Going Virtual: TFB Spotlight on Cindy Hovig

tfb-star-spotlightAre you thinking about going virtual with your bookkeeping business? Have you been wondering how best to make the transition… and how to get your existing clients to buy into the idea?

This TFB Spotlight interview can help!

Cindy Hovig of Beyond Balanced Books, Inc. starts from the beginning with a home-based, part-time business and shows you how she has grown her bookkeeping practice gradually over the years. But her business really started to take off when she moved toward virtual services.

Here's her story. You'll hear exactly how she did it and how you can grow your bookkeeping business more quickly and take the leap toward going virtual with your bookkeeping business sooner with success the way you want it.

Would you rather listen on the go? Right Click Here to Download the Audio  (40 mins)

Guest Bio:

Cindy Hovig is a Xero bookkeeper in Silicon Valley and was named the “Xero Bookkeeping Partner of the Year 2016.” She runs a 100% paperless and cloud-based bookkeeping business, Beyond Balanced Books, Inc.

Cindy fell in love with accounting when she took her first bookkeeping class in school. She founded her business as a freelancer in 1990 working from home as a part-time bookkeeper with two small children at home. Since then she has traveled the path to building a virtual team and serving small to medium sized service business clients, providing her services using cloud-based technology for personal, collaborative results her clients love.

Interview Highlights

Biggest challenge when starting out: Confidence and getting the first few clients

Cindy wished she knew earlier about how to charge for her services.

Book Recommendation: The E-Myth Bookkeeper – Cindy found this book very helpful when she took the leap, after 20 years, to move from solo to hiring staff.

When first starting out, Cindy traveled to her clients' offices, as many traditional bookkeepers still do. When she switched to hosted QuickBooks, she was able to start transitioning her business to virtual services. Her staff is all virtual now too.

In this interview, Cindy shares her technique for dealing with clients who are resistant to accepting virtual bookkeeping services that has been very successful.

She also shared her journey from QuickBooks to Xero and why she made the switch.

Regarding bookkeeping software, Cindy's philosophy is to pick one, and get really, really good at it, instead of trying to support, and keep up with, several programs simultaneously.

Software tools Cindy uses:

  • Xero
  • QuickBooks Hosting
  • Hubdoc – document fetching (integrates with Xero)
  • Zoom – online meetings
  • Aero Workflow – project / practice management
  • Gmail – shared calendar (with staff)
  • Practice Ignition – onboarding new clients

Her first conference was the first SleeterCon (now Accountex) in Florida about 13 years ago! She found it a big help to find “her people” and share support and resources with colleagues.

If she started again from scratch today, Cindy would definitely work virtually and she'd also offer packaged services. She'd document all her procedures, even if she had no plans to work beyond solo. She'd also track clients' service needs as they changed to make sure pricing stays in line with what is being provided.

Cindy even shared a valuable tip on how to handle clients' annual contracts efficiently so you never fall victim to scope creep and how to assure you're being paid in a win-win way with flat fees.

She sees the future of our profession moving more toward being champions of helping our clients get the real value from their financial records to manage their businesses more effectively.

You can find Cindy at Beyond Balanced Books, Inc.

Can you relate to Cindy's journey? What was your best takeaway from her story?

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Freelance bookkeeper, trainer and consultant who works with internet savvy business owners and bookkeeping professionals to maximize cash flow and build true win-win relationships.

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5 Responses to “Going Virtual: TFB Spotlight on Cindy Hovig”

  • Ann Lee on February 11, 2017

    Hi Cindy and Gabrielle,

    I have forwarded this to my remote bookkeeper who is in the process of starting her own practice. I think this will inform and encourage her, without being overwhelming.

    Cindy, you and I have visited many times at the conferences, starting with that first one in Boca. I am so glad to hear that your business is both changing and thriving.

    • Gabrielle on February 14, 2017

      Thanks for sharing the interview, Ann! That was very thoughtful of you to everyone involved. 🙂

    • Cindy Hovig on February 15, 2017

      Hi Ann!

      Thanks for the positive words! So happy to have met you and so many others of “my people” at the various conferences throughout the years. I hope we will meet up at another conference in the near future.

      This is an exciting time to be a bookkeeper.

      ~CH

  • Mike on February 12, 2017

    Thanks for sharing your journey and the valuable insights your learned on the way.

    • Cindy Hovig on February 15, 2017

      Thanks Mike! I have appreciated so much when others have shared with me. We truly do not need to reinvent the wheel each time but can learn so much from each other.

      ~CH

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