MANAGING DIRECTOR, BOOKSMART ACCOUNTING solutions
Alex is the Managing Director of Booksmart Accounting Solutions, a business she established in 2014 as a sole operator and has since grown the business at a rapid rate, moving offices three times for more space and now has a team of 6 members. A proud Novocastrian, Alex has been honoured to be featured in the Hunter Business Review’s ‘Women in Business’ issue in 2015, as a Hunter Young Gun for Hunter Headline in 2017 and on Novabuilt Marketing also in 2017. Alex’s hard work to date and contribution to the community was recognised in 2016, when she was a finalist for the Young Entrepreneur of the year at the Hunter Region Business Excellence awards.
- How do you manage your work/life balance?
I don’t believe in the concept that there is a difference between work and life. This rings especially true in my situation and to most business owners where their work/business is their life. I live and breathe Booksmart 24/7 and I am constantly thinking about clients, crazy marketing ideas, and ways we can better serve our clients and even when I am out socially I always have a business card on me because you never know who you might meet when you are out and about and what opportunities they may bring with them. Something I do feel strongly about is making time for yourself and investing in your wellbeing both physical and mentally. This will ensure you have a strong mind and body to conquer all the challenges that come your way in all aspects of living. Training at 5.15am every morning is my not so secret, ‘secret’ to staying on the ball and keeping on moving forward.
If you truly love what you do then there will be no need to separate work from life, it will all mesh together. Work doesn’t feel like work when you are genuinely passionate about what you do.
- Where do you see your industry heading and how have you positioned yourself to benefit from these changes?
Automation, automation, automation! I am in the Bookkeeping and Accounting industry and automation is changing the goal posts of how we service our clients. For the better. The introduction of automation allows us to service our clients at a higher level and not spend literally hours at a time on data entry. Keeping up with what is upcoming in the ever-changing landscape of accounting software and technology can be a full-time job in itself, however the next big move to rock our socks is Artificial Intelligence. Keeping on top of the progress of this and being aware of how it can save time and benefit our clients is crucial for growth and client satisfaction and therefore places Booksmart as a leader in the industry.
- What motivates and drives you?
The upbringing that I had was a struggle at times for my parents to support a family of 5 and to provide the best education and life for us to all succeed in our chosen aspirations. My parents instilled a strong work ethic in all of us kids and from this (and I know this is corny as hell), but I want to make them proud to make all of those sacrifices they made whilst growing up all worth it.
I make a conscious effort to put myself in the way of positive people and those that want to get the most out of life. Even if I am just listening to conversations and not participating (I am a little shy to start with) I sit there thinking ‘Ok, if they are doing X, then how can I think differently in my life to achieve Y’. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with so I choose with intent to be inspired and constantly challenged.
I get out of bed each day with the goal to be better than I was yesterday, I have a fire in my belly that was lit the day I decided to back myself, quit my job and start Booksmart. I believe that everything happens for a reason and ever since I started Booksmart I feel like everything is just falling into place like it should and how it was always meant to be. Having these feelings like I am living the life intended for me is on one hand so very strange but so empowering to know in your gut that you are on the right path and most important of all I am happy. Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success.
- What characteristics do you think an individual needs to be successful in your profession?
A passion for numbers, a belief that you can make a difference in the life of others by helping them with their business and a strong work ethic to make it all happen. I believe you need to keep your finger on the pulse with the game changing technology that is coming our way and learn to embrace it and not be scared of it. You need to be technically savvy (Accounting wise) and be able to stand out from the crowd, of which is becoming saturated with sub-par ‘professionals’. There are low barriers to entry in the Bookkeeping industry which I believe needs regulating to eliminate this problem and raise the standards of the Bookkeeping profession as a whole.I challenge you to question the meaning to you of ‘being successful’. In literal terms, a ‘Not for Profit’ organisation that is loss making is a successful business. However, the aim of a NFP is in fact to make a profit and use that money to give back to their chosen cause. Their definition of success is actually measured by the amount of people they can positively effect, rather than their bottom line. So, what is your definition of success?
- Do you have a life motto/mantra that keeps you going on those not so enjoyable days?
I have two and anyone who knows me should know the first one…
‘Your comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there’, I constantly have to remind myself when I am struggling with something or avoiding a task that I am growing and the only way to become a better person and business woman is to suck it up and get on with the task at hand. If I stuff it up, then that is an opportunity to grow once more.
My second is only new; ‘It might be a shit say, but it’s not a shit life’, this reminds me that everything is temporary and yes, today might not be going as planned but tomorrow is a new day and you have the power to make it better and brighter.
View Alex Nicolaidis on LinkedIn.