Birchfield Bookkeeping – From Dreams to Reality, by Stefan Shell

Birchfield Bookkeeping

“It’s fair to say that the words “Life’s a journey, not a destination” apply quite firmly to my life so far.

Coming out of University with a degree in Environmental Biology, I had grand plans to spend my life wandering the outdoors in the environmental sector. But life has a way of catching you unawares and showing you alternate futures, and so after meeting and marrying my wife, I settled into family life.

After a few years I found myself working in retail management, a sector that is inundated with paperwork and complicated administrative processes; it quickly became apparent that this is where I shone, and it also helped that I enjoyed the work.

The challenge of facing a fresh pile of tasks every day, and working through them in an efficient and accurate manner became my trademark. This mind-set resulted in me being moved around within my company, problem-solving other areas of the business and looking for ways to improve (or creating systems of work), keeping everything working as simply and efficiently as possible.

In early 2016 I was caught up in an incident with a shoplifter that saw one of my colleagues get stabbed, and understandably this shook me up and I no longer felt safe within the building. After over 10 years at the store I made the decision to leave in October 2016.

Looking back, I came out of the situation a more enlightened person, with a huge skill set in administration and office based solutions. I knew that these were skills that could be used in a future endeavour and so I took the scary, daunting but ultimately exciting step to start up my own business.

My wife has her own business, and as such, I have helped over the years to keep on top of some of her bookkeeping tasks. I knew that with my skills and background I was predisposed to this type of work and could complete it in a much more efficient and accurate way, and in doing so, it meant that my wife had more time to dedicate to her business.

All the jigsaw pieces fell together and I immediately started looking for accredited bookkeeping courses, quickly settling on the complete package and choosing to do this through Training Link.

The support from Training Link has been fantastic from the beginning; the course material was comprehensive and was provided in bite size chunks, which made it fairly straight forward to proceed with at a quick pace.

I didn’t look for new employment, choosing instead to study as much as possible. This meant that I had my level 2 exam completed by Christmas 2016. Whilst I awaited the result I started my level 3, and this meant that I had completed and passed both my level 2 & 3 by the beginning of April 2017.

I am now in a privileged position where I am in full control of the rest of my journey…’Birchfield Bookkeeping’. I have chosen to start up my own practice offering bespoke bookkeeping and administrative solutions to local businesses, helping them develop and grow further, whilst also providing me with an enjoyable career that will give me more time with my family.

I made sure I attended my local ICB branch meetings, and through this I managed to make contact with my Branch manager. Luckily for me he is one of the only Platinum Xero partnerships in the country.

He asked me to join his company part time to learn how to use this software, with the intention of providing support for local businesses who use Xero, as well as providing Xero bookkeeping for them.

I am now a Xero certified bookkeeper! My skill set is still growing, and every day I find my knowledge grows a little stronger.

I am slowly ticking things off of my “to-do” list; currently I am working through ABA8, with ABA9, Payroll and Self-Assessment hopefully to follow soon after.

Currently I am still at the very early stages of setting up Birchfield Bookkeeping.

I have applied for my practice licence, and whilst that is being processed, I am using this time to market my newly named ‘Birchfield Bookkeeping’ and employ my skillsets to line up a client base.

It’s all a little scary and daunting…..But in a good way!

You can follow my ongoing journey through my Birchfield Bookkeeping company Facebook page