Meet Paula Small…
…self-proclaimed “numbers counselor,” Not-For-Profit Accounting Help blog reader, and lifelong volunteer. Paula owns a bookkeeping and payroll services business called Small Stepping Stones. Her business focuses on small businesses and sole proprietors. Recently though, she’s been diving into accounting for non-profit organizations.
Paula was a numbers girl from the start and she’s always been an accounting book worm. She used to go to the library (before the internet) and read 990’s just to learn. That curiosity is certainly paying off now that she’s incorporating not-for-profit accounting into her practice!
Paula told us that she’s been a volunteer all her life. In just the past few years she’s given her time and energy to a number of different causes, from the Cascade Aids Project, to Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) and the Sexual Assault Resource Center.
Most recently she’s volunteered for KBOO Community Radio. When she started she helped with programming. The station features a wide range of music and news, from heavy metal to Jewish music, from “The Eavesdrop” a call in talk radio show to “Paula’s Picks,” eclectic music and spoken word. The last two are hosted by Paula herself!
It seems Paula was always meant to be a not-for-profit accountant and it was only a matter of time that her love of numbers and volunteer spirit came together.
As Paula got more involved with the station, she found herself suggesting ways to help them keep track of their finances. It wasn’t long before she found herself as the Board Treasurer, and learning Not-For-Profit accounting from the inside out. (On a side note, I used to hold the same position and I had no idea the new treasurer was a reader until now, and she didn’t know that I was so nearby. It is a small world!)
She took what she knew from her work as a for-profit accountant, and mixed that knowledge with a healthy dose of self-learning. She started with an old book from the 1970’s that was mostly focused on governmental accounting, but it gave her a starting point to dive deeper into the subject. Her curious and studious nature helped her learn quickly and apply it to her new responsibilities.
Her experience as a volunteer for KBOO, has made her comfortable picking up non-profit clients in her own business. She has noticed that “a lot of non-profits had software they didn’t know how to use,” and likes to help these organizations put the tools and resources they already possess to work for them.
Thank you Paula for your story!