Jill Shalett’s Bookkeeping Journey

My Discovery

About two years ago I finally discovered what I want to be when I grow up. I want to do bookkeeping. This decision came almost 20 years after I graduated college. with a degree in Family and Community Services. Although I have a degree in Family and Community Services, my true education was learning the art of listening skills and helping people. How does this broad educational background lead to the title of bookkeeper?

By chance, a friend of mine needed help with her new business. I was looking for a change, and still seeking a career path that captured my attention, so I was interested in the opportunity. The job involved reconciling the sales at the end of the day. For me, this was like working on a really fun puzzle. If it didn’t balance, I enjoyed the process of scouring through the transactions to figure it out, and when it did balance I felt like celebrating (yes – every single balanced reconciliation was worthy of a high-five at the very least).

Like anyone who is trying to learn more about something, I started Googling… and wow! I discovered this whole new world. Immediately I was hooked. There were webinars, virtual trainings and Facebook groups full of people who did the same thing that I wanted to do – and conferences where I can meet these people in real life! Successful bookkeepers were telling their stories on social media from all over the world. I wanted to be like them, and I wanted to be part of this world. This is not just bookkeeping, but this is bookkeeping in the cloud. How cool is that?

The Next Steps

Now that I was hooked into the profession and it’s community, the next thing on my agenda was figuring out my purpose, creating my business structure, and learning, learning, learning. I signed up for trainings specifically for cloud bookkeepers, read books, articles, anything and everything that would propel me into my own successful cloud bookkeeping business.

So far I have learned so much and absolutely love the experiences of gaining knowledge, tools, and meeting more and more friends! I found myself wrapped up in the excitement of knowing what I wanted to do and absorbing a ton of information. Armed with valuable tools and networking like crazy, but yet my business was not moving anywhere. The next step was to get over my fear of putting myself out there and work on transforming my business into what I want it to be. I needed to take my tools and put myself to work.


Enter ICBUSA. I was in the process of submitting my registration for ICBUSA membership, when I had a technical issue. Living in the District of Columbia, we are often forgotten as part of the U.S. drop down menus. That is a whole different story. When I called tech support and clicked on the chat button, I hit the jackpot. I was talking to THE Jan Haugo, the force behind ICBUSA  (yay!). Jan worked diligently with me to get the issue resolved, and she even emailed me a few weeks later to check in and ask me if I had any questions about the ICBUSA.

We scheduled a call and had a lovely conversation about our shared passion for the bookkeeping industry and where it is headed. What an introduction to her organization; Jan as a seasoned professional and me as a newbie. I explained to Jan my background and how I got to where I am now, working by myself, and in need of some serious direction in growing as a bookkeeping professional. It was out of this phone call that Jan picked me to be the first ICBUSA intern. Before the internship started, I would need to be placed with a mentor.

My Bookkeeping Internship

I’m a strong believer in fate and that everything happens for a reason. However, in this case, it’s a close tie between fate and geography that led me to my mentor. I was planning to visit family over the summer in Michigan (where Christine lives). Our connection on LinkedIn paid off. We arranged for a breakfast and soon discovered it was a perfect match.  We launched our efforts last month with bi-weekly meetings and Smartsheet as our project management tool. Having a mentor to guide me through building my business and keeping me on track to was the missing piece on this journey that I needed. Christine has been instrumental at reeling me in and challenging me to grow and move forward. Together, we are discovering how to become the successful cloud bookkeeping entrepreneur that I strive to be.

What an exciting time for growing a bookkeeping business! The ICBUSA is pushing for raising the standards of the profession. There are so many forward-thinking opportunities, and there is an amazing community of people who are all working towards supporting each other for success. I look forward to what’s next, and I’m so grateful to have the support of the ICBUSA and my wonderful mentor in my journey.

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