Who Should You Trust With Your Bookkeeping? 

I’m Crystal Stapleton, the owner of Balanced Books, LLP.  I’ve been in the accounting industry since 2000 and I’ve done many things in my career, such as tax preparation, financial statement reviews, project analysis, budget analysis, and managing bookkeeping for many successful businesses.  I’ve worked in enough environments to know that I absolutely love bookkeeping and have a passion for financial accuracy and helping small business owners / managers understand their financial situations.  I am truly thankful for the 14 years of accounting experience that I gained while working for amazing employers.  I took a leap of faith in 2014 and founded Balanced Books.  I was ready to follow my passion to help small business owners succeed!  What I immediately discovered after starting this business was the need for affordable and accurate bookkeeping services in our local community.  To this day, I am still in shock over the number of small business owners reaching out for assistance and I am fully committed to help anyone who has questions or needs guidance.  My husband always says that I am the only one surprised by my success.  However I am only successful because of my amazing clients (and the loving support of my husband).

Now that we’ve been in business for nearly 4 years, I have a lot of useful information to share with the small business community, such as how to avoid bookkeeping mistakes, how to use QBO efficiently, and things to know before starting a company or starting payroll.  That being said, I want small business owners to trust the advice being provided and reach out with questions.  It is hard to build trust with a blog or with someone you’ve never met, so this is my attempt to tell you who I am and why I am qualified to provide bookkeeping advice.

1. Licensed CPA: I am a licensed CPA (since 2006).  To become licensed in the state of California, you are required to work under a CPA for a year to prove competency.  Subsequent to obtaining a CPA license, you are required to take continuing education classes each year to ensure that you are up-to-speed with accounting changes (80 hours every two years).  Why does this matter?  Well, there are rules and regulations that I must follow to maintain my license.  In addition, I have completed many hours of training to get where I am at today.  It is important to choose a bookkeeper with the right knowledge and experience!

2. Higher Education: I obtained an MBA degree from California State University, Stanislaus in 2012. Yes, more training, more knowledge, more experience.

3. QuickBooks Guru: I am a QuickBooks ProAdvisor and I am QuickBooks Certified.  What does this mean?  QuickBooks is a powerful tool and has lots of layers of complexity (inventory, manufacturing, classes) and I know it extremely well.  I am a certified expert in QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, and QuickBooks Enterprise.  To become QuickBooks certified, you are required to pass several tests which test your knowledge of various complex topics.  To read more about my ProAdvisor status, check out my profile here: https://proadvisor.intuit.com/app/accountant/search?searchId=crystal-stapleton

4. Broad Experience: As I previously mentioned, I have been fortunate enough to hold several key positions that have shaped my career, such as Staff Accountant, Plant Accountant, Accounting Supervisor, Accounting Manager, Financial Systems Analyst, and Finance Analyst. It is important to note that I have worked in both public and private practice, which means that I know what it’s like to work ‘in the weeds’ as well as taking a step back to see the ‘big picture’.  These experiences have taught me how to run the numbers, what to look for, how to spot irregularities, and how to celebrate financial victories!

5. Project Management: Throughout my career, I’ve had to manage projects – some small and some big, but nothing compares to managing the ‘onboarding’ of new Balanced Books clients. It brings me so much joy to see the relief we give each new client that walks through our doors. We know every client is different, so we focus on identifying current concerns, offering solutions, planning the appropriate course of action, and implementing with precision.  Nothing makes us happier!!  After the ‘onboarding’ process is successfully completed, our clients move into our bookkeeping maintenance phase.  Typically, clients choose our monthly bookkeeping package, which includes recording transactions, reconciling accounts, proofing the numbers, and offering the client a financial statement for review.  Balanced Books becomes a resource for clients – someone to bounce ideas off of or someone to consult with on a new business venture.

6. Continuous Process Improvement: I am a firm believer that there is ALWAYS room for improvement! I am extremely good at identifying a gap in the process or a process that just isn’t working the way it should.  I am all about creating focus and driving for results.  The Balanced Books team is REALLY excited to have recently completed our first round of the 12 Week Year (written by Brian Moran & Michael Lennington).  If you haven’t heard of this book, you must read it!  In a nutshell, it is all about getting more done in 12 weeks than most people do in 12 months.  It is an eye opener!  This philosophy has become the inner workings of our company.  I am so proud of my team and what we’ve accomplished in the first round of our 12 Week Year.

7. Trusted Business Partners: I have great business connections (all thanks to BNI – Business Networking International). Do you need a small business loan, line of credit or business credit card?  I know someone who can help with that!  Do you need an insurance quote?  I know someone who can help with that!  Do you think you are getting ripped off by your merchant service provider?  I know someone who can help with that!  The list goes on and on.  My point?  If you are operating a small business, sometimes you just need help, but maybe you don’t know where to turn.  Too busy to deal with making the connection to get help?  That’s okay too!  We’ll do whatever we can to make the transition easiest on you!  The best part is that we’ve vetted these people for you – we work with them every day and know that they are the best at what they do!

8. I’m Awesome: Apparently, it is getting easier to brag about myself. Just kidding.  These are some of the words clients/business partners have used in the past to describe me and/or my work ethic: Non-threatening, confident, trustworthy, outspoken, good at follow through, analytical, efficient, accurate, and knowledgeable.  These are just a few.  One person did say ‘fussy’, but I’m ignoring him.  Every accountant needs to be fussy at some point!

Well, that’s my career in a nutshell.  On a personal note, I have been married to Sean Stapleton (small business owner – A Home Sweet Home Inspection) for 8 years and together we have two amazing children, Cadence (5yr) and Colin (3yr).  We love travelling (yes, with the kids) and we get so much joy out of seeing the world through the eyes of our children!

As always, our goal at Balanced Books is to eliminate the everyday stress of bookkeeping, so that the small business owner can fulfill their dreams!  Does your business need some bookkeeping love?  Contact us today!