The following article is reposted here with permission from the online magazine, Voyager Denver:
Image Credit: by KBenfield Photography
Today we’d like to introduce you to Dorothy Korbe.
Dorothy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have been doing accounting work for years, the result of following in the footsteps of my single mother. She was an accounting clerk and I took accounting classes in high school, finding I was good at it (even helping other students). Initially, when I started college (the first person on my father’s side of the family) my goal was to get my undergraduate in business and then go on to law school. My plan was diverted when I had my first child and discovered this plan was not going to work for my family. I finished with my bachelor’s and entered the accounting world.
After many years helping companies from all types of industries (energy conservation, research, construction and manufacturing to mention a few) I was working in a public accounting firm as an auditor and really enjoyed the firm I was working for. Unfortunately, our primary client basis in that department of the firm were non-profits and the margins were really tight. The partner came to me and explained that he was having to reduce the overhead in the department and when you are the only full-time/full benefit person in the department as you can imagine I was the first expense to be cut. I had at that time been doing a couple of companies’ books on the side after hours and had been thinking about going out on my own as a full-time venture.
There was a friend that came into the firm regularly to help with there books who mentored me and encouraged me to make the “leap of faith”. So I started calling/emailing my network to let them know if they knew of anyone looking for bookkeeping on a contract basis I was pushing my firm into this on a more full-time basis. By this time my children were getting older, I had gotten my master’s degree and it seemed like the right time. The firm started in 2007 as a side venture and in 2016 I went out on my own full time.
I am grateful for a family that supported me and still supports me. I am also grateful for a network that has helped me along with finding some good new networking groups. My firm’s focus is on helping business owners of various sizes to get their business transactions in a system that allows them to have the financial information they need to grow. Sometimes this has been by helping them as they get started and others to help them clean up the mess they have to give them the accurate information they need.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has been a bit bumpy. The first challenge came in the form of being proactive about trusting my “gut” when trying to work with someone that we are not the right fit for. In the beginning, you are working so hard to get your business going and having customers that you tend to overlook the signs that your firm and the client are not the right fit. This truly has been a trial and error, but as we have grown we have been able to find ways to identify this right away. Now the challenge in this area is when the potential client comes as a referral from someone we are already working with. Working through how we retain a good relationship with the existing client while not taking on the referral when they don’t appear to be the right fit.
Another challenge that is ongoing is the “growing pains” issue. For us this means having the right and enough staff, tools, technology, etc. We are continuing to go through this challenge and mostly from the standpoint of when to make the “leap” of hiring that next staff person. Also, finding the right outside resources for our customer’s other needs has been a bit of another “trial and error”, but think we are on a good road now working with what appears to be the right group.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with DK/RK Services – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We specialize in start-ups and small/medium-size businesses. We usually start by helping these companies either establish or revamp their chart of accounts so that the financials that will generate are meaningful to making those all-important business decisions. Beyond the new setup for the start-ups or the setup/clean-up for the existing businesses, our company offers full-service bookkeeping and all of our services are customizable to meet our client’s specific needs.
We have clients that only use us for one portion of the bookkeeping (e.g.customer billing) and those that use all the services (AP, AR, manage payroll, electronic deposits, financial reporting, etc) and everything in between. We also help clients with training and checks and balances needs (e.g. providing controller level records reviews), help preparing records for audit, insurance and bonding needs, and business management tools assistance (ie. cash flow projections, budgets, capital purchases, etc).
We have also become known as the firm to go to for thorough and complete cleanup work. We have helped many clients get their books in order and give them the peace of mind that the information they have is accurate and reliable on a regular basis. We are not only very proud of this but also for the fact that we have helped some companies grow to the point that they needed full-time accounting help internally. This hasn’t always meant they didn’t need us, more that our role may change with them and we become more of the Controller level oversight.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Currently, we plan to add another staff member to our firm within this next year. As with our other staff, this will need to not only be a member of the staff but the right fit for the needs we have with our clients. Looking forward to making that valuable addition to help ensure we are exceeding our client’s needs.