EP80: Kellie Parks – Choosing The Perfect Technology For Your Bookkeeping Business


It improves efficiency for your accounting and bookkeeping business.Our guest, Kellie Parks, a Certified Professional Bookkeeper and Financial Technology Expert, is a relentless organizer and believes cloud financial technology is the key to organization.

While running her business, Calmwaters Cloud Accounting, she spends much of her days educating accounting firms and small to medium-sized businesses, but she loves taking care of her clients' day-to-day accounting needs.

During this interview, you'll discover...

  • Different financial technology that will help your bookkeeping business

  • How Cloud Financial Technology makes it possible for you to enjoy working from different countries

  • How technology can maintain your training and bookkeeping business seamlessly

To learn more about Calmwaters Cloud Accounting, visit here

For Kellie's Facebook page, go here.

For her Twitter, explore here.

To get in touch with Kellie, email her at kellie@calmwaters.ca.


Michael Palmer: 01:25 Welcome back to The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. I am your host, Michael Palmer, and today's show is going to be a great one. Our guest is a cloud accounting specialist who runs calm waters cloud accounting and loves her fintech. Recently she appeared on our radar in our successful bookkeeper Facebook group where she provided a useful resource that's subscribed, how members could use hubdoc and receipt bank together, which create a storm of a conversation. Kellie Parks, welcome to the podcast. 

Kellie Parks: 01:58 Thank you for having me. I'm glad to be here. 

MP: 02:01 Yes. Well first off, Kellie, for those that may have not met you or didn't chime in on that conversation in Facebook, tell us a little bit about your career background and how you became who you are today. 

KP: 02:12 Okay. Well, I had a marketing and branding company and I had a have lots of bookkeeper, so I started doing my own books with the help of my accountant who was my cousins. Oh, he was a patient teacher for me. And as time rolled on I really, really enjoyed it. And I was winding down on my marketing company and my cousin accountants that I was working with, asked if I could help them out with other clients books. And then eventually I sold off that business, which was a very technology-based business as well. So I've been big into technology for well over 30 years. And then um, I started doing more and more books and then I joined a certification program and then I got certified in all kinds of clouds, financial technology programs as well. Such as how doc is the fee, say QBO practice ignition. So I just love this stuff. 

MP: 03:11 Beautiful. And why do you think it is that you came to fall in love with technology? 

KP: 03:18 Man, I was in the marketing business. Print production had it on big technology disruption and this was almost 30 years ago. So we had disruptions in a number of ways. We had disruptions in the ways that we managed our file sharing and our proofing. So, I'm not sure if anybody has heard of FTP sites, but we started using FTP sites. We dropped to them film and we went to direct to plate, which caused all kinds of problems with our proofing process. FTP sites, of course, went down and we were starting to rely on them more and more to get our realtime files for the files weren't in real-time and we uh, InDesign came and took over some of the programs that we had already been using. I been in the industry so long, I remember when we were using the little metal letters and tweezers to get stuff done. At any rate, as more of this technology came out, I just, I really like it. I big distraction. It was a pain in the butt. I'm seeing so many parallels right now, but there was something of that for me that was just straight-up fun. I don't know why I like technology. I just recently I live in a hundred-year-old cabin that I renovating and it's a bit of a wreck but I smart honed the whole house just or fun. And that's a little technology-based thing. So I just, I basically just it on this stuff. 

MP: 04:40 Wow. I love it. I think we're both, uh, have some common threads there. I love technology myself and yeah.

KP: 04:47 If I could add, if I could add one thing, technology has freed me up. My kids are older and my husband is seasonal. He's a fly fishing guy. So the technology aside from all the great things that stood for my clients has allowed me to basically spend my winter not in Canada. I travel most of the winter and technology has certainly freed that up for me to do that. And it's been seamless for my clients. 

MP: 05:16 It's beautiful. It really is. I mean, we live in an age where there, there is no reason you have to be in any particular spot. A put the exception of having at least a temporary connection to broadband or some form of Internet. But with that go anywhere, go anywhere. And I think that's appealing for many people. And, and for some people, it might not be so appealing because it seems daunting or, or difficult or uh, just a big mountain to climb. And so hopefully today in this episode we can help bring more freedom to those that want more freedom and bring some more certainty for those that feel a bit daunted by the all of this. 

KP: 05:58 Yeah. And you know, the other thing that I find with it, Michael, is that it's just kind of fun. It adds another fun factor to it. The world isn't going to end if you make her a mistake in hub dock or QBO, you know, you can, you can voice some transactions, make some notes on what happens, case a, a learning experience away from it. And off you go. 

MP: 06:20 Absolutely. And I like the context of fun. Everybody Fun can, can say, hey, you know what? I'm going to do some fun today and work on some technology improvements in our business or in your business. And we had Joe wittered actually on a previous podcast and he talked about essentially freeing up space in your practice to enable you to, to do something, whether it's harmony for your life, you know, giving you more time to spend with your loved ones or use that time that freed up time to improve processes, bring efficiencies like technology streamlining like workflow and business systems and process and all that good stuff that then give you the ability to scale and do more and more. Which I think today we're going to tackle this, this more with you, which is great. So we've already got, our listeners are like hungry for this freed up time and some more freedom and, and some more profitability and efficiency. So we talked about the resource that you provided to the successful bookkeeper group, Facebook group. What prompted you to create and pass that along to your fellow bookkeepers? 

KP: 07:35 Well I'll tell you one of the great things about technology also is the collaboration. It has allowed for bookkeepers. We are helping each other more and more. And Accountants, I am finding bookkeepers and accountants are working more hand in hand. The whole thing is more collaborative and on that now when someone else has a great process that they're using, they're so willing to share it. It is so terrific. And so I am a huge fan of hub dock and I've been using him dark much since the product came along. I think I was super early in on it and I was kind of like everybody else. I was, well why would I need Receipt bank? It's going to go solve one of my biggest pain points, which is getting the bank statements and salt's a big pain point for my clients. And that is they don't want to go to all of these sites. 

KP: 08:28 They don't want to get their hydro Bellas and bank statements and all of this stuff. They want something to do that for them, you know, with it. And along with technology comes needing to manage it as well. So I hear all the time that people are concerned about the fats with hotdogs at the bank. Connections break. Well, yeah, if you change your card number or if there's a glitch in the bank site or security protocol changes, you're going to have a problem with that. But more often than not, it's awesome. And you got all the bank statements there. So anyways, I'm getting off on a tangent. 

KP 09:01 I liked this tangent though. I think it's speaking to, I think it's speaking to the problem it solves. Well speaking to a couple of things, it's PR, it's speaking to the problem that it solves, the benefit that proved that problem being solved gives like really we're talking about freeing up the client's, right. [inaudible] I mean I use hotdog and I would be considered more a client, right? Because I'm not doing, you know, like I first got into hub dock early, early on as well. And for me, it was like heaven. I mean, 

KP: 09:34 oh well cause I do, yeah. When I do technology training, so I don't have that many clients. I've got a fairly small practice. So I did a ton about front training with my clients and I do training for accounting firms and bookkeepers and that as well to bring their clients to this technology and it is amazing. It is such a big win for me when I show them how dos and those bank statements and hydro statements and bell and Rogers and everybody starts flowing in, it's, it's always a great moment. They're always amazed, but then I have to remind them, so my clients, it's part of their workflow. My clients have their own little workflow checklist and it's part of their workflow that once a week on the same day every week that they did into a routine of checking their bank feeds both or the connections, if you will, both in HubDoc and in QBO. 

KP: 10:29 Because one of the big points is those feeds go down and some of the, the banks don't allow scratching of transactions after, I think it's a 10 day window or something for a couple of the banks. So the pain point for a lot of people is that the connections go down. Well, the solve on that is make it a part of somebody else's routine, not yours. Because we are very often don't have the logging information for our client, engage the client and make the pain point solved by them. And I have no pushback from my clients on checking once a week because they get to see what's going on in their bank account sent you. So it's the same with QBO or sage or anybody who's faced one. Anybody who's got some of these bank connections, well make sure they're running 

KP: 11:19 that's, I mean that goes with any technology. I mean the, it's going to give, it's going to get freedom. It's going to give improvements of time and it's going to free up all sorts of time. But there's a comedian, um, and now the, the name slips my mind, but um, it'll come to me anyways. He's, he's, he, the joke is about sitting on an airplane and somebody is complaining that the Wifi connection isn't working and it's like, Hey, first of all, you're traveling through the air, right? And, and you're like Getty connecting to like the Internet signal and bringing up all this and it's like you're complaining because you can't get access to Wifi. And so we forget so easily. We forget what it was like even five years ago. Right. And that's what I'd love. What you're doing is you're saying, look, this thing's going to break, but the braking is going to be a tiny little grain of sand compared to the massive beach of beauty and, and improvement that you're going to get. 

KP: 12:16 And it is that. And so system process, making sure that you go back in and, and check on these things, but you're, you're, you're, you're excited because your client sees it and they love it. I mean, Hubdocs is a great thing to bring to a client. And, and I mean, if they've never heard of it before and you're the one that brings it, I mean, they'll never forget you. You're always gonna have that little place in their life, in their mind where they're like, oh, just thank you so much for that. And I feel that way about Jamie over at hub doc who showed me how docs and I started using it. I mean it, it has saved me so much time and for years I actually just used it very, very mentally. Like it was just, okay, go fetch all these things. But now I, every single purchase that I do, I take a picture of that receipt and I email it directly to Hubdoc and I delete the receipt or crumple up the receipt and then eventually I delete all those photos and that in itself, like from a paper standpoint, beautiful. 

MP: 13:11 Absolutely beautiful. 

MP: 13:12 It's magic. It's absolutely magic. You know what the Jamie's created is terrific. The first time I thought at the ITBC conference I was like, are you kidding me? And like I thought even if the connections go down, my clients are in charge of managing their own connection. They would rather fix that connection than have to deal with going to their bank site, which also has connection problems and download the statement. Fixing it in hub dark takes them a heck of a lot less time than managing their actual online banking site. 

KP: 13:43 Yeah. And as well I use Royal Bank and uh, it was just one of the many banks that they deal with. But some of the, the information that comes through is not available to me if I were just doing, uh, like, you know, information about what that account transfer was, email transfers, uh, checks being in Hubdoc. I mean, it's like, listen, you can't, there's no other way to get that kind of data. Now. I might be, there might be some magical way that I have to travel through mountains and deserts to get it through Royal Bank. But you know, you've, you're taking a technology company that's disrupting and then they're trying to make the best of these old curmudgeons over at the banks and they're all outdated systems and they're making the very best of it. So when it breaks a little bit on the Hubdoc side, it's not how doc likely, it's more of the bank that's messing that up. And, uh, and thankfully Hubdoc's been able to make a pretty darn good. I mean it's been four years, a little bit more than four years that I've been using it. And it's very, very rare to have any issues. Yeah, I've got to change this or that, but it's usually my fault cause I changed the password.  

KP: 14:52 Something changed just as you said. Right. So you, it, it takes two seconds. And you know what if I could also mentioned the filing for, so when we're talking about using apps together, so Hubdoc, their filing system is super visible. Their dashboard could use some work and if Jamie McDonald hears this, he knows that Jamie Schulman and I run a Rav with flack or it's practically hoping for a dashboard, but it's coming, they're working on it but they're filing. But you know, but I say to them, hey, but don't do anything with that filing system because it's so visible when you click on the folder, you can see the images right away. Whereas receipt bank, one of the reasons that I use from hand-in-hand receipt bank has this terrific dashboard with all kinds of other features that hopefully we'll have a chance to get into. But the beautiful thing about receipt bank is these archives things that you know, what you've dealt with and they've gone away, but then you've got to search for them pretty, you know, it's a, it's a four click operation to look at an image that you want to see go. How'd doc has this great folder system that the visibility is so high level, you just go into a folder and all you have to do is click through them. The images that right there, you don't actually have to look for an archive thing and then click on it to open it and do a dance in a CEG. If it's an awesome, I call it the filing cabinet on steroids. Mm. 

MP: 16:16 Well you also called it the chocolate and peanut butter of Fintech apps. So why is that?

KP: 16:25 Well, because they're great together. So now, Oh, if I can go back to this collaborative world. So I had some friends who had been bugging me for quite a long time about how great receipt bank was, but I was like, oh no. Then I got to pay for it and I don't know what the, I know we've got some sets and Yackety Yack Yack, but then I realized I love restaurants. I've got a truckload restaurant, but the, the, the few that I already had, they weren't managing their own receipts and how doc they were publishing everything, so I didn't quite get the pain point and then my other clients, I had to basically look at every receipt anyways, so then I could just hit publish because I already had the presets, but I needed to look at them. 

KP: 17:09 Then I got this restaurant that had just an absolute ton of receipts with weird tax consequences because it was food with small wares mixed in, so it was never 13% of the total bill. They would, they would come in, there would be like a hundred from plan against a month. And then I was doing a cleanup file for a construction company where all of the Hubdoc's stuff was going to be supplies and materials cost the good soul. And I'm like, wow, if I could just batch publish these because I don't really have to look at them, the client is going to take the responsibility for the fact that these things are cost of goods sold. Um, he and I made an agreement and the restaurant, it's fairly obvious that food purchases and paper goods are cost of goods sold. So I took another look because my girlfriend had been yacking on about how awesome publishing was in receipt bank. 

KP: 18:04 And I get a trial because you kind of have to sort out the pricing. So I, I found a pricing level that I thought was going to work for what I was going to do and I realized that this was an absolutely magic combination. It is like chocolate and peanut butter. The first time you eat a Reese's peanut butter cups. It's like, oh my, well the first time I published over all of these receipts in a batch, I was like, well the price is an issue anymore because I just saved hours. So because in receiving, and I'm sorry if I'm getting off on this, willing at least of using the product in Hubdoc does so many fantastic things upfront. It's the back end that's a little bit dodgy. You got to do the whole tax extraction thing and you have to publish your receipts one at a time and you can't sort them by any sort of filter. 

KP: 19:01 Yes, don't get me wrong. Things are always in the works with Jamie. And so in receipt bank you've got this full dashboard where you can short by vendor, you can sort by date to make sure you're not going to publish old ones over, although talk to, because it doesn't let you, you can sort by what it is. So let's say you only want to send over the cost of goods sold and then you want to deal with you know, office expenses afterwards, whatever the case may be, you can store it. I think there's a six filter sort option in there. It operates very, very similar to the QBO bank feed in that you can sort it by all these different criteria to kind of publish or match in the order that's going to make the most sense for you. And then you could also in receipt bank, you can also look very easily individually so you can, you can forward through the receipts and they'll just keep populating and popping up with the image. So I'm not saying when I put over to receipt bank that I don't look at any of them, but if there's, let's say it's, I dunno, let's say it's staples and it's underneath the threshold for whatever their fixed assets are. Well we know those are office expenses. You can just batch them up and send them all over. But if I want to look at something that's like $650 I can take a look and see if it's four items or is this actually going to be a fixed that. 

MP: 20:34 Wow. So it's, it's saving you a lot of time. And how, how, how did you come about, you know, actually making them work together? 

KP: 20:45 Well that's not, you know, that is something that I heard about from a number of people. So there's a, I call them AP, I, they're accounting professionals I admire. So a few of them had told me about the receipt bank on its own. They're big receipt bank fan. But then on the other end I had a friend Sherry who Mathers who's also an ICBC member and she was using them together. And so I looked at how she was using and I have another friend who was using them the opposite. She uses Receipt bank for client-facing and Hubdocs at the backend. So everybody's got a little bit different way that they do it. So when I saw how Shirley was using receipt bank cause she was using at the same order of hub dock to receipt bank, I was like wow that's really cool but what if I made a few tweaks and did it just this slightly bit differently. So again it was that collaborating sort of environment. We have to answer the question 

MP: 21:47 you did, you did. And I'm curious now I'm curious how this affects on the client side. Do they see both? Do they have to work with both or what does that look like? 

KP: 21:58 No, and this is where some of us are a little bit different. I have my clients on Hubdoc because I find that they can find things in the folder system a little differently. We tag like crazy in there. Tagging is very visible and hub doc. So if somebody puts a receipt in, not only can they add a note but they can tag it to a topic or for me specifically to look at or I can tag it and say yeah I don't think this is going to fly. This doesn't look compliant. So we use tags like crazy and as I mentioned before, my clients are in charge of their own connection. So if Hubdoc isn't the client-facing app, you are burdened with fixing their connection and so then it's going to take two seconds for you. You've got to connect with the client and then find the stuff and then tell them, you know, forget about it. So I use hub Hubdoc as clients facing receipt bank. They know that I use it because I feel obligated that the anything that's in a cloud, anything that's out there in the world that has their documentation, they should know that it exists. But they don't know how to know how to use Receipt bank. They don't. I'm not going to ask my clients out if you will. 

MP: 23:07 Yeah, I was just going to say that that would be challenging, right? Because they're typically, they're not so interested in how things are getting done. They just want to know that they've gotten done and you want to not confuse them because they're often to, people that you're working with are very busy. And so if it's like, oh I'll use this, that and other thing and then over here you got to go over there. I mean you just go in the opposite direction, 

KP: 23:29 you don't want to stare them right now I will say, so in the successful bookkeeper and also in the workflow watering hole, there is a deck, a pdf if you will, of how to use hub dock to receipt bank. And in HQ there is how to use receipt bank to hub dock files. So depending on how, what, which app you want client-facing, there are PDFs on how to use these in both directions. 

MP: 23:57 Yeah. And we can put the, uh, we can put links up for those PDFs in the show notes if people would like to get access to those. And a, and a, and other links that we've been talking about. So you know, we've been talking primarily about Hubdoc's and receipt bank. Are there other financial awesomeness apps out there that you've used and that you're seeing big, becoming as great as Hubdoc and receipt bank? 

KP: 24:24 Yeah, I love Plooto clue as awesome. My clients love Plooto. So Pluto is a payment platform that syncs up with the accounting programs as well. So my workflow or order of events, if you will, starts with how doc and then in the case that it's applicable, it goes to receipt bank, it goes into QBO. I'm a QBO user just so that everybody knows. So I get that slant on it and then it goes into, and then pseudo has all of that information and then you can mass pay bills from there. So rather than spending your day slugging it out, you know, individually paying bills and then printing the checks and then getting them to the client who's going to on envelope them and stamp them and mail them out. My clients love Plooto. They, I do all of their payables for them and it takes me no time. 

KP: 25:20 It's not, it's not turned into a huge part of our engagement. I clicked through them and you can sort include oh by date vendor, all of that set amount, whatever you want to filter out how those payments are going to look. And then a notice goes out to the clients. An email goes out, they approve what they want to pay, or maybe they got a discussion going with a supplier that I didn't know about. Then they just, they reject that one and then the payments go merrily on their way and the supplier gets a notice that that payment is on its way. So you're not fielding the phone calls of, Hey, when you hand me move, and it is, it's beautiful. I love it. 

MP: 26:03 Yeah, it's a, I use Plooto as well. It's, it's a, it really is just simple. 

KP: 26:08 Yeah, it's terrific. And it's funny because I had a few clients, they were reluctant. There is comfort in signing checks and looking at them and you feel a little bit in control. So there was a little more pushback on Pluto certainly than there was ongoing paperless at the front end. And as they started using it, it didn't take long before they were more than happy to give up control because they realized they even had more control when they could see the payments, what was happening, it was more visible. They felt more in control, not actually spending the time, those checks.

MP: 26:51 Yeah, j and t the just the visibility for both parties. I mean that's, I think Pluto, that number one word that comes to my mind is visibility, right? It's like everybody can see what's going on, where it's going and it takes a lot of the, you like if you, if you were going to be paying, you know, writing a check for somebody as an, as an agent, if you will, of another company. I mean that's putting a lot of responsibility on you as the bookkeeper and it's a lot of responsibility that's being given up by the owner, right? Access to bank accounts, all these different things. Where is this? That's a bridge that creates, gives you the ability to action something, a payment and then also somebody has to do is say, Yep, good, good, good. Or Hey, no. And then the client can see it coming at them. I mean it's, it really is. It's a disrupted big time. 

KP: 27:42 Sure. No, I will say there are a couple of great payment apps that have come along lately too. So I know that some of the API A's that I know they are starting to love some of the other ones I am sticking with Plooto, I love Plooto, but whatever. Pick one of these payment processing apps and get on with that. That is a huge one. 

MP: 28:05 Yeah, I agree. So payment, what else? What else are you using? 

KP: 28:09 Ah, I use workflow management. I'm not anybody who's listening to the podcast, you may know me may know that I am totally a workflow freak so I use 17 hats for my workflow and CRM. I also use QBO EOA the dashboard of QBO has a ton of information and it's a great CRM. You can put so much information into the QBO to track what's going on with your clients. It's awesome. But 17 hats for me is a huge win. The workflow is completely fantastic. Everything is organized by project. So my clients bookkeeping for the year is in a project folder if you will. And the emails are there and notes are there, quotes, questionnaires, contracts, everything is in one place. There is a client portal as well for anything created in 17 half but I use cube EOA shared documents from my secure document sharing and so those, those two programs, cube EOA, and 17 hats, 17 hats, you can embed all of the emails right in the workflow so you're not even jumping out of your workflow to go find an email to find it. It's actually partway through the order is the email you actually need to send out and my clients get a [inaudible] in the beginning or if they start to fall off the document wagon if you will, they get a Monday morning reminder telling them to refresh their hub doc and QBO bank feeds, connections, whatever you want and to get their documents, their receipts into hub dock and that was out every Monday morning. I don't even have to think about it. 

MP: 29:52 Beautiful. Well, you have just absolutely blown. I think everybody's mind was some peanut butter and chocolate, delicious Fintech apps, payment apps, workflow apps, all sorts of great stuff. It's been such a pleasure to have you on the podcast, Kellie. 

KP: 30:11 Oh, Michael it has been great to be here. If I can take away somebody's a, if you will, workflow or efficiency pain and just give them back that time to do whatever else they want. I will talk about this stuff all day. 

MP: 30:24 Beautiful. 

KP: 30:25 Great being here. Thank you. 

MP: 30:27 Awesome. And if people want to connect with you, what would be the best way to do that? 

KP: 30:32 Facebook. They can email me if I can take your phone call. I'll take the phone call in the moment. But um, Facebook is a, is a, a great platform. Uh, I have a group, it's called the workflow watering hole and one of the other groups I recommended and it was the successful bookkeeper cause as you know I love playing around in there but um, Facebook is probably the best way you can send me a Facebook message and that's what I use for non-client based kind of accounting professional point of contact. 

MP: 31:03 That's great. Well listen, I recommend everyone listening. Go to the successful bookkeeper phase for group search. Kelly, thank her for being on the show. And if you have more questions about Hubdoc and Receipt bank or any of these Fintech apps or workflow as Kelly and, and I'm sure she'll generously help you out. And uh, I could get where you're trying to get to. 

KP: 31:25 If I, if I could jump in for two seconds. What I love is if somebody posts a question, tag me in on it, but post the question, some of these groups, cause this, you have a question, I've got two, there's lots of people with the same question, so hesitate on piano and me if you think that somebody else is suffering from the same sort of pain point as you are. Quote a public post doc tagged me in it and I'm happy to, to jump in. 

MP: 31:49 Beautiful. So generous Kellie and it's been fantastic. Would love to have you back in the future to get some updates on what you're loving in the Fintech world and we'll say goodbye until next time. 

KP: 32:01 Okay. Thank you. 

MP: 32:02 Thank you. Well, that wraps another episode of the successful bookkeeper podcast. To learn more about today's guests and to get access to all sorts of valuable free business-building resources. You can go to Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com until next time, 

MP: 32:16 goodbye.