Thursday Tidbit: Accounting for Counselors


Recently, I sat down with my new bookkeeper for 2 hours and found myself exerting my brain and focus in ways that I can only describe as excruciating. It reminded me of when I sat in Greek class in graduate school. Not only was she using terms that I wasn’t exactly sure I understood, there were concepts and new ways of thinking that were introduced as well. In this way it also reminded me of the first time I went to my own therapy.

Hiring a bookkeeper reminded me of when I went to therapy. It had taken me years to finally sit down with someone to help me with my own shame. Sitting with the bookkeeper and showing her my bank account was difficult. I also had to show her my client statements, and have candid discussion about what needed to change in my accounting practices.

I have paid my taxes and have made sure to closely account for my client’s statements, but when it comes to reconciling my books, it’s another matter. As I write this article, the hypocritical nature of my struggle does not escape me. I am constantly preaching to my clients that need for others is not a sign of weakness, but their humaness. Yet, I have refused to ask for help from someone else because they might see my weak accounting skills.

Like a kind therapist, my new bookkeeper said to me, “We will just work to keep getting better.” And so, I am working on the tedious task of taking better care of my books as she teaches me the best practices. I do not know of one counseling or mental health program that teaches accounting or business skills. Unless you already have a business degree or an MBA, invest in an accountant and work with a bookkeeper. Even if you do everything on your own in the end, it is good to have consultants to help you and teach you along the way.

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