Bookkeeper of the year: What it feels like to be a finalist.

Every year there are awards for various industries and the Accounting and Finance industry is no different. So why do I enter awards? Is it worth my time, effort and money (and yes, some of them are certainly not free). And what do I, or my business, actually get out of it?

“These are question I get asked each year, and for the life of me I used to think people who entered awards were just self pretentious knobs. Truly I did.”

Then I entered an award and I changed my opinion. No because I didn’t want to call myself a pretentious knob, but because I finally understood the process. And let me tell you, sometimes an award application takes days to fill out. It is confronting, it is exposing, it is at times intimidating. Sometimes, I nearly pull the pin as I just don’t really like talking about myself (that might come as a surprise to some of you, but it is the truth).

So what is the process of applying for an award? It is the self development journey you go on when entering the awards, the self reflection on the prior 12 months of your business journey, what we have given back to the accounting & bookkeeping profession, how we have changed the game in our industry, how we continually improve on our services and also reflecting on where we want to be.

If you are honest with yourself, those questions can be tough. I mean I love talking about my clients success stories – that is easy. We have individual clients who manage over 20 employees, clients who sell both in Australia and overseas, clients turning over millions of dollars in sales per year, we have clients who have won national awards. Speaking about their skills and achievements is easy. I could do it with my eyes closed.

“But talking about why we are good at what we do is so bloody hard. I mean will I sound like a pretentious knob? I mean getting excited about numbers is easy for me – but convincing others to get excited about what we do and how we do it, now that is plain stressful.”

Let me get this straight. We don’t enter awards to win. Sure, if we happen to bring home Bookkeeper of the Year at next months Women in Finance Awards we sure as hell will be getting up on stage to collect the trophy. But we are driven by improvement, We are driven by being surrounded by other ambitious people. We are driven to be able to share our achievements. We are driven to be the best employer we can be. We are driven by being the best version of ourselves.

When we got the call to say we were a finalist this year, the virtual high fives that go on with my 3 remote staff happen immediately. I call hubby to tell him, I am happy, excited, I am in a state of shock. All the emotions go through your mind. But you know what else we feel – we feel like we are not good enough. We feel like they must have made a mistake.

“The self doubt and inner critic starts creeping in and taking over. We are not immune to those negative feelings, in fact, being a finalist only amplifies those feelings. I even looked at the list of finalists and said to myself – which of these other ladies will win?”

So I have to remind myself that winning is not everything. Never. We were also a finalist for the Bookkeeper of the Year in 2017 but didn’t win. And you know what – we actually sat on a table at the event with all the other finalists in that same category. You see people in my industry are my competitors – sure. But they are also my closest friends, my business associates, they are the people I look up to, people I bounce ideas off – and so much more.

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with – Jim Rohn”

So why do we enter awards? We do it for the reflection. For the growth we get by reviewing the past 12 months. We do it to boost our goals and direction for the 12 months ahead. We do it to hopefully be able to surround ourselves with people we look up to, so they can lift us up.

We do it because we strive for continual improvement. And we do it because we are genuinely proud of our achievements. So wish us luck as we frock up to attend the gala awards in Sydney on the 20th of September.

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