Name a profession that requires a genuine personality and people skills.

I bet bookkeeping wasn’t the first thing to come to mind, was it?

We bookkeepers are commonly called number crunchers and bean counters. Many people, when thinking about bookkeepers (which surely happens all the time), imagine someone with a pocket protector, sitting alone in a back office with an adding machine, a computer, and stacks of papers. Someone who never really has to directly deal with people. So, why is a genuine personality important to someone in this profession?

I’m a bookkeeper. And I don’t have a pocket protector, by the way. I also know that, as a bookkeeper, my personality is actually crucial to my success. Business owners trust me with their sensitive financial data and rely on my expertise. In order for a client to trust me, I have to work hard to develop a rapport, demonstrating my value to their organization, and deliver results. A good working relationship allows me to do my best work for my clients. And I can’t have a good working relationship without a genuine personality.

So, this presents a bit of a quandary. If I use cloud-based bookkeeping solutions like Quickbooks Online, send documents back and forth using Dropbox, and hold meetings online using GoToMeeting, how do I develop a productive working relationship with clients I may never meet in person?

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Working as a cloud-based bookkeeper allows for true collaboration with my clients: We can both access the books at any time, from anywhere with an internet connection. The mechanics of data entry (driving back and forth to the client’s location or exchanging boxes of documents, and then typing everything in) have been streamlined or eliminated, and I can focus on the good stuff: helping my clients to grow their businesses by freeing up their time and providing relevant, practical advice and solutions.

Technology gets a bad rep for creating distance between people, but it can be used to strengthen relationships if used properly. By collaborating with my clients in the cloud, I’m able to touch base with them more frequently. I can log into their Quickbooks Online file to answer a quick question or run a report, or use GoToMeeting to share screens and show them how to do something new. No more “saving up”all their questions until I drive over to their office to do the bank reconciliation! How’s that for personalized service?

Technology hasn’t affected the most important part of my work as a bookkeeper: my sincere interest in my clients. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is getting to know small business owners and learning about their businesses. I genuinely like my clients and my work, and I think that comes across over the phone, online, or in person. Knowing that I care about them and their business is the most important part of building a good rapport with my clients.

The technology is just a tool; the people using the technology are what matters. By keeping that in mind, I’m able to connect with my clients and build strong working relationships.

Can you think of any other ways your personality affects working in the cloud?