Women CPAs Work Their Assets Off

Let’s face it, accounting work is not for just everyone, especially when you’re balancing mom duties. Not only do you work impossible hours, travel like the globetrotters, bite your upper lip every time a box of receipts shows up on your desk, manage a mountain of e-mails daily, and listen to countless stories from your clients about that one TV or radio commercial that assured him his expense was deductible – you also are the CEO of your family! No wonder you feel like a legitimate superwoman!assetsoff.jpg

So what are other female accountants doing to balance their lives?

  1. Improve your habits, not your goals – You don’t need to set better goals because you already know who you want to be. Instead, you need to focus on the one or two things you can do that will make the biggest difference in your life.   What is that for you?? Maybe it’s changing a routine? Perhaps it’s narrowing your focus? What about having an accountability partner? Do you need more fun in your life? Could it be just simply taking action on what you already know you need to do? After all, imperfect action is better than no action. Take a look at the one simple thing that could modify your life and just focus on it for the next few months.
  2. Throw out the junk – You know you do things daily that aren’t on your life’s priority list. They don’t make one iota of difference in your life or in the lives of those around you. But you do them anyway. So why not picking one of those things and eliminating it altogether. It may just liberate you all the way to less stress.
  3. Just say “no”! – You can’t possibly be everything to everyone. For me, I recently learned to say no by saying “I’m sorry but I can’t commit to this right now but you can certainly count on my prayers.” And not only have I started saying it, I mean it! This gives me the confidence to gracefully focus on my priorities but also the feeling that I can make a difference by lifting up that person or their cause in prayer. After all, sometimes that’s the best way to make a difference!

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The Art of Dancing Backwards in High Heels

dancing backOh the irony! I actually can’t dance. I don’t have a coordinated bone in my body and my husband has fallen out of his chair laughing at me one too many times when I’ve tried. But, he knows better than anyone that I’m a master – and I mean award-winning champion – at dancing backwards in high heels!

The struggle is real but the payoff is incredible when you learn this dancing art. There are over 9.9 million women-owned businesses in this country that generate over $1.6 TRILLION in revenue and the growth rate at which these companies are taking off is unprecedented! But as an owner of several thriving businesses myself, I’m no stranger to wiping bottoms while simultaneously fishing the remote control out of the toilet just 2 minutes prior to running out the door with sloppy kiss stains on my silk blouse. Don’t worry…two bottles of antibacterial soap stand ready by every sink in our home.

But here’s the thing. The days with deadlines that can’t be missed, employees who have questions every time we turn around, e-mails out the whazoo (is that even a word?), 32 missed phone calls, kids to cart around, computers that can’t think as fast as we can, opportunities that you don’t want to turn down, invoices that need to be sent, accounting fiascos, legal questions, continuing education marathons, and staplers without staples when you need them most – these days are the norm for even the most successful business owners! Whatever or whomever gave us the idea when we first started out that being a business owner was all glitter and glam is the culprit of all the stress and anxiety we manufacturer in our lives.

Luckily, it can be easier! Yes, you heard me. Take it from the gal who choreographed the backwards moves to the tune of Areosmith’s “Dream On.” Here’s what you need to know to get it right:

  1. Stay grounded and keep your priorities straight – I’ve learned from dancing straight through the fire that my relationship with my maker has to be #1, my husband is #2, my kids are #3, and my business and all the folks I serve within it are #4. I’m pretty sure my clients would agree that that’s the way it should be. My confidence comes from the fact I work with people I love and respect and who feel the same about me. This is an absolute MUST! Life is too short to fill your life with people you can never please or help at the end of the day.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – I’m already finding the old saying “it takes a village” to raise your kids is so incredibly true for me. I’m certain God didn’t intend for me to be a stay-at-home mom because he gave me different strengths and talents. That doesn’t mean I’m neglecting my children or not giving them the attention, love, and care they deserve. It means I do everything I can to be the very best mom I can be, and we surround them with people who have God-given gifts to fill in the gaps. The same is true in business. There ARE people out there that are better than you at bookkeeping, scheduling, technology, etc. Learn to play to your own strengths while keeping your priorities straight and God will handle the rest.
  3. Take care of yourself – I’m not the world’s greatest at this one; however, I am positive that I feel my best when I do get enough rest, eat healthy, exercise, and pencil-in down time. These activities equip you for the juggling acts and demands of others.
  4. Be confident – Learn to recognize that the source of your strength is from a God in whom nothing is impossible. As long as you’re listening to and obeying Him, you have absolutely positively no reason to doubt. God wants to bless us. He wants us to be happy. He loves us. Therefore, we need to be assured in His plans for us and embrace challenges, frustrations, and opportunities alike.

Are you a business-owner or professional with a broken high heel? How can I help you???

– Valerie R. Leonard, AIF®

* U.S. Census, 2012