Learn how Kellie Parks (Founder of Calmwaters Cloud Accounting) thinks about goals and how she makes the path to achieving them attainable through team alignment.

Goal alignment is one of the things that separates the best from the rest.

But the journey from coming up with solid goals, to aligning your team around those goals, and actually taking steps to realize them can be difficult.

In this article, you’ll find Kellie’s thoughts on:

  1. The Two Kinds of Goals Your Firm Should Have
  2. How to Align Your Team around Your Firm’s Goals
  3. How to Overcome Obstacles that Prevent Goal Alignment
  4. How to Keep Everyone Aligned so they Don’t Go Back to Status Quo

Kellie Parks is a Certified Professional Bookkeeper with CPB Canada and a former member of their Board of Directors. She has been running Calmwaters Cloud Accounting for over 12 years.

Continue reading or watch the full episode below:


The Two Kinds of Goals You Should Have

There are two kinds of goals your firm should have:

  1. Business goals 

    This is the overriding reason your firm exists. It’s the reason you chose to start your firm rather than doing any other thing. And  this is something you need to first of all decide within yourself as the firm owner. 

  2. Client work goals

    These are really important to have because how will you get the work done if you don’t know the outcome? How do you create consistency of work if everybody has their own outcomes? You’re gonna have different kinds of work going on and it’s not going to be consistent. Examples of goals for bookkeeping firms include:

    • The number of year-end journal entries you have: “I strive to have 3 to 5 year-end journal entries. That’s important to me. But some firms, maybe it’s more like 10 year-end adjusting entries that come back from the tax pro. So for me, it’s a clearly stated goal.” 
    • When you want client files to be closed: Are you looking to close client files by the 5th of the month? “If you don’t state those goals, your team members are not going to have any idea of which way they’re running with the ball and when they should get to the end post.”

More resources for you:

How to Move from Spreadsheets to Workflow Management Software

How Badger CPA Hits Their Revenue Goals With Financial Cents

How to Align Your Team around Your Firm’s Goals

“You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”

– James Clear
Author, Atomic Habits

  • Have well documented systems that not only define the goals, but lead to achieving them. “In Financial Cents, for example, there are due dates. So for my firm, not only are our tasks automatically recurring but there are due dates on them as well. So if the goal is that a task is done by the fifth of the month, it’s clearly stated right within the workflow application that we use (Financial Cents).”
  • Don’t just state goals, explain why they’re necessary: Telling somebody why a certain number of year-end journal entries is important is just as important as what the number is. And it’s the same with the date. “I want my client books to be closed early in the month so we don’t have a month-end chaotic situation and the work is more evenly spaced. So it’s not enough to say that I want those books closed on a certain date, I also need to ensure that the reason I want that done is very clear.” 
  • Make the path to achieving your girls clear and attainable. This is a key piece to aligning your team members around your stated goals.

How to Overcome Obstacles that Prevent Goal Alignment

Goal alignment involves both clients and your team. 

  1. Lack of confidence in the technology your firm uses: Building confidence in technology can be a little tough and can be a big obstacle. You should not just assume that people know how to use your technology. This is where technology education comes in. “If a client sends me a note that they’re struggling with something within our technology, instead of just sending them back a note, I create a quick video showing them how to use it.” You don’t have to over-think the video, just share your screen and show them where things are and what to do.
  2. The biggest obstacle you’ll probably face is not having stated goals. If you as the owner haven’t thought about your why’s, and how you’re going to get there, that’s the number one obstacle you need to overcome. Creating a value and mission statement is important. But don’t just create it, put it somewhere where you can read it all the time. 
  3. Another obstacle is not not asking your team and clients for their goals. For example, if your clients are just in it for compliance, and that’s not what you’re doing, that’s not goal alignment. So not asking the other person what they believe in, or what’s important to them will be a total disaster for keeping goals aligned.

More resources for you:
Increase Your Rates Without Losing Clients (+ 2 Free Templates) with Loren Fogelman

How To Identify Ideal Clients For Your Accounting Firm with Richard Roppa-Roberts

How to Keep Everyone Aligned so they Don’t Go Back to Status Quo

So I was on the board of directors for the Canadian bookkeepers Association and one of the things we do at the start of all of our meetings, and it’s also what a couple of my clients do at the start of their stand ups is to read out the mission statement. I think that that helps.

– Kellie Parks 

Below are some other tips:

  • If your team communicates through a Slack channel very often, it’s a great idea to have your goals stated there and also celebrate the wins of getting there. So you’ve got a goal channel, if you will. 
  • Stay consistent with file reviews: Ensure that work isn’t just done but that there is actually a system that you review the books before you close them as well. So again, ensure there’s continuous and consistent alignment on the business goals, and on the client work goals as well. But alignment on client work will slip if you don’t have a rock solid file review system in place.

Kellie Parks is a Certified Professional Bookkeeper with CPB Canada and a former member of their Board of Directors. She has been running Calmwaters Cloud Accounting for over 12 years.