Lisa Martin and Tania Hayes see bookkeeping as a skilled profession that promises a high-flying career
• Many people believe bookkeepers just have to be a bit good with numbers.
• In many SME businesses, the role of bookkeeper will fall to the business owner, a family member or someone in the office admin team.
• Typically, these people have not had any training and do not hold a professional bookkeeping qualification.
• Their bookkeeping tasks often involve the complexities of payroll, HR administration, invoicing, GST returns, tax preparation as well as profit/loss projections. Much of this work must comply with legal requirements.
• Without on-going professional development bookkeepers will make mistakes.
In 2005, Lisa Martin decided it was time to help businesses with their bookkeeping obligations. Working as a fully qualified Bookkeeper herself, Lisa had already spent several years watching companies struggle with bookkeeping tasks.
She saw that the problem was two-fold:
1) Bookkeeping as a profession was not being taken seriously. Instead, it was being viewed as an unskilled occupation that anyone could do.
2) There was a lack of training and professional development for Bookkeepers, which meant companies were finding themselves with inaccurate accounts and out-of-date ledgers.
Lisa knew that shifting the perception of the role of Bookkeepers was going to take time; but she also knew that she could not let companies continue down the potentially law-breaking path of leaving financial administration in the hands of untrained staff. Armed with a passion for accounting, a penchant for excellent customer service and a mantra of ‘because you didn’t go into business to be a Bookkeeper, but I did’, Lisa launched GoFi8ure.
Her clients called her a superhero – racing to their rescue; saving them from financial disaster. Lisa took this as a branding idea and – flew with it.
In 2010, GoFi8ure helped launch the Bookkeepers Association (NZBAI) – a national forum for bookkeepers offering help and guidance, professional development and an accreditation programme. The NBAI teamed up with the Career Academy to create the Certificate in Bookkeeping.
In 2015, GoFi8ure merged with Hutt Valley firm, ActiveAdmin and Tania Hayes (ActiveAdmin’s CEO) was appointed as the new MD for GoFi8ure.
Together with their team of qualified bookkeepers Lisa and Tania work hard to educate SME businesses about the importance of accurate bookkeeping – and how good, financial data is key to the success of any company. They stress that ‘keeping the books’ isn’t something business owners should be doing themselves.
They also work hard to push bookkeeping as a valuable, and financially rewarding, career choice. “It’s a profession where you have to keep on your toes,” says Tania. “Technology, cloud apps and financial software systems, like Xero, are constantly evolving. This means on-going training and up-skilling is essential.”
For both Lisa and Tania, their careers didn’t stop with bookkeeping. Their bookkeeping qualifications have lead them to further study. Tania, already a Chartered Accountant has recently gained a Bachelor of Business degree, for which Lisa is currently studying.
Importantly, GoFi8ure believes that finance can be fun. As bookkeepers, accountants and financial advisors they work hard – their branding provides light relief. “Our clients love our superhero image. They think its great when we wear our cloaks and give them superhero branded thank you gifts. And, our life-size telephone box is always a hit at exhibitions,” says Lisa.
GoFi8ure was recently endorsed as a ‘Perfect Bookkeeper’ by Xero.