The Inspiration behind BookieBook
Meet Mel Dowie
Mel Dowie started her professional career working in as an accounts assistant in the corporate industry in Bermuda where she was born and raised. It was here that she first experienced the cut and thrust world of managing the accounts for a large organisation. This all changed when she moved to the UK and decided to set up on her own, offering a personal bookkeeping service for smaller business owners.
When she launched her business, one of Mel’s personal gripes was the widespread use of the SAGE accounting package. Although this software was universally used in the industry, it failed to provide clients with real time visibility and access to reporting of their numbers, particularly if hosted by their accountant or bookkeeper. She believed this was a contributing factor to clients simply dumping their books with their accountants, leading to a reactive service, rather than an ongoing relationship that explored how they could change the business or the way things work.
Mel thought that she had found an answer when she joined the Crunchers franchise. This franchise had developed software that was based upon an easy to use Excel spreadsheet system, which gave bookkeepers the chance to demonstrate and discuss the figures with clients. Unfortunately, in Mel’s experience the system was widely shunned by accountants, and at that time the franchise failed to gain the vital traction to launch to the next level. Of course, with Mel being ever resourceful, she managed to gain a huge amount of sales and marketing knowledge from the franchisor.
In 2011, Mel was delighted to discover the Xero accounting system. As clients became more open to working on the cloud, this software gave her the break she needed. Many clients took on the package thinking that they could fulfil their bookkeeping obligations themselves. However, many of them misjudged its complexity so she was soon dealing with clients and helping them understand how to use the system.
Over the next few years Mel’s business evolved around the use of Xero. Soon she began to only work with clients that used Xero and Receipt Bank, a receipt and data entry processing program, giving her the platform to open up discussions with her clients about the financial progress of their business. She found this led to better relationships where she could deploy her substantial knowledge on matters of growth and management.
However, Mel is aware that there are many businesses now that still don’t like to use technology and only see their figures as a by-product of their enterprise. Small craft and home-based businesses where passion and creativity are the driving forces tend to avoid the numbers. But she understood that often these people are the ones who could benefit most from her experience.
This led Mel to create BookieBook as a financial map for smaller businesses. Using the knowledge that she’d gained from the previous years, she outlined the key information and facts that this audience needs to understand in order to get a better handle on their finances. By slowly refining and stripping back the content, she constructed a very simple and quick to use system that takes all the brainpower and effort out of the recording and assessment process.