So who are you anyway, and what do you do?
My name is Kirsten, and just to help you all out – it’s pronounced “KEER-stuhn”. I am the founder and CEO of Verte Consulting, a company that customizes the cloud-based accounting app called Xero, and it’s add-ons to suit SMBs. We work mostly with retail, e-tail, and restaurants. In my role sometimes I am a cheerleader, an accountant, a coach, and/or a geek.
What was your last job before getting into this?
I ran a website design company that I had started while in art college.
And why did you decide to do what you do now?
Serendipity. Honestly, I wasn’t entirely happy with the design industry and was stuck in a rut looking up at a glass ceiling. I’d made the decision to change careers but didn’t know what I was going to go. Teach yoga? be a bohemian gallery artist? When faced with a sudden divorce and a timely request from a colleague to help out their new SEO company, I started freelancing as an accountant & then word spread. I found myself in high demand, as well as found out that people couldn’t make heads or tails of anything finance-related. Their eyes would just glaze over. Then I’d come in and whip it all into shape. It’s since grown and evolved into the business I have now.
What is it about the 60/70/80/90s that you miss most? (Choose one)
The 90’s. I was in the Northwest during the grunge era. It was like “Portlandia”. I miss my Docs (Dr Martens).
What is the biggest challenge facing SMEs today?
I think most owners decide on a business because it is close to their heart in one way or another. I think the biggest challenge is internal – how to still do something that you love but remember that it’s a business (as opposed to a charity). They need to approach it with a business viewpoint, to disconnect themselves from the emotion of it, and make rational business decisions.
Can cloud software solve that challenge? And if so, how? And if not, what can?
Definitely. Cloud software is more accessible, more secure, and more customizable. On top of all that, it’s less expensive and more economical. And if you’re clever, you can put together a system where different apps integrates with each other. You can save the cost of one administrator, or the cost you’d have incurred with compliance penalties. It will allow them to follow their dreams – and keep a business going.
If you could retire now, what would you do? Or not do?
I don’t believe in retiring (I say that as I’m still young and the idea seems preposterous to me), but I like to play the “what if” game: “what if I had a million dollars and could do whatever I wanted – what would it be?” I’d like to think I’d still be just as excited about my company, but spend more time with volunteer organizations that I work with, spend more time making art, and spend more time snowboarding.
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Don’t worry about burning the candles at both ends, you’re not a candle.
If you could buy anyone a drink in a bar and chat to them about anything, who would it be, what drink, and what would you talk about?
HH Dalai Lama. I imagine he’d order a kombucha. I’d ask him about his optimism for humanity.
If you could walk up to anyone, kick them in the shins and shout something at them, who would it be, and what would you shout? Go on….get it off your chest!
Psychiatrists who prescribe medication to children (and adults). The drugs are connected to all the recent shootings in the US, have dozens of international regulatory warnings, at best turn people into mindless robots and at the worst – well, we’ve all seen it.
If you could walk up to anyone and hug them, who would it be, and why?
A unicorn. Because that would be pretty awesome if they existed.
What’s your favourite meat and gravy meal?
Chocolate chip cookies and (almond) milk.
What is your greatest achievement?
Rescuing my husky when she was just 10 weeks old (she’s almost 5 years now!)
What do you want to achieve that you haven’t as yet?
How about winning an Oscar?
What’s next for you?
Verte Consulting is adding clients each month and growing with the US expansion of Xero. We just added a support ticket and knowledge base app for our clients, so busy getting that up there for them. Also, snowboarding weather is approaching…
Kirsten is CEO and founder of Verte Consulting