping. So yeah, same as last time, it is more efficient, because we're not chasing so much. I mean, we're always going to chase clients.

 

There's already been two or three follow ups before we even get our manually doing it. So that's that's much easier for all of us

 

Angie Martin  19:20 

now, and it's such a great way. A couple months ago, Mike and I did an onboarding podcast series where we were talking about how it really having a really successful onboarding process, you're able to really set the tone of the business in the client experience. And by having those videos it's just so good.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  19:43 

I think a lot of bookkeepers don't set expectations with their clients. I think a lot of business owners don't set expectations. Yeah, we work a lot with trainees and they're actually really good at it. They don't seem like they can come up with the graph that can be a little bit short, but they are great at setting expectation. They'll not they'll quit you They'll be like, Oh, it's gonna be a week or two, like do not think that it's gonna be soon, they know straight up, set that expectation with the client. And I feel like a little bit like we can do all these amazing things, but then aren't setting parameters about how that works. And they're not setting the parameters about how to communicate with each other as well. Like, we used to have a hold of the client, one client reached out to me via messenger one time and I'm like, No, no, that might be convenient for you. But that is not our expectation, we're not going to work that way. You're not going to see me online and stuff, bothering me at nine o'clock at night, like it's, it's fine to send me an email at nine o'clock at night, I'll come back to you in the morning, or if I'm working on my request right away, but we have to set those expectations in that very initial point. Not be mad later, when the client is not meeting expectations that we haven't shared with them.

 

Angie Martin  20:46 

Yeah, no, I love it. And it's such, you're right. You know, it's such a thing that business owners in general, need to work on that as well. Because unless you tell someone, this is what you're expecting, how are they going to know?

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  21:01 

Yeah, and common sense ain't common, like you might play. Nine o'clock at night to message someone on messenger on their private Facebook is fine. But that's not how we advertise. It's not connected to the business like that is not okay with me. And I didn't share that expectation with the client. So really, it's on me, not on him that he thought was okay to reach out that way. So, yeah, really, you don't have to be like, we will do this, we will do that here is 17 points on how we expect you to act. But really making sure that part of the conversation in the early days, if you want to get in contact with us, these are the methods and this is what you'll expect from us. Make it like a friendly charter with them, not a

 

Angie Martin  21:42 

  1. And you're right. You know, it works really well. And it really goes in I love on your website on your about us because I was on your website today, because I like it. It's adorable for anyone who wants to check out her website, Sara's website, because her last name is Bishop, there's little bishops all over the world. Oh, the test pieces are just adorable. But on your About Us page, you have your values, that your top three values of the business. And I think it is a really, really successful way of communicating kind of, you know, what you're expecting from your clients and what they should expect from you. And just for everyone to know who isn't on her website right now. I wanted to you know, you have said it, because it is so true to you is that, you know, her values are family quality and trust. And by creating the onboarding system, you can really put that forward really, really strongly. It's like you've done it really, really well. And when we were doing the mentoring, for their whole concept of the business and everything like you, you nailed it right away. And it was one of those things that we almost didn't need you to do the values exercise, because we already knew it was kind of just the confirmation.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  23:11 

That's right. But it is good to go through that exercise. Because even maybe the top three. For me, I kind of had a good idea straightaway what I wanted up there. But it was interesting to see which ones I was moving out of her way to the top, because that that really made you think about why you're moving those other ones inside my room bringing them up. But it was also a really interesting discussion to have with my husband. Because we had done that exercise in the past for ENB solutions before we've decided to start vicious. And the answers were different. And it because you change, we change but also because when we come together and we discuss a word for example, like a value that we have, it meant different things to either of us. I think trust was one of the ones where we kind of got a little bit like a lack of trust. But trust me this mean, trust means this to me. And like it was this umbrella term for other qualities and other values that we had. And it really worked well. But it was a very interesting experiment to have someone that you're in business with, just to understand what they were thinking like, would but the definition for both of us is different. It's similar, but it's different. Like I was putting different meaning into other parts of it the pudding from other parts of it and it was really interesting experiment to go through with him. And understand Yes, we both agree on things. And we agree on them for different reasons. But together they do work still.

 

Angie Martin  24:37 

Yeah, and I think that's what makes your business so successful is that you two are very successful, successful and you're very intelligent and just really on it separately. And then when you work together, it's just a really great combination. And, you know, over these last few months, moving to Queensland, it was Adventure itself took a couple months and all up.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  25:05 

We had a lot of restrictions when we moved, so we couldn't just Yes.

 

Business process automation and software to increase efficiency

 

Angie Martin  25:09 

Yeah, it was it was a journey. Let's say it was a journey. Yes. And you know, your automations were right there. But I think what really got you guys through was how well you work together. You know, and again, that's because your family business, how you work together in the business and as partners in the family, which can be really difficult. And I know, a lot of our listeners are actually wanting to do the same thing that you guys are doing or already have successful businesses, and they want to bring in their partner. And, you know, when you do work with your partner, there's always some unique challenges, especially as bookkeepers. And you know, it's one of those things that because you have your systems all in place really well, and you have your team really successfully set up. I thought it would be kind of interesting to share what some unique challenges that you have. Or even just, they don't have to be challenges, opportunities that you have,

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  26:15 

I'll go with the challenge brush, just because there is one that really stands out to me. Yeah. When you're in business by yourself. So Anthony, was always in the background of the business. But he wasn't always participating in it. He actually joined me after his mother stepped away from the business. Yeah, he was still in both, but was ill. So he's killed off from him. And during me, it was really hard to remove that I'm doing everything, like my ID beside you, because I decided Yes. And then he would just kind of being an employee. That's what he was, he was just an employee to me. And I wasn't giving him we weren't having those in depth discussions about how we could work together better. We weren't looking at, we were in our family, but we weren't in the business. We weren't, I wasn't incorporating him. And I was kind of like, I'm the boss children play. This is how it works. And when we actually started to be more successful as when we looked at each other's strengths and went, No, you know what we're in this together. All of our income, this is all about livelihood, we need to have a discussion about what you're good at what I'm good at, and bringing that together.

 

Angie Martin  27:18 

And also having a breakdown of your actual roles. so important. Yeah, you guys are really good at breaking

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  27:23 

down roles. And like Anthony is not great at the certain aspects that I'm really good, I'm great at talking, I could talk your ear off all day, it's good when you said, let's do a podcast, it's like put a time on it. Whereas hate that's not his strong suit. But oh my god, if you have a problem of itself, you give it to that man. And he has sorted it out in two and a half minutes. And then he's made your dragon graph. And he's done six other things that you didn't ask for that you didn't know you needed. But communion. Like he is amazing at that side of things. And his client relationship management is amazing compared to mine, like I could sell you ice to an Eskimo. But that that maintaining of the relationship afterwards, I'm good if they make noise, but necessary, quiet clients that are happy, I just forget they exist. Sometimes like, I know that there, don't get me wrong, but I see, you're reaching out to them. That's fine, I'm going to leave them alone. Whereas Anthony's approach is very different. He'll be like, they're happy, great. Let's have a chat with them and see how they're doing today. And I just don't have that thought he does. He's really good at that side of the business. He's good at maintaining those relationships, keeping the clients on board. And so what we did was we looked at those areas, and we know those things. So instead of just knowing them, we have to put down my role is to, to do the sales to do the onboarding, to look at the automations to do you know, actual people. He's great at you know, making sure our existing clients are happy checking in on them, seeing how they're going. He's great at doing the actual production work, and then working out faster ways to do things, and implementing them. And he used to work in change management before he came to work for me. So he's, I'm really good at going out and finding what I want. He's really good at working on hands actually going to work and how we get there. So and knowing those things, we can give ourselves roles. And we can say this is your role. This is my role. And we can come to each other with issues where we are the lap, but we're not quite sure. But we're not stepping on each other's toes either. And there's not what again, it comes back to setting expectations. We're setting expectations with each other on what we should come and talk to each other about. And like a lot of the time people come to me with questions that are that are bookkeeping related. And that's great. My staff will come to me with those things. And that's something that I'm strong, but then I often go to him with software questions. And then we so it's good. It's really important that you define what each other are doing and don't trying to step on each other's toes and there's no power imbalance like it's not I'm in charge of him. He's in charge of me. It's in your area, I'm in charge of beats. But in the business with partners, we can work it out together. Yeah,

 

Angie Martin  30:07 

I love it. And it works really well in coming from someone who also works very closely with their partner and another business, I definitely get how to stepping on each other's toes can be very difficult sometimes,

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  30:20 

It was a short period with that was made very sulphate,

 

Angie Martin  30:23 

hey, yes, and it can kind of sometimes linger where the problem is fixed. But the memory is still there

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  30:31 

Yeah, that want to build that resentment, I think that's another Yes. In a family business, not just in a partnership with your actual partner. But in a family business. Resentment is something that can really grow and fester. And we see that with our clients, because a lot of our clients are in business as well, working with sisters, cousins, mothers, brothers, whatever, maybe. And the ones that do well really do define their expectations with each other are they told that communicate the query or something makes them unhappy that aren't screaming shatter batter on a Sunday night, they actually come to the table and discuss it during work hours, look for what during work hours with each other, and they might document it to some of them are really good at documenting their issues, not because of a lighter, you can be like I told you this on the sixth of the seven. But more we've already had this discussion. And last time we agreed to do this, do you think that that's not working? How can we work around it? Like how is this issue still coming up? Like a real business without family members would do? Because

 

Angie Martin  31:30 

I was just gonna say you treat them still like business people like, like still like your team?

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  31:36 

That's right. That's right, the family stuff still comes into the business and the business stuff still goes out and family, it's just the way it's going to be. But knowing when to deal with issues and where to deal with them is probably really important.

 

Angie Martin  31:49 

Yeah, no, and you guys are doing that really well. You know, like we've mentioned, you've just moved up to Queensland, you are getting used to kind of the Queen Queensland culture and atmosphere. And unfortunately, we've had like weeks of rain. It's been crazy. But you know, you guys are still doing really well, at getting back in once the move is over getting back into the work kind of side of things. And I thought it would be really great just to talk about the opportunity, let's say opportunity, this time about learning, you know, once you know your job positions between the two of you, learning when to talk about business, and not to talk about business, because you didn't mention that. But that's a very big thing when working with family is you need to be able to turn off. So

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  32:49 

I remember actually just quickly where our turning point was, we were at karate with one of my kids doing an ornament. And something struck me that I remembered from work. And I felt like I had to tell him immediately, like it had to be discussed. And I remember sitting there with him and he was cool. He was talking to me about it. And then one of the kids was like, Did you just see what Vanessa did? Did you just say that mom? And I was like, No, I didn't. And that was not enough time that was family time and paying better attention to what she was achieving. And that was kind of a turning point for how we would communicate about the business. And I really want anyone else that's in business, don't get there. Because don't have that guilt. Try and think about when you can talk about you know what, sometimes we do talk about or we do not and sometimes the kids get involved.

 

Angie Martin  33:33 

I know I love your kids, they're adorable.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  33:36 

Especially marketing stuff. My eldest one has lots of ideas in that area. And she's, you know, she probably has a better idea than me for taking pictures if we DIY stuff, and colours and things like that, like, and she's you know, Gen Z. So she's gonna have a different opinion to me on what I'm saying. So we do involve them in the business, we do let them know that things are happening, and we will talk about it around them. But it can't be the central motivator. So after a certain point at night, we just don't discuss business anymore unless you know, something radically was happens but kind of like no, this is family time. We try not to do it when we're doing sports. We try not to talk about it when we're doing, you know, a family activity together on visiting family and friends. Because really, that's you work to live not live to work. And we've got to make sure that we're having some sort of balance between the two and yes, it is our whole livelihood. But it's not my life. It's my life. Why are we doing it? If it's, if it's only if there's nothing else. That's why we're doing it. So it gives us a real opportunity to like, narrow down when we're going to do work when we're going to talk about work. What days we're going to be constantly You know, sometimes we do work on a Saturday or Sunday and that's okay because we haven't planned other things for those day and then some

 

Angie Martin  34:54 

Sundays during the week. You might not do a full day or you might not work at all I know that happens with my partner He owns his own business. So it's like all work all weekend, and then I'll take Tuesday off.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  35:04 

Yeah. And I love to train at the gym. So I might leave early one day a week and go do weight classes or whatever else I'm doing, and have that social aspect. And not have any work at all. Not even being with Anthony or the kids but be by myself but not be worried. It's

 

Angie Martin  35:18 

also very important when you when you work in live, because you guys both work from home now as well. When you work in live with the same people, you need to prioritise your me time. Yeah.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  35:33 

It doesn't have to be something elaborate, maybe, like, do something quiet for yourself. But oh,

 

Angie Martin  35:39 

yeah, I'm one of those people that sometimes I go to bed an hour early. And it's like, I'm just going to go and read, I'm not going to sleep, I'm just going to read

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  35:50 

a couple of pods lately, and that's like a password. But it's actually something that I like to do. I

 

Angie Martin  35:55 

really like folding, yeah, folding,

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  35:58 

I find it fairly like homemade, don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy it all the time. Every so often, you know, it's nice to do that, I suppose on my part and make it look nice and happy. And especially in an industry when nothing has ever been like, often you're on to the next. Sometimes it's really nice in your home life to have a project where you can start it. There is a defined beginning, middle and end and it is done. And you walk away and it's finished. And sometimes it's important to have that in life too. That can be part of the meantime, it can be a good reset for your brain to be like Okay, the next. The next thing is true estimating. Sometimes we just need a task that can be completed.

 

Angie Martin  36:38 

I'm really big for having that task list and then checking something off. It feels amazing. Doesn't it? Love it? Love it. So I would love so I always ask anytime someone comes on the show. I always like to ask What is your favourite thing about bookkeeping? And why? Because you you like you, I would say you're one of our members that are a master bookkeeper, you're really good at what you do. You love what you do. you're passionate about what you do. So I'd love to know, what's your favourite?

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  37:19 

my absolute favourite. And I know this will sound funny. It's being a detective. You get to go into these businesses and you especially new clients, even sometimes existing on chip, no idea why they're doing the things they're doing. You might have had a discussion with them, but come on, you're not familiar with it, and just learning their business and working out I think it's very kind of understanding why they've done a certain thing and how they've done it. I just really love that, that that's my joy that I get from bookkeeping, when someone brings me a mess. That's when I'm happy. I'm like, yeah, how do we go? Well, what does it look like?

 

Angie Martin  37:54 

It's like on time, that big ball of knots – where does it end.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  37:59 

And then you find out that the bank account, you never even knew about it first year, no. And then you get to piece it all together. Like a puzzle. It's those sort of things as what I really, really love. But I also really love talking to the client getting to know their business, and then them understanding their business a bit better. Because we bring a different perspective to the client, they understand the production side, they understand their reason for doing it, but they're not always fully on top of how it's going, why it's not getting to where they want straight away. And we have those numbers and especially for me detangle the mess, because if it's not a mess, the client has an idea, clear that picture up, you can even clean that glass and let them see through it. But when the curtains are drawn, and it's all dark, and that constant anything at all, you get to move all that out of the way, and give them a better idea of how their business is performing numbers and graphs and war figures. So they might know they had a good year. But do they know how good they was doing was compared to last year. So that's what I love. I love being a detective. And then I love presenting those findings to the client and giving them a different perspective on their own business on their own baby, so that they can understand how it's actually going, what they want to achieve. And if it's actually going to be able to do that sometimes, too, you get to see them pivot, because they think they're going a certain way and you do all the numbers and you go, actually this arm of the business is real profitable. It's working really well. Let's, let's do that one instead. And that's why it's fun to watch them, take their businesses and do things with them. And it's also sometimes interesting to watch people that are quite satisfied with their business at a certain level that's working well. It's doing what they want to do. And just being able to provide them with the information to say that they're, they're happy, it's working. It's good. Life is good. Not everything is always about getting bigger, doing more. Sometimes it's that sustaining and doing well. So

 

Angie Martin  39:55 

it's about standing and still enjoying.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  39:58 

Yes, that's right. Having that good mental How far we're doing it. That's that's the sort of things that I love to do, I love to take on those roles of like, you know, uncovering what's going on and then presenting it to them. And then having that discussion and getting to know them, that's, that's the side that I enjoy.

 

Angie Martin  40:16 

Now, and you're really good at it. I know, when we do our Ask savvy sessions, or co working sessions in the membership, you're always the reason why I thought of you to do this podcast is because you're always so knowledgeable about all of you know, the communication with the clients, like you said, actually presenting the information to them. And it's just you can hear the passion coming out

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  40:46  

in you. Yeah, I do love that side. That's really my passion for it. And then again, I don't keep saying it. But when you're presenting to the client, it doesn't always mean a piece of paper with lots of numbers on it, I think that's something I enjoy, is giving it to them in a way that they can understand like somebody sometimes do not that that that means that means we'll be in Gaelic or old Latin or something, it means nothing to them. So making sure that you understand what their expectations are to receive the information. And if they say to you, they're not interested in it, maybe they're not interested in it in black and white with numbers on a piece of paper, you need to make it, you need to make it interesting, you need to make it something that they understand and get excited about. Yeah, and sometimes that's just the fun working out how their brain works to understand it can be really interesting. I think I mentioned we deal with our family. But we also joke a lot of tradies. And giving them a piece of paper with lots of numbers on it, some of them get great. Either some of them they do, right that you put in the minutes means nothing to them. So how you communicate with them might be your turnover this month. And it's just like, I know one of my oldest clients who I get along with really well, he's really good at his business, he is not interested in that piece of paper, he wants three or four main things off that paper. That is what he's focused on. And once a couple of percentages. So there is no printed out report that we sent him because he's not going to look at it. He's not interested. But his expectation is a text message once a month, that tells him a few things, those four or five key points with him, or how he grows his business and works in it and how he makes it work. If he wants more detailed stuff, he says to me, I'll just come to you and you tell me the thing I want when I want it. But everything else he wants on a monthly basis in a text and that really works well for him. So yeah, it's it's learning how they want the information and presenting it to them, and then seeing what they do with it. It's really fun.

 

Angie Martin  42:35 

Now, and like I said, You are great at that. And, you know, I love that you kind of do the combination of communicating them on SMS text messages, on email, and on the phone, depending on what suits them best. Because you're right, certain certain, it's not just all tradies like certain business owners, you are never going to get on the phone.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  43:00 

I mean, I personally am terrible with it. The answering the phone thing, if I'm doing client work, I'm doing the client, whatever boy back. But um, yeah, it's you know, we've got older clients, we've got one client, he's threatened to retire. And before I took over the business, ladies now and he's like, the piece of really clever businessman, he's really good at what he does. But if you send him an email, he's not looking at, if you text him, he's not texting you back. You have to call and chat with him and you need to do it at a time that's convenient. So knowing that makes our working relationship with him better, and him knowing that we take that into consideration builds that relationship that a week, because he knows he can, he can communicate with us in the way that makes him feel comfortable. Then some of our clients like I was just talking about the last one, you know, millennial guys on the go, or he might be on a roof and you might be in a hole, you know, he's trading, he's knows what he's doing. He's not waking up. Looking at that phone, there is no convenient time each week where he will be available to pick up the phone to texting him, and he can look at it when he's ready. He can and he wants short, sharp information. And that brings value to him. Like sometimes that would be terrible, they would not see any value, want their reports. But for him short, sharp information that I understand is tailored to him. That's value. It might take me a minute to put together but that's valuable to him, and he'll appreciate that. And he said to me in the past, that's why he's never even considered changing bookkeepers because he knows that I understand what he wants. And that I'm looking at him and I'm doing in a way that he wants to know

 

Angie Martin  44:33 

and that's also why we haven't even mentioned but that's how you've kind of built your businesses and I'm saying businesses cuz

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  44:41 

really still having envy. It's still helping what Yeah, I'm like focusing on patience and building it up. And yeah,

 

Angie Martin  44:49 

that is Yeah, that's how you've grown the business is that you do know your clients so well, that they love working with you. So then they refer you

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  44:58 

and that's part of why we we've started Google marketing because we, our business is 21 years old, so not with me, but I've been here, I don't even know how old My son is 13. So 13 years is how long I've been working in the business. And then part of that I've been in charge. So marketing has never been a strong point, we haven't really needed to push hard for clients. In the past, everything worked a little bit more closely, everyone talked to each other. And a lot of our business still comes from referrals, because we do things that our clients or we make sure that they're happy, and then they tell other people, and that's how our business grew to what it is now. But now that we're looking at working in a different model with more online clients, that's why we're starting to try and market and learn how to do that. And then even with our marketing, we're trying to tailor it so that it's going to be specific to our target audience that it's going to meet their needs. And that it kind of conveys that idea that we want them to be happy. We want to work with them on both our terms. Yes, tick a box, then move the work. So yeah, that's, that's kind of important to us as using all those different methods to suit the client. And I'm still experimenting with automations. And software's to make that a little bit cleaner.

 

Angie Martin  46:12 

No, I love it. You're you guys are doing so well at what you do. You're really you really have to organise. So my last question is what's next for you and bishops, bookkeeping solutions, what's next, you know, besides your marketing, what,

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  46:32 

oh, we just want to bring on more clients to be able to help them move for their work in a easier way, like we want to, to, we want to use the automations you have in place, we want to use all these softwares we have, and we just want to be able to make other people's lives easier with it, we want to be able to get that rush that I get from going through any work and cleaning it out. And then we want to give them that consistent, reliable quality work that they can, you know, that they know, is beneficial to them. We don't just want to tick boxes and do compliance, we want to make sure that they're happy and you're getting along the way. Oh,

 

Angie Martin  47:08 

I love it. This has been so good. I think quite a few people have learned a lot from what you've been chatting about today. And like I said, we just love working with you. And it's this passion that no one can see Sarah right now, but we're doing a zoom call to do this podcast. And just to see her talk about it. It there is a lot of passion. And I think that's what sets a lot of bookkeepers apart is that so many bookkeepers are so passionate about what they do. And it's lovely to see how you're passionate about the entire encompass of the business, you know, from the automations to the rescue jobs where you have to be a detective to the ongoing client, you know, relationships. And it's that whole package that because you're passionate, but you know, almost every step of the way it creates that business where it really is about the family, the quality and the trust, which is perfect for your marketing. It's. So no, thank you so much for joining us today.

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  48:20 

And thank you so much for all the support over the last few years as well, like, I'm a part of doing well in businesses knowing where you're not doing well in business. And sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. So it's been really helpful to have someone not pointed out but be able to let me see and work on it and improve it.

 

Angie Martin  48:37 

No. And we we love being able to work on you on the things that you know, you might not be the best at. I know, I think pretty much everyone on the teams work with you at some point or another. And you're just one of the ones that you actually do take on what we suggest. And then you do it in your own way. So you make it your own, which is so lovely to see. And, you know, you really learn and grow, which is

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  49:07 

what I love doing. We all want to what we all should be trying to learn and grow.

 

Angie Martin  49:11 

Yeah, we love it so much. So anyone who wants to learn more about Sarah and bishops, bookkeeping solutions, please feel free to go to the savvy bookkeeper.com to au to this podcast in our podcast notes. We're going to have all of the links for Sarah. So we're going to have her LinkedIn page, the Facebook page, we're going to have the website so you can go through and take a peek at all of her adorable little logos and everything because it the branding for bishops is just

 

Sarah-Jane Bishop  49:45 

we try to be cute and fun. It's cute.

 

Angie Martin  49:47 

It's fun. It's rememberable, which is really important for online businesses and it's definitely something that I think everyone will be able to learn from as well. Cuz you really do come through in your marketing. Thank you. No, thank you so much for joining us. And, as always guys stay Safe, Sane and Savvy! Bye!

 

We hope you enjoyed this podcast about   !

 

Looking to connect?

If you are a Bookkeeper who otherwise needs help with Savvy's other services, such as; Sales, Marketing, Website, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Business Logo and more, please get in contact.