…a second way is, of course, to research candidates on LinkedIn. It’s sad, but kind of funny also, how many people will lie about their experience on a resume or application, but not update their LinkedIn to reflect the story they’re trying to sell. (I can’t tell you how many candidates apply for a position with us and list “10+ years accounting experience”, only for us to visit their LinkedIn and see that the “accounting” position on their resume was, in fact, a position as a retail cashier.)
As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Courtney Barbee, COO and owner at The Bookkeeper. The Bookkeeper is a business bookkeeping and outsourced CFO firm providing services to SMBs nationwide. Their clients range from single-member start-ups to mid-sized companies of more than 250+ employees, in a wide range of industries.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have three close family members who work in accounting, and co-own my company with my father. Accounting has always been in my blood. (Even as a 7-year-old, I had a line graph of my allowance savings.)
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
We were contracted by a company to perform an audit of their current financial system and discovered that the bookkeeper with whom they had been working had missed over a quarter of a million dollars in deductible expenses over the past three years. We were able to save them over $97,000 after amended returns.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was only 27 when the company started and, since it was just my father and I, I thought I had to do everything in my power to make us look bigger and more professional. I dressed in all-black “power suits” constantly, and wore my hair in a severe bun, and would make statements like, “50% of our clients have found…”, when we only had four clients.
Over time, as we became more successful and I got more comfortable, I found that people responded much better when I behaved more naturally. I dropped the “accountant” look and embraced my individuality, even shaving my head to raise money for a charity. Now, we’re known and liked for not being like typical accountants.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
Out of all platforms in which we regularly engage, Facebook has probably been the most effective social media tool for us in terms of acquiring new clients. I am a member of a handful of local business Facebook groups, and frequently get “tagged” in posts where someone is looking for accounting help.
Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
One way to leverage LinkedIn, that I don’t think most people always think about, is definitely through using it to post jobs. We have gotten some very strong candidates who applied through LinkedIn.
A second way is, of course, to research candidates on LinkedIn. It’s sad, but kind of funny also, how many people will lie about their experience on a resume or application, but not update their LinkedIn to reflect the story they’re trying to sell. (I can’t tell you how many candidates apply for a position with us and list “10+ years accounting experience”, only for us to visit their LinkedIn and see that the “accounting” position on their resume was, in fact, a position as a retail cashier.)
A third way is to use the LinkedIn job postings to see how competing companies are listing their open positions, and what their hiring ranges are, to see how we stack up.
Of course, we use LinkedIn to grow our business through client acquisition, as well. One method there is through sharing content we create, particularly articles and blog posts. A second way is by sharing content our clients and referral partners have created, and tagging them. This is particularly effective because the same type of people who regularly create good content often also have strong networks.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Bringing the most amount of good to the most amount of people is a tall order, but something I am very passionate about is upward mobility for the historically disadvantaged. So many people, through injustice, social stigma, or circumstance of birth, do not have fair access to the knowledge and networks necessary to improve their situation in life. I would love to start a movement that fundamentally changes the idea of who can be an entrepreneur, or a C-level executive, to recognize those who possess enormous potential but who have not had the tools given to them to fulfill that potential.
My movement would bring adults who’ve experienced business success in contact with youth whom they can mentor, particularly in underfunded school districts, or in the foster care system. I would love to see local CEOs and business owners volunteering in inner-city schools and with at-risk youth, to pass on the business wisdom which can’t be taught in a classroom, and to provide greater equality for coming generations.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I’m a huge fan of Donald Glover’s work (music, writing, acting, etc.), and would love to pick his brain over breakfast sometime. He involves himself in so many projects, of such range, and always seems like he’s really enjoying what he’s doing. I’m amazed that the same person could write both “This is America” and “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”, and that the same person could have the talent and audacity to make a show like “Atlanta” work, all while still seeming very humble and down-to-earth. Though I’m not an entertainer, I’d love to be able to emulate that level of multichannel success while still being a real, genuine person.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!
About the Author:
Phil Laboon wants to live in a world where actions speak louder than words, people shout their stories from roof tops, and where following one’s passion is the norm. As a serial entrepreneur and investor, his personal and professional life has spotlighted in hundreds of publications such as People Magazine, Rueters, Forbes, Inc, HuffingtonPost, and CBS This Morning. When he’s not building memorable brands or launching exciting startups, you can find him backpacking exotic countries looking for new inspiration and challenges.
If you would like to book Phil for an entertaining speaking engagement about inbound marketing or growing a business, he can be contacted HERE