Building The Premier Accounting Firm

From Home to Business: Donna Harris’ Story of Starting a Remote Accounting Firm

Picture of Roger Knecht

Roger Knecht

President of Universal Accounting Center

Episode Details

In this episode of the podcast, host Roger Knecht engages in a dynamic conversation with Donna Harris, founder of Bookkeeping Made Simple. Together, they dive deep into her journey of starting an accounting business and navigating the life changes that come with being an entrepreneur. This is a great look at how professionals from all walks of life become accounting entrepreneurs, as well as how it’s possible to achieve the work/life balance you desire at the owner of your firm.

Your Host: Roger Knecht, president of Universal Accounting Center

Guest Name: Donna Harris

Donna founded Bookkeeping Made Simple with the understanding that small businesses are the heart of the American economy. After offering to do books for a friend who said he didn’t have enough work to keep someone in the office 20 hours a week, she recognized the need for an efficient, online system. She has 20 years of bookkeeping and accounting experience and is excited to help small business owners achieve their goals. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling whenever possible. She is the firstborn of eight children and a mother to five.  She also loves hiking, camping, cooking, yoga, and fitness.  A huge believer in lifelong education, she recently earned her MBA and is currently working on her Master’s of Accounting.


Donna shares her journey from studying Computer Science in college to working with family members and acquaintances who needed bookkeeping services at their companies. The only problem, they said, was that there wasn’t enough work to hire someone full time. Donna saw opportunity and founded Bookkeeping Made Simple.

They discuss the value of niching, and specifically the opportunity that exists in working with solopreneurs or micropreneurs, who may not have the resources to hire big accounting firms.

Donna reveals the challenges that come with being a single mother and starting a business, including developing boundaries and a comfortable work/life balance. Starting an accounting business and working from home allowed her to homeschool her kids.

Roger and Donna explore how Donna’s upbringing motivated her to work hard and live up to her responsibility to care for those in her life as a professional.

They emphasize the difference in tax code for large corporations like Amazon and Space X compared to small businesses, to whom saving money and cash flow are of paramount importance.

Donna introduces specific examples of how she navigates communicating with clients and offers strategies for identifying transactions, like using a SharePoint folder to upload receipts.

They share insights on how aspiring entrepreneurs can start an accounting business, a bookkeeping business, or a tax business, and highlight the importance of learning bookkeeping online and taking online tax courses.

Donna explains the importance of taking a step back from the business and trusting your employees to handle business on their own when personal or family issues require attention outside of the business.

Notable Quotes from this episode:

“I’ve been reading a lot in the industry news that there’s a real shortage of accountants and accounting professionals. I know everyone has a hard time finding employees because no one really wants to go into the field or they think that we’re all going to be replaced by AI. I don’t see that happening. There’s too many judgment calls and accounting.”

“I saw firsthand how entrepreneurship really is the backbone of America… I think that’s what really drove me to choose the very small businesses as a niche.”

“I know a lot of big businesses are really, really pushing a return to the office and I think those are going to be the ones that get left behind.. I think working from home, remote work is an expectation now.”

“The most common misconception is that I’m a CPA. I am not. I have a bachelor’s in accounting and I have an MBA, but I have never fulfilled the requirements to have a CPA license and I don’t need it. I don’t do auditing and I don’t work with publicly traded firms, so why go to all that trouble?”

“The client, they don’t know what they don’t know. We have to be very upfront and tell them, we need these bank statements and this bank access from this date to this date, we need these receipts. And this is why.”

Join Roger and Donna in this thought-provoking discussion as they highlight the momentous opportunity that exists for accounting professionals with an entrepreneurial spirit. Discover the ability that anyone with a basic understanding of accounting has to help business owners in their community with their books. If you’re considering starting an accounting business, a bookkeeping business, or a tax business, or if you want to learn bookkeeping online and explore online tax courses, this episode is packed with valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs.




Universal Accounting Center

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