Helping clients help themselves
How Totally Booked uses A2X to give clients clarity
Totally Booked is about more than just bookkeeping. The company aims to help small businesses boost their profitability by saving time and money on their accounting processes.
The business started six years ago when founder Kelly Gonsalves found herself out of a job – and at a loose end. Although it grew out of necessity, it has carved out its niche in the industry, specialising in e-commerce with a huge range of Amazon, Etsy, and eBay sellers as clients.
After training as a QuickBooks advisor, Kelly felt ready to put her new knowledge to use. Her personal experience as an eBay seller also came in handy – she knew what it was like to deal with unexpectedly complex accounts and hidden fees.
“I was able to take what I already knew about ecommerce and combine it with this new thing QuickBooks that I was doing. When I saw what they could do together, I went, ‘Let’s go!’” she explains
Since establishing Totally Booked, Kelly has gone from strength to strength, becoming a QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor, being named as a top 50 cloud accountant and joining several professional networks to build her brand. She attributes her success to her drive and creativity – and the right tech for the job.
Tools of the trade
Right from the start, Kelly looked for tools to help make her job easier. Part of her goal in establishing the business was to create a flexible lifestyle for herself, so she wanted online tools and apps to boost efficiency as much as possible.
“It was more lifestyle for me, so working from my home office, from my vacation, wherever I want to – and being able to do everything,” she explains.
Because she started the business at a relatively young age, Kelly was a digital native, comfortable with new technology and figuring out what worked. As it turned out, A2X was one of the first tools that helped her deliver better value to her clients.
“They came across as the industry standard for Amazon sellers, period. Like, just out of the gate, that’s how people saw them,” she says.
“If there’s something like this app that can spit out a list, a receipt, a journal entry that would have taken me two hours to find all the information and create, then it’s a no-brainer for me,” she says.
Clarity counts for new retailers
Totally Booked specialises in e-commerce, particularly clients using platforms like Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Shopify. These platforms make e-commerce accessible to anyone – which can become a problem when inexperienced sellers run into complex accounting issues.
“It’s fairly easy to set up an e-commerce shop – if you’re doing eBay, Amazon, Etsy, you just plug in pictures and a description – and bam,” Kelly explains.
With the front-end being so easy, complicated and unclear back-end processes can come as a shock. Clients come to Totally Booked without a good understanding of how taxes, fees, shipping and various other elements work on their chosen platform. They may have sold $10,000 worth of product, but only received $8,000 in their account – and account details supplied by the platforms don’t always explain it.
“That’s where the disconnect comes in, and that’s when they start to panic a bit. Like, ‘I know I sold X amount, where’s the rest of the money?’” she says.
A2X has helped Kelly make those numbers clear – for herself as well as her clients. It translates the information supplied by the sales platforms so the seller can see exactly where their money is coming from.
“Pull out what your sales were, what Amazon took, what the shipping name was if you had any returns. A lot of times, people don’t account for refunds. Being able to show them those numbers and then have that lightbulb moment is a game-changer,” she enthuses.
Turning time savings into success
Of course, it’s not all about clarity. Kelly works with hundreds of different clients through Totally Booked and runs two other businesses as well, so saving time is crucial to her success.
She explains that apps like A2X help her get the job done without the fiddly, complex bookkeeping busywork that can take so much time. When sorting out account details from Amazon or other platforms would have taken two hours or more for each client, now it takes minutes.
“If you can get that time back, what would you do with that extra two hours of your day? If you’re paying an employee to sit there and do this manually, and they could be doing something else that would play to their strengths, let them do that,” she explains.
A2X and other apps have helped Kelly build an incredibly successful business, create a reputation as a top cloud accounting advisor – and expand her empire to include an SEO business and an accounting innovation company. She also runs an App Roundtable with other e-commerce accounting experts, holds webinars to share her insights and is involved with other network groups. It’s a lot, and it wouldn’t be possible without tech streamlining day-to-day business tasks.
The same goes for her clients: they no longer need to unravel complex transaction records or reconcile payments, which means they have more time to focus on growing their businesses.
As Kelly puts it, it’s about using tech you can trust to do the job right.
“So it’s just building trust, and then the result, when the client sees that you’re able to give them that information so much faster, it’s a no-brainer.”