This post is part of our Behind the Books series where we introduce you to the incredibly talented and hardworking people that make up the Acuity team. We’re excited for you to get to know them.
Meet Brigette Killion, 5-star cloud accounting specialist and gym owner! If you’d like to skip the transcript, you can watch the full interview at the bottom of this post.
First of all, congratulations on zero churn for 2019, and for being the first recipient of the MITCH award!
Oh, well thank you. You guys have created the environment for it to happen, honestly, and I respect and appreciate the Acuity team for doing that.
Where are you from?
Originally I’m from Minnesota, but we moved down here [to Atlanta] when I was about 11. I moved back to Minnesota for about three years in my early twenties, but the rest of my time has been here in Georgia — mostly the Metro Atlanta area.
How did you get into accounting?
Do you know people say they have callings for things? I have always been attracted to numbers and problem-solving, and I like rules, order, boxes, and labels. I love all of that. When I walked into my very first accounting class, the professor was at the front of this auditorium-style classroom writing T-accounts on the board. I got so jacked up, seeing that, and I thought, “oh, this is it, these are my people, this is where I belong.” Prior to that, most of my jobs had veered into the accounting side of things, so it felt natural. I was very drawn to accounting and finance, and that’s kind of how it started.
What is your favorite client at Acuity?
I have a few favorites — and for different reasons. I really enjoy working with Excel Health (now Trella Health). They have just been extremely consistent in how we set up processes. They’re very responsive, and they’re respectful of my time, so when they do have an emergency request for something, we know that it’s actually a priority. There’s just a lot of respect and good communication and I really enjoy that aspect of our working relationship.
I also really enjoy working with Nico from Dance of the Deer. He travels a lot and they have a really complicated situation. They’ve got six entities and they’re evolving, but [Nico} is incredibly respectful and receptive of our suggestions. I think that the clients that I have good communication with — even if their problems are complicated or they have challenges — are the best to work with because they have respect for what we’re doing and they see value in the accounting.
What does a normal day look like for you?
I would say I have periods of normal during the day, but there’s no “normal” day for me. My day usually starts by checking my email and Slack for messages. I keep a spreadsheet of all of my clients, and I have a column for each with a list of tasks that need to be done. I also mark and color code the status of each task, so I know where I’ve left off the day before. If somebody is yellow or red, for example, I know there’s something I need to do first thing in the morning.
At the end of the day, it’s just a matter of prioritizing and sort of triaging so that I know what to dump on the next day. It’s important for me to keep my priorities organized when you have multiple clients; to try and stay present in the moment with each conversation with each client so that you don’t have any crossover. You don’t want to accidentally use the wrong name or reference the wrong account, so keeping those boundaries around each client will prevent those mixups.
You’re very organized!
You kind of have to be when you have a lot of clients or things that need to get done!
Why is Acuity a good fit for our clients?
Acuity is a great solution because we have enough employees so that clients are never left hanging. There are also levels of expertise within Acuity that can be drawn upon, so as a bookkeeper, I can ask a question to a whole team of controllers and a whole team of CFOs and get an accurate answer. We have access to technology partners so that if a client needs a better solution, we can solve that problem for them.
Acuity offers a deeper pool of resources than just one individual person. Theoretically, an individual bookkeeper could build a community by participating in professional organizations, but this is a whole team of people that is right there at their fingertips and is dedicated to making each client successful and happy. I appreciate that at every level — every person in the organization is always looking for opportunities to problem solve for the client. So I know that if I come across something as a bookkeeper that might need to escalate to a controller or potentially a CFO, I can pull in our customer success team and ask them to give the client a call and assess their needs from a different vantage point.
I don’t think a client should ever feel that they’re left out there alone. With Acuity, they’re never going to be left hanging. Their accounts aren’t going to disappear with their records and their taxes won’t be filed late. I enjoy working for our client that I know I can say, “we have your back.” Nowadays, people appreciate that personal touch and they like knowing that someone is there to hold their hand and get them through the complicated stuff. Accounting can be mentally taxing, and taking that burden off the client is very, very helpful to them.
The MITCH award stands for measured, independent, transparent, curious and happy. As the first recipient, how do you feel about it?
Since it’s brand new, it’s going to be interesting to see the next recipients. I was awarded under “curious,” which was interesting because I do think of myself as having a lot of curiosity. Overall, I’m just honored. I mean, it’s nice to receive some kind of recognition, especially when we work remotely as opposed to in an office where we might always get that sort of feedback. So that’s very nice. You know, you can only do so many self-congratulatory dances in your own office by yourself!
Is there anything else you’d like to share that people would find interesting about you?
Some people might find it interesting that I also own a gym. I have a private office there that I do my accounting work in, so I’ll see members coming in and out. It’s nice because people will stop and ask me questions, and it gives me a little mental break every once in a while to talk about strength sports and health and fitness. I think it can be really helpful sometimes to walk away from a complicated mental problem and get into the physical realm. So yes, I own a gym. Some people might think that’s odd, but I find it interesting!
Thank you so much, Bridget. And you know, we appreciate you and thank you for being a part of our team and our family