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Stephan Jalon
Managing Member and Bookkeeper
Jalon Bookkeeping, LLC 
  • What type of approach do you bring to bookkeeping?
    My approach is to try to blend with what the client needs. For some, all they want is to have things ready for tax season. So, that’s my approach. Someone else may need more thorough reporting, and I provide that. Some want to get very involved; some want as little involvement as possible.
  • How does the process work?
    I start by asking a lot of questions. What do they want from the books? For those who’ve had a bookkeeper, I ask: What were they happy about? What weren’t they happy about? Most clients who’ve had bookkeepers want continuity more than anything else. It’s my job to adjust. For those who are just starting out with a bookkeeper, I ask why. Some are new in business. Some may have gotten into some type of trouble. Some have been keeping books in some crude way, and now want to do it better. Some have been advised to get a bookkeeper by their accountant and now want to do it that way.
  • What is the unique benefit of working with your company?
    If somebody is primarily interested in having good financial management and control of their operation, I’m a good bookkeeper for that person. What I like most is measurement. I help equip people to make good decisions.
  • What are other ways in which clients benefit from using bookkeeping services?
    There are several ways clients benefit. One is simply knowing things are going to be done on time. Another is, like one client told me, ‘I just want to make sure I’m getting what’s coming to me.’ He is not the only person who feels that way. Another benefit is knowing how much you can live on from your business. Owners can have some seat-of-the-pants sense of this. But I’ve seen people get into trouble. One of the biggest causes of businesses failing is taking out too much money.
  • How many people work at Jalon Bookkeeping?
    Only I.
  • How long have you been in the bookkeeping business?
    Since early 2009. Before that I was a land surveyor and kept books for people during layoffs.
  • Do you work remotely or in person at clients’ offices?
    Whichever way works better for the client. When clients want me to work remotely, they have different ways of supplying documents or access to their software. I try to adapt to each one’s preference.
  • Do you prepare tax returns?
    On the whole, I don’t. I prepare Forms 1099-NEC and 1099-Misc. I have prepared certain state information returns from accountant-signed federal returns. However, I may not—and do not—sign anything. I do consult clients’ tax advisors about how to record transactions to make their work for the client more efficient.
  • Have you worked with payroll?
    Yes, a lot. The only thing I have not done over the years is work with online time clocks or commercially programmed time sheets.
  • What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?
    There is, indeed, an overlap, and it can be confusing. CPAs have accounting degrees and have passed a certification exam. They can sign financial statements and represent their clients before authorities. Bookkeepers cannot. Beyond that there are shadings. When I’m asked, I want to know more about people’s situations so I can make the answers relevant to them.
  • Do people ask you what kind of training or education you’ve had as a bookkeeper?
    No, they don’t. A lot of people ask to see a resume, and that shows my education. I’ve taken six accounting classes, and I’ve been certified by the National Bookkeepers’ Association, which means I passed an exam that, interestingly enough, concentrated a lot on payroll and internal controls. As a practical matter, you can have degrees and certificates and still not be what an organization needs. If you are looking for a process to make the bookkeeping go smoother, some people by their nature can help you with that. I’m a process person by nature.
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