IAM1749 – Founder Provides Simple Accounting and Financial Insights

Podcast Interview with Spencer Sheinin

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:
In episode IAM1060 of the CEO Chat podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Spencer Sheinin, a 20-year Certified Public Accountant and entrepreneur who owns businesses in manufacturing, construction, cold storage, real estate, and financial services. Spencer is also the best-selling author of “Entreprenumbers: The Surprisingly Simple Path to Financial Clarity”.
In the interview, Spencer shares his insights on accounting and financial management for businesses. He discusses the importance of understanding financial statements and how to use them to make informed business decisions. Spencer also talks about how he founded Shift Financial Insights, a company that provides simple accounting and financial insights for businesses on the rise.
Additionally, Spencer provides advice for entrepreneurs and business owners on how to better understand their numbers and make financial management less intimidating.
Overall, the episode provides valuable insights into accounting and financial management for businesses, and how to make the process simpler and more approachable.
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Spencer Sheinin Teaser 00:00

It took me a long time to go through the pain. So, even in the places where you're unhappy or not enjoying what you're doing, Or I did, I should say when I wasn't enjoying it, It's okay, what am I learning from this? How can then I apply it in a different way where I'm not gonna hate it?

Intro 00:15

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders? Without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:42

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different, where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories or topics or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, and what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on our greatest asset-talent management and hiring. Think from great resignation to the great renovation and if you disagree with me, maybe these episodes might be especially for you. Life and especially business has changed. It has forced those that are within organizations to look differently at talent, and how it's being managed.

When we talk about change, think about it, we have to realize that business as usual is no longer here. That's evident in attracting and retaining clients, but also in setting up people within organizations to succeed. Think onboarding, think DEI- diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. How it is working from home and even going back into the office.

Things are different in this month. We are going to explore these topics by featuring CEO hacks and CEO nuggets, but also interviews that focuses on these changes and how organizations can make sure they care for and attract the most valuable asset their people. Sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Spencer Sheinin of Shift Financial Insights. Spencer, it's great to have you on the show.

Spencer Sheinin 02:13

Great to be here. Thanks, Gresh. Nice to see you again.

Gresham Harkless 02:15

Definitely super excited to see you and have you on the show. Before we jumped into the interview, I wanted to read a little bit more about Spencer so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

Spencer has the rare and unique combination of speaking both the language of accounting and the language of entrepreneurship. As an accountant, he's a 20-year CPA, CA and as an entrepreneur, he's owned businesses in manufacturing, construction, cold storage, real estate, and now financial services.

Spencer is the best-selling author of Entreprenumbers: The Surprising Simple Path to Financial Clarity. He's also a highly rated international speaker, delivering, engaging and actionable keynote presentations and workshops to the industry and membership organizations such as EO and Tec Vistage.

With the goal of making Accounting not suck. Spencer is now CEO and Founder of Shift Financial Insights, providing ridiculously simple accounting and financial insights for businesses on the rise.

Spencer, great to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Spencer Sheinin 03:09

Let's do it. Looking forward to it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:11

Looking forward to it as well. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

Spencer Sheinin 03:18

Yeah, my CEO story goes way back. As you mentioned, I am a CPA. It used to be called the CA program in Canada. I did that and I admit I was like physically nauseous every day. I actually hated accounting and people who know me from those days are like, what you have an accounting practice now? They'll literally fall off their chair.

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Then I went into investment banking and I felt equally ill. It was actually quite a fluke. I end up doing a kind of little small real estate project here in Vancouver and I got to be really good friends with the builder. We just started talking and we had a very similar approach in life and in business. I had a lot of the bookmark, the accounting, the investment banking. He had a lot of business experience, but not a lot of kind of, we'll call it the schooling side.

We just thought that was a really beautiful potential partnership and we just decided I don't wanna say on a whim. We talked about it a fair amount, but we talked about let's get into business together. We actually went out and we found our first business, which was a manufacturing business. For me, the acquisition that's what I'd been doing. I'd been trained how to do those things. We finished the deal and I was like now what? I was transactional. I was an investment banker. I was an accountant. Once the deal's done, you move on. I remember walking in that first day and being like what do I do?

I actually, I didn't know what my job was, so I got into being a CEO in a bit of a funny, roundabout way. I intended to get into business, but I didn't. Even though I'm a CPA and an investment banker, I didn't really know what it meant when I got into it at the time.

Gresham Harkless 04:43

Yeah, that makes so much sense. I appreciate you sharing. It's so funny and I almost feel like nowadays it seems like everything evolves anyway. So even sometimes when we have a set definition, it definitely evolves, just over time in different industries and different types of positions.

Spencer Sheinin 04:55

Oh and I had no idea what I was up against. I thought it was gonna be easy. I was like, oh, I'll work hard. I'm a relatively smart guy. But no, it was 10 times harder than I thought it was gonna be.

Gresham Harkless 05:06

Yeah, that makes so much sense. I guess I wanted to drill down a little bit more, hear a little bit more on how that came into being, the business came into being, and your expertise and how you're able to meld both of those accounting and entrepreneurship together.

Spencer Sheinin 05:16

Yeah. So I was an entrepreneur for about 15 years. I had a few different businesses, as you mentioned in the intro. Then realized I wasn't in love with them. A lot of crazy things happened in my life where I just ended up in a situation, like me and my partner. But yeah, first business, a few businesses later, I'm like, how did I get here? Sounds really bizarre. But I also realized I wasn't intentional with what I was doing and I wasn't happy in those businesses.

Some of that was post-2008 trauma. Some of that was just recognizing that it wasn't my passion. I exited and it took a year to figure out what I was doing. During that time, I'd been very involved with the Entrepreneur's Organization. I was at a talk and there was a finance speaker who's a brilliant guy, but frankly over everybody's head. Everybody laughed because at one point I corrected one of his formulas and everyone's is like you are not even following it, but you're correcting them.

One of the guys at the table looked at me after and said, can you put this in my business for me? I know it's important, but I don't get it. That was my light bulb moment for Shift Financial. We all know it's important. We all know that accounting's important. I don't wanna say all, but most of us hate it, I don't like the day-to-day of accounting, but what's so critical is the stories that are built, that are buried in those numbers that even if you have a perfect set of books, you still can't extract the story.

So what? The meaning. That's what was the inspiration for what I'm doing now and really bridging the gap. Entrepreneurship's a language like it's own language. Accounting is its own language. I went to school for three years, how to learn to speak that language and write and create and so I see what I'm doing now.

I feel like super fortunate because I'm bridging this gap. I love working with entrepreneurs and CEOs. Bridge this gap between accounting and the struggle with accounting and make it the so what, the usable, and the story. So that's what we do now. Yeah.

Gresham Harkless 07:01

You might have already touched on this, but I was gonna ask you for what I call your secret sauce. This could be for yourself or the business or a combination of both. What do you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

Spencer Sheinin 07:09

Yeah, so we do the bookkeeping and we are the outsourced accounting department. I think there's a lot of those. To me, it is the ‘so what'. We've actually developed our own reporting software because I hate reporting software that comes out of accounting software.

So we'll actually extract the data through our API and then we'll actually present the information that makes the so what intuitive and easy to understand. So part, it's a mix of data visualization and knowing which numbers to pull. So if you're looking at the right numbers, you get punched in the face with what the story is telling you when it's done right.

What I look at as our secrets sauce is the so what to actually make the decisions. You always hear accounts saying, oh, we'll do the accounting so you can make better decisions. You can only make the decisions if you've got that. So what, you've got that story buried in the numbers.

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Gresham Harkless 07:53

Awesome. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This might be an app, a book, or a habit that you have but what makes you more effective and efficient?

Spencer Sheinin 08:03

Yeah, this is like one of my favorite topics, so I love that you're asking it. I do a lot, like I read a lot and I grab stuff, but I'll just share the one thing that I feel makes the biggest difference and it's part of my morning routine.

I'm sure you've talked to lots of guests about morning routines and it's one element of the morning routine, which is, what's the one thing I can do that's gonna move the needle the most for my business? And what's the one thing I can do that's gonna move the needle for me most personally? It can't be something that's already on a to-do list.

It's actually about the creative process of, okay, where am I? Where am I feeling stuck? How do I unlock this? And, eight, nine times out of ten, it's a benign nothing. But every once in a while there's this oh, how did I not see that? And then I'll act on it. I leave a gap in my mornings, no un-booked, where I actually go first, then I do those number one things.

Every once in a while that's like just a game shifter. Yeah, so that one thing more than anything else I do, I think moves the needle the most for me.

Gresham Harkless 08:58

Awesome. Awesome, awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. You might have already touched on this before, but this could be a piece of wisdom or a piece of advice that you might give yourself. Or if you were to hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Spencer Sheinin 09:11

I can either give a finance one or I can give a general one. Where would you like to go with that?

Gresham Harkless 09:15

Let's go to the finance one.

Spencer Sheinin 09:16

The finance one I did allude to. So for me, it's two major things that I think completely open people's world from an empowerment standpoint. Number one is data visualization. Quick story, through our API. When we're talking to prospects, we often go to our API and I'll do a presentation like, this is what your data's gonna look like.  I've had a couple of people when I send it to them saying, no, that's not right.

I'll go, okay, can you pull the data from me? No, it is right. They had in their mind something, but because it wasn't in a data visualized format where they could intuitively and immediately understand it, they didn't until they saw it. They're like, oh, that is right. Oh my God. So data visualization, very simple line charts, pie charts. It doesn't have to be complicated.

The other thing is focusing on those key levers, starting with what is the number one lever that's most out of whack here and let's go solve that. Let's not worry about the $2,000 problem if we have a $20,000 problem. So yeah, those are the two. Data visualization. Data visualization.

I speak a lot. Every time I do a presentation, people are like, oh yeah, this is the number one thing I have to do. Then two, it's shining a light on those levers. You get those two things right, your finance game will change immediately.

Gresham Harkless 10:25

Yeah, absolutely. You can take the world from there. I love that you mentioned that, because I think especially as we talked about a little bit most people will look at finances often when you see all those numbers. You, imagine people just shut down or they glaze over or they don't want to deal with it.

But to make that visualization, they're taking that data and making it visualized allows that opportunity to really see the picture, see the story probably a little bit better. I imagine people are more likely to want to, as you said, shine the light on those things that will move the needle forward.

Spencer Sheinin 10:52

It goes from being what I call a source of pain to a source of power. Where it's like you're running away from it, but now it's okay, give the stuff because I know what to do with it now. Yeah.

Gresham Harkless 11:01

Yeah. Absolutely. We have a little bit more time, so if you wanna give us the other nugget we would be more than grateful.

Spencer Sheinin 11:06

Oh, cool. Yeah, I mean for me in general, it has to do with passion. This is a bit of a cliché, but following the passion. I don't love accounting, but I love analytics. I love strategy. I love that. So I actually ended up building a business around, okay, let's make the accounting not suck, let's actually do the important part of the accounting and finance department.

It took me a long time to go through the pain. So, even in the places where you're unhappy or not enjoying what you're doing, or I did, I should say when I wasn't enjoying it, it's okay. What am I learning from this? How can I then apply it in a different way where I'm not gonna hate it. I have a team that does the bookkeeping, the accounting, the controllers, all of that's handled and we've got great people. Then I get to do the part I love. So, life by design, how do I create how I wanna live, do what I do.

I love working with entrepreneurs. It's so energetic. Then, you do what you do for the same reason, right? The energy, the enthusiasm, and the entrepreneurs can change the world, right? I'm here to help them through their financial blind spot. So, passion, passion, passion, what's the source of passion. If I'm not in a place of passion, how do I spin what I'm doing? What's the number one thing I can do in the morning to go from a place of not being in a passion to a place of passion.

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Gresham Harkless 12:13

Yeah, that's extremely powerful. I love that you explained that and broke that down because I think so many times like you said, if you don't love numbers or don't love accounting or whatever it might be, you might say, I want no part of running an accounting business.

But in reality, if you drill down and understand what your true passion is, the source of your passion, as you said so well, you start to realize that maybe it is bridging the gap. Maybe you don't love it. Because you have a gift or an opportunity that can change that industry, so I love that you share that and of course, that you're doing that in your business as well.

Spencer Sheinin 12:43

Sometimes you have to go through the curse of excellence to get there, yeah. The curse of excellence is you're really good at it, but you hate it. And I had to go through a lot of that to get to finding what I actually love to do, so, it's a journey.

Gresham Harkless 12:55

Absolutely. I'm a big believer in it, and action will lead you there. So as far as you are taking that action and then looking at that action and seeing, does it work or does it not work? And continue to take action towards that's where those things come from.

Spencer Sheinin 13:06

Yeah. Agreed.

Gresham Harkless 13:07

Awesome. Awesome, awesome. Spencer, truly appreciate that. I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on the show. So Spencer, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Spencer Sheinin 13:19

Yeah, I love it. I love that question too. I believe as a CEO I have an opportunity to change the world and whether that's the small corner of my world by helping a few other entrepreneurs have a great place to work or whatever it is.

This is actually my opportunity to contribute to the world, and I think that's both a responsibility and an obligation of a CEO to actually do things positively. For me, my why, by Simon Sinek, why is I believe entrepreneurs can change the world and my role is to help them through their financial blind spot.

It's a gift that I have. It's a gift that I can give the world. If one of the entrepreneurs I support does something positive for the world, then that's my way of multiplying myself out, so.

Gresham Harkless 13:56

Yeah, I love that. I love the word responsibility and definitely, we don't hear the word enough obligation. I think that when we are giving, certain gifts we do and are able to help empower people and give them that opportunity to really be in their zone of genius, which allows us to really make a huge impact in our own specific way. I think if we all can lean into that and do that, just as you said so well and are doing so well, then that's something where the world can definitely watch out.

Spencer Sheinin 14:20

Yeah. Love it.

Gresham Harkless 14:21

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Spencer, truly appreciate that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do was just pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course how best they can get ahold of you. Get a copy of the book, and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Spencer Sheinin 14:36

Yeah, thanks. I'd actually like to offer your listeners again if anybody's interested in actually me reading their financials to them, sucking the data into our API it does not have to be QuickBooks online, but if you are interested, send me a message

Depending on how many get, I'll do one or two. I won't do everybody. It's a bunch of work on my end. But I'm happy to do that as a gift to you Gresh, and to your listeners as a thank you for having me. Not com. Somebody bought and is holding it ransom and I refused to pay for it.

The book Entreprenumbers you can look it up on Amazon. It's kind of anywhere where you'd buy your book. Unfortunately, there's no audio version. That's only because there's so much data visualization in there. It was hard to kind of bridge that gap. Then, at, you'll find more data. There are a bunch of pre-downloads and resources. There's a sample of a case study I did live with somebody where they move from3 to 10 in empowerment in 15 minutes. So there's a bunch of free resources.

We just launched our breakeven calculator, another free resource where it's if you wanna figure out what do I need to sell to breakeven. What if I hire new staff? There are a bunch of scenarios you can put through there. So a bunch of free resources, everybody's free to use. If you think I can help you out and help you get from a source of pain to a source of power, Always happy to chat.

Gresham Harkless 15:47

Awesome. Awesome, awesome. Thank you so much, Spencer. We will have the links and information in the show notes. Hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 15:52

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation in Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community.

Don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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