Lori Nowlen

Lori Nowlen

“I was looking for a way to effectively serve established, as well as early stage businesses, with high-caliber bookkeeping services at an affordable price.”

Lori’s mission is to provide high-caliber bookkeeping services for small, growing companies.  As she often says, “A company’s clean books are like a gem’s underlying facets – invisible from the top yet vital to its overall brilliance. For a company to grow and thrive, executives need to make wise decisions every day. To accomplish this, they need financial reports to be prepared on time, effectively, and accurately – every month. When a business is busy and growing it can be quite difficult to accomplish this – unless they have expert help. And there’s the challenge! Until I found the Bookminders model, I couldn’t see how to affordably provide the level of bookkeeping expertise companies really need in order to shine brilliantly.”

Before becoming a Bookminders licensee, Lori spent a frustrating year exploring ways to structure her bookkeeping business.  “I was introduced to two companies that needed bookkeeping help. One had been in business three years, the other for a little over one year.  Both needed significant amounts of cleanup work, and I was concerned. I realized that, while it could be profitable to do this kind of clean-up work, I was much more interested in preventing – or least minimizing – the need for it instead!  I also realized that training each client’s existing staff could only have limited success, because I couldn’t be there on a consistent basis to help with their inevitable and unpredictable needs as the company grew.”

In addition, Lori wanted to create a company, not just employ herself.  “I’ve had jobs. What I wanted to do with Brilliant Numbers was to build a business where people would enjoy working.  I saw the Bookminders’ ad for Licensees in the ASWA News Brief that talked about work-life balance.  I said ’yes‘, that’s the kind of workforce and company I want to create.”

Lori appreciates the level of detail in the Bookminders documentation.  “The brilliance of the Bookminders system is not only the accounting, but the systems.  When Pam Ludin first walked me through the MAD [the Monthly Activity Database that tracks and reports hours worked and services provided to clients] I realized that it would take me years to come up with a system like that.  Why should I reinvent the wheel?”

Lori got off to a strong start.  “Within the first month, I landed my first two bookkeeping services clients.  They are both early stage companies and hadn’t even started their QuickBooks files.  With Bookminders’ system I am able to offer both clients high-quality services that are also affordable – and my services will easily grow with them as their needs expand. I’m on track to welcome one or two more mature companies as clients in the near future.”

“I initially thought I’d hire employees right away, while I focused on sales.  Tom Joseph [founder of Bookminders] suggested that I wait and work with the first clients myself.  That has been good advice.  I’m learning how all the systems work, which increases my ability to speak about it more effectively in sales conversations.  When I get too many clients to handle by myself, I will be well-positioned to hire talented people, give them the very thorough Bookminders training, and transfer my clients to them with confidence.”

The Bookminders On-line Help system is an excellent resource.  “As I grow, I don’t want to become the de-facto help system.  Employees will be able to look at the Bookminders Help System first.  The on-line help database is easy to search and it’s so complete that I don’t expect to get many calls!”

Lori’s experience includes working for seven years in purchasing for a large university and for three years in sales for an enterprise software company.  Having developed an interest in venture-funded companies, she moved to Californiain 2003 and joined an early stage technology company as their accounting manager. Lori joined at their first round of funding, and stayed through their successful exit in 2010, when they were acquired for $100 million.