On an Island with Mary Eley, Glide Bookkeeping

This month we are on an island with Mary Eley, owner of Glide Bookkeeping. Glide Bookkeeping is a full cycle bookkeeping service helping small businesses and start-ups grow. We first met Mary when we were both located at the Ideas Inc. building and the rest is history. From monthly bookkeeping to payroll and everything in-between, we know first hand just how valuable Glide has been for our business. So, sit back and relax and learn a little more about Glide.

Island: Tell us about Glide Bookkeeping?

Mary Eley: I love my job! I started Glide over a year ago, when I bought the book of clients from my old boss Jordan Brown, CPA, at Lift Accounting who I worked with for several years, and I am still pinching myself.

My goal is to take the stress out of recordkeeping so that owners and managers can focus on growth and success.

I am so lucky and proud to be doing what I love for so many amazing startups, small businesses and non-profits every day. Most people seem to find this work tedious, but I find it really interesting and satisfying.

The name Glide has a few meanings. Lift and Glide are both aviation terms, so it is a nod to Jordan, and as both of our fathers are pilots, it is a nod to my dad too. I also like it because I want my clients to feel like their bookkeeping takes minimal effort and is always moving forward, as when you are gliding.

Island: Does a small business really need a bookkeeper? Can’t I just manage it myself?

ME: Bookkeeping is a lot of responsibility, and concerns a wide range of stakeholders, such as accountants, employees, government agencies, and potential investors or creditors.

It is a cost/benefit decision.

A larger business may have an entire accounting department, but for small businesses this work is often done by the owners themselves, or trusted staff. Some absolutely can and do have the skill and ability to do a great job, but I am here for those who don’t have the skills, time or patience. Missed deadlines, mistakes and oversights can trigger costly fines, and skew the picture of the business. The time it takes to ensure it is done right can be stressful and distract owners from the other work they need to do to make their businesses thrive. Professional bookkeepers have the knowledge and experience to make sure that the work is compliant with legislation, done according to current accounting principles and best practice, in a timely manner. We are also constantly learning and updating our skills and training. As with many things, a certain point it becomes more cost effective to hire a specialist.

Island: Bookkeeper versus an accountant. What’s the difference?

ME: Accountants are big picture professionals for your finances, bookkeepers take care of all the minute details that compose that big picture. Bookkeepers make sure that every penny moving in and out of a business is properly accounted for, run payroll, file sales taxes and work with business to improve record keeping. We even sometimes uncover theft and fraud. Accountants take the work that bookkeepers have done and prepare financial statements and reports, prepare and file income taxes, give tax planning advice, provide analysis, and consult on financing and decision making. Your bookkeeper works with you on a continual basis, while you may only see your accountant once a year at tax time. Strong communication between your accountant and bookkeeper is an important part of ensuring that the accounting is in top form.

Island: Where does your website and digital presence fit within the success of your business?

ME: Although I spend all day online, my digital presence is pretty weak. Fortunately, I haven’t needed marketing yet. My website right now is not great, I made it myself, and is basically just a landing page that serves to let the public know that I am not taking new clients, www.glidebookkeeping.com. I have a few notions of how I could improve it, but I haven’t had much time or need to think about it. If I ever do, I know who I can turn to for help!

Island: How do you see technology and bookkeeping working together?

ME: In the old days ledgers were kept in paper journals, meticulously filled, copied and compiled to create a set of accounting records, but in today’s world bookkeeping without technology is basically extinct because it is so inefficient.

in today’s world bookkeeping without technology is basically extinct because it is so inefficient.

Accounting software, spreadsheets, email, digital filing, online banking and other applications are essential tools for bookkeeping. There are also new applications being developed all the time that are transforming how bookkeeping is done, making it more efficient and accurate. One day it may all be done online automatically, but for now, a human is still needed, luckily for me!

Island: If you were stranded on an island, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

ME: I want to say my family, but I don’t think I’d want to curse them to a desert island, so I’ll say my laptop with some good wifi. If my clients were willing to upload all their receipts, I could probably still keep running Glide! Goals.