Melissa- Bookkeeper

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AWIC interviewed different local professionals for an inside look into their work. You can learn more about Accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311) through a detailed Career Profile.

Melissa Thompson is a Bookkeeper/Owner at MaMel Holding in Sault Ste. Marie.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The morning involves organizing the work for the day. Making sure the employees and myself have all the necessary paperwork to complete our to-do lists. I spend some of the early morning responding to emails and making various phone calls. The day is then filled with working on various work depending on the time of the month and year. It varies from dealing with CRA issues, payroll, payroll deductions, HST, data entry and meeting with clients on a regular monthly basis. Yearly you can expect to help file year ends, income taxes and T4s/T5/Other government forms.

What was the education and training needed for your job? Any additional training for your current position?

Education in bookkeeping and accounting is useful, although practical work experience is a major asset as the true knowledge to enter a file and complete the forms comes with practice. Knowledge of Sage and/or Quickbooks is also an asset. You need to be able to do spreadsheets, so knowledge of Excel is a must.

Why and when did you choose this career? What have you learned since you started?

My mother is a bookkeeper and I helped her as I was growing up. I frequently found myself in sales or treasury positions due to my strong skills in math. I chose this as my career because it works well with my personality traits and preferences for work conditions. You are constantly learning more and able to achieve more every year. You learn new Government restrictions and grow the amount you are able to do for a client from basic data entry to analysis of their financials.

What skills do you have that make you great at your job?

Analytical skills are needed to be able to notice something is wrong or if you have a problem – be able to solve it. Math skills, organization, computer skills, and people skills are also necessary for the job. Great communication and written skills are a must as well when communicating with co-workers, employers and government officials.

What is the biggest thing you have learned on the job?

CRA’s rules, regulations and penalties and how to manage audits.

What is the best part of your job?

Solving puzzles every day, as well as the consistency of month to month data entry with new things put in each time.

What is something challenging about your job?

Repetitive work can be challenging for some people as well as sitting down in front of a computer all day.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing the career?

Get practical work. start by joining a group and become the treasurer or help someone organize their year end folder if they run a small business for their income tax. See if you even like that kind of work. You will be sifting through a lot of paperwork! Also, get to know your CRA rules for payroll deductions/ HST and their due dates.

How would you say COVID-19 has affected your day-today-work? (Job duties, commute, check-in process, etc.)

COVID created a lot of work for our industry. We had many records of employments to do, grant searching/applications/rules to follow, helping our clients manage financially their budgets during this time. As an individual it is easy to work from home or in an office, but if you are working with others on files, COVID added a lot of extra time to make sure the files were correct and answer questions when you weren’t in front of the paperwork. We are considered an essential service so we were allowed to be open and the government did extend some deadlines with the first lockdown giving us time to adjust to the new working situations and questions clients had.

What has it been like to be an essential worker during a world-wide pandemic?

Stressful, exhausting, and fulfilling at the same time. Although there were MANY extra hours researching and helping to answer questions (a lot without income from clients – so you could help them out), it was great to see so many of my clients pull through the pandemic and part of the reason is because I could help them.

Have you experienced loss or personal struggles since the beginning of the pandemic? How have you and your co-workers coped with working through the shut-down?

Balance of home and work was verify difficult personal struggle – especially with young kids at home and trying to help them with their schooling. I didn’t really experience any loss of income, but there was more work to do and not really any extra money to make.

Could you share how being an essential worker during the pandemic has made this more personally fulfilling career?

Watching all my clients make it through the pandemic whether they were shut down or not as a result of my help and research was very fulfilling!

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