As the first post on my new blog, I thought that I should share with you some of my thoughts on why I chose to write a blog about Accounting for startups.
I grew up in a family of accountants. My grandfather worked as an accountant in the Finance department of the provincial Chinese government in Nanjing. Both of his daughters also turned out to be accountants. My mother worked as an accountant for various companies in Canada for years, while my aunt now owns her own Tax services firm in China. Growing up, I lived with my grandparents for 8 years since I was 2 years old. Naturally, my grandfather has had a great deal of influence on my early childhood. He taught me the importance of mathematics and how to use logical thinking skills in everyday life. As a result, I have always been good with numbers growing up. When I was choosing a specialisation to study in my final year of university, I chose Accounting, because I felt that it’s the career path that will further develop my logical thinking skills and allow me to work with numbers. So here I am, 5 years after graduation, I have worked in various Audit and Tax departments in both Canada and the UK at a Big 4 accounting firm, where I analysed financial data every single day. Every time I encountered a problem at work, I always referred back to the logical thinking process that my grandfather once taught me, and it has never failed me.
Accounting is certainly not perceived by most as a very “sexy” career. Very often when I tell someone that I have just met at a party that I’m an accountant, there is usually an awkward pause that immediately ensues and I can see the person’s expression becoming very perplexed, because they don’t know what to ask next about my job. However, what most people don’t know is that Accounting is actually a highly important part of any organisation. When I worked as an auditor, I travelled almost every week to various places and worked with all types of companies, from banks, to insurance companies, to a famous German automotive manufacturer, to a Chinese telecom company (where I had to talk to the client staff in Chinese everyday), and many more. I met with top executives of the companies, such as CFOs, CEOs, Directors of Boards, all of whom are veterans in their industries. I learned about critical processes of different businesses, such as how a bank’s control systems operate in order to prevent money laundering, or how automotive companies estimate future warranty claims on their cars. All of these bits of knowledge and skills I have gathered over the years by working in Accounting have allowed me to be able to know a company’s financial condition inside and out as soon as I look at their financial statements and their annual trends. These are invaluable skills that not many people possess but are sought after by many companies. They are highly important for all companies, whether small or big, young or old.
Recently, I have met many amazingly talented startup founders, who all have fantastic business ideas that they are building their startups around. However, I found that most of them don’t have an Accounting background, and some of them don’t even know how to begin tracking their businesses’ financial records. Out of curiosity, I scouted the web for some startup accounting resources, and surprisingly not much came up. Most of the current resources are accounting firms that offer their services for an on-going fee. For most startups, they cannot possibly afford to pay such high fees, especially at the early stages of growing their profits. However, what most people may not understand is that Accounting is an essential part of any startup business, because banks and investors will often need to see their financial statements when giving them a loan or providing venture capital funding. As a result, I feel that there is a huge void in the market right now for Accounting advice for startups that doesn’t cost a fortune. Therefore, it inspired me to start writing this Startup Accounting Blog, because I want to help startup businesses to gain the basic Accounting knowledge that they need to build their companies.
You should expect to see some useful Accounting knowledge and tips coming up. I will start from the basics and then graduate to the more complex topics, so stay tuned!