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IAM1756 – Accountant Assists Small Businesses Develop and Implement Accounting Processes

Podcast Interview with Aneka Winstead

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In episode IAM1547 of the I AM CEO podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Aneka Winstead, the CEO of WATT Business Solutions, a mobile tax and accounting firm. Aneka has over 10 years of experience in accounting, including corporate, state, and federal government. With WATT Business Solutions, Aneka specializes in helping small businesses develop and implement accounting processes, tax plans, and tax preparation. She also runs a non-profit called WATTKids, which aims to educate children about financial literacy and wealth building.

In the interview, Aneka talks about her journey as an entrepreneur and the importance of accounting processes for small businesses. She shares her unique approach to accounting consulting, which involves personalized service and expertise to help clients save money and improve their bottom line. Aneka also discusses her involvement in the non-profit sector and how she is helping to educate children about financial literacy.

Aneka shares her CEO hacks and nuggets, which include using a calendar and color coding to stay organized and creating systems that work for you and your team. She also defines what being a CEO means to her, which involves creating a life that you want to live and having the freedom to decide.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights into accounting processes for small businesses and the importance of personalized service in consulting.

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Transcription:

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Aneka Winstead Teaser 00:00

When I work with my clients, I wanna make sure that they have these things in place. Meaning, they are operating like a business, they have a business account, they've set it up where they're protected and their business assets are protected and their personal assets are protected.

So, I work with them from A to about D, and then if they need me past there, I can work with them as well, but I love to see them grow.

Intro 00:27

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs, without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:53

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, topics, or as I like to call them, business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, or what I like to call the CB Nation architects, those that are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focusing on knowing thy numbers. I could hear the phrases from Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank, and if you understand or don't understand exactly what numbers is, think finance, economics, accounting, capital, investment funding, bootstrapping, or anything that's around numbers. So, we have to understand how important it is to know your numbers and how important that is for you to forecast, make decisions, and to be able to truly strategize around your business and do that successfully.

Things are gonna be a little bit different, obviously, this month. So look for CEO hacks and CEO nuggets and interviews that focus around this. But more than everything else, make sure that you know your numbers because they're extremely important to the life of your work and your business.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Aneka Winstead of Watt Business Solutions. Aneka, super excited to have you on the show.

Aneka Winstead 02:20

Hello. I'm super excited to be here. Thank you so much for the invite.

Gresham Harkless 02:23

Yes. I appreciate you accepting the invite and looking forward to talking about all the awesome things that you're doing. Of course, before we do that, I want to read a little bit more about Aneka so you can hear about some of the awesome things that she's working on.

Aneka is a wife and mother of three boys, along with being the CEO of Watt Business Solutions, a mobile Tax and Accounting firm. Aneka received her Bachelor's in Accounting from Morgan State University in 2007 and a Master's in Business in 2012. She started her career as an accountant and over 10 years ago in public accounting and has gained experience in various industries while accounting, including corporate state and federal government.

With Watt business solutions, Aneka assists taxpayers with their taxes, and specializes in helping small businesses develop and implement accounting processes, tax plan and tax preparation. Aneka also runs a nonprofit WattKids, whose mission is to educate children about the basics of money and financial literacy while teaching them how to build wealth.

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Aneka super excited to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

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Aneka Winstead 03:24

I am ready.

Gresham Harkless 03:25

Awesome. Let's get it started then. So to kick everything off, what I wanted to do was rewind the clock, and hear a little bit more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

Aneka Winstead 03:33

I got started around 2016 and as you mentioned in the bio, I am the mother of three awesome little boys. After going through years of working with some four people all the time, I started off in public accounting and here I am at the government job that I've been at for about six years. Then, I'm really frustrated because I'm given a thousand percent and there is really no reward at the end. They say get a government job and you'll be straight. And then they say, work real hard, and you'll get the promotions and you'll get everything that is due to you. But none of that was happening.

I had my third son in 2017 and I had this life I wanted to live with my boys. I wanted to be able to spend time with them when I wanted to, and all of those things. I wanted to be this certain type of mother, so I wanted to stay home more and I just couldn't fathom being away from him that long. So I really got tired of people telling me what I could do when I could do it when I could take off, all of those things.

Like I said, I started doing taxes while I was working at my full-time job. Then in 2017, I took the leap of faith and I left my government job of seven years. Not that I didn't love the job, I just didn't love where it was taking me. There was nowhere to go. A lot of people look at that differently but that was my beginning. In 2018, I went full throttle, 2018 tax year was my first tax year on my own. I think I had about maybe 15 to 20 clients and that was the beginning.

That was the roughest year I've ever had in my life. But I've gone from 15 clients to now over 200.

Gresham Harkless 05:17

Nice. I absolutely love that. I appreciate you sharing the story because I think so many times we don't see the behind-the-scenes, we don't hear like those rough years, those rough patches. But I'm pretty sure you probably feel the exact same way as a lot of times you go through those challenges, but you kind of plant those seeds or even build that foundation and that's when you start to grow and grow and grow and start to go full throttle and see those fruits of your labor take off and start to bloom.

Aneka Winstead 05:41

Absolutely, man. I was in my own head about it. When I started I was like, oh, too many people doing taxes, too many people doing that. I was trying to cancel my future before it even started. In that same breath where I was saying there are too many people doing it also said that were they all successful? So let me go ahead and go ahead and do it.

I really hear that theme. I don't know if you see the memes or the people saying that it's too many people, it's somebody already out there doing it, but that's not you doing it. You're not out there doing it. And so like I really resonate with that because I had that imposter syndrome very early on, and I had to really flip it and is all about perspective. You can look at that as a challenge and walk away from it, or you can look at it as a challenge and walk into it.

Gresham Harkless 06:26

Yeah, absolutely. A lot of times, while of course, we go through that process of building the business and getting clients and doing all the things that you do in your business, I almost feel like while we're going through those challenges, sometimes through those difficult years of difficult periods, not only does the business sometimes get built, a lot of times we get built as well too.

You start to realize a lot about yourself, in addition to being able to grow that business.

Aneka Winstead 06:47

Absolutely, man. You hear about those programs, those executive programs that a lot of those high priced people go to when they wanna work for those really big firms and all those things. Entrepreneurship is that on a thousand, if you jump full force, then dive into it, man, it'll grow you up.

Gresham Harkless 07:04

So I wanted to drill down a little bit more, hit a little bit more on how you work with your clients, how you serve them.

Could you take us through a little bit more on what that looks like and love to hear more about your nonprofit as well, too, what you're doing there.

Aneka Winstead 07:14

Absolutely, man. I absolutely love the work that I do in both aspects. I've had the pleasure to work with some of the most awesome businesses over my tenure in just these short six years. I love the fact that they trust me. So my typical client is not so much as a startup, but it can be. I've developed tools to work with them too. But early on, I was doing a lot of workshops, and that allowed me to reach a lot of small business owners and small business owners that have typically been in business for maybe one to five years.

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The industry may vary, but a lot of them are service-based, meaning they're providing services for their clients as well. Some of them are product based too. However, In dealing with those clients, I help with every aspect. So, when I was working for people in public accounting and in the government and all those things like that, I was dealing with big, whether I was dealing with big corporate firms or big sections in the government. It's all the same. The principles are the same.

So I took the idea of, let me bring those high-level principles and guidelines down to the small business owners. So it may be internal controls assessment, making sure you have the proper controls in place, making sure that you don't have any fraud, waste, and abuse in your business, even though it's a small business. Making sure that you set up the back office the appropriate way so that you can run it like a business, even though you're a small business owner. According to the government, small business owners can make up to what, maybe 8 million, I think is it five or eight? Somewhere between those.

Even though you're a small business in size, maybe the how many people that work for your firm doesn't mean that cash flow is small. Let's get it straight. When I work with my clients, I wanna make sure that they have these things in place. Meaning, they are operating like a business, they have a business account, and they've set it up where they're protected and their business assets are protected and their personal assets are protected. I work with them from. A to about D and then if they need me past there, I can work with them as well. But I love to see them grow to work with a business from its inception.

Hey, I have this business. Maybe not an idea, but I have this business that I'm running. Help me to set it up, help me to put the right stuff in place, and then to see them grow to maybe change their structure from an LLC to an S CORP because they're doing so well in business and they need to change the way they're being taxed. Then helping them with the grants and the loans and just to see them grow like that, that's where I am with my business owners.

Gresham Harkless 09:41

Absolutely love that. So would you consider that to be like part of your secret sauce, the thing you feel sets you apart and makes you unique? It could be for yourself, the business or the organization, or a combination of both.

Aneka Winstead 09:52

I really have a desire to help. I think that I couldn't continue to do this work if I did not. Because they say once you find something that you love, you'll do it for free. I don't know if I'll necessarily do it for free, I'll give the information and I'm always a giver of information. That's secret sauce yet.

So I'm not doing everything for the dollar. I'm really doing it so you can grow, I'm doing it so you can get this information. So that you don't always need me and maybe I just become a resource and you're just checking in with me and you're just making sure you're on the right track. It's not mine to keep or to charge astronomical or an extreme amount of money for you to have it, but definitely I feel like everything is for purchase now and nobody really wants to give the information.

I think that as a people, that's where we fail sometimes because I was a part of the National Association of Black Accountants while I was at Morgan State University. Shout out to Morgan's Homecoming this week. But I was a part of that organization and their slogan is Lifting as We Climb. That has rained in the front of my mind as long as I've been an accountant, as long as I've seen that. So that is where I strive. That's what I strive to do and I think with that idea in mind that I'll always set myself apart because my passion is not the dollars.

My passion is the people. My passion is making sure that you're able to sustain your business because it's twofold, you're able to sustain your business and create that lifestyle for you and your family, and to pass it down if not, pass it down and sell it off, to provide that income to your children or as a child, to be able to have those fundamentals that you can have and that will change the trajectory of your life.

Gresham Harkless 11:36

Yeah, absolutely. That's phenomenal to hear that. And just a great reminder that it's not always the bottom line and sometimes the impact that we're able to make with our gifts and our knowledge and our expertise. So, absolutely love that.

I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Aneka Winstead 11:56

Something that makes me more effective and efficient is definitely my calendar. Maintaining it, color coding it. If it's not there, it is not. I'm not doing it because I don't know about it.

I'm always big on systems. I'll implement a system before I hire a person. And so, I'm always looking for a better system that does what I need it to do in my industry and making it easier for my clients.

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So the CEO hack that I would offer is to make sure you have systems on your team that work for you that make your job easier. Also make sure you have people on your team that actually allow you to be a business owner and not a self-employed individual.

Gresham Harkless 12:37

Absolutely we end up feeling like we're an employee for the software rather than an employee for our own business. That's not something you definitely wanna do.

What would you consider to be what I like to call CEO nugget? So this is a little bit more word of wisdom or a piece of advice. I like to say it might be something you would tell your favorite client or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Aneka Winstead 12:56

Always bet on yourself. Always bet on yourself. Man, I can go on and on as you've heard, but always bet on yourself. Yes, bet it all. Bet it all.

Gresham Harkless 13:07

I love it. I love it because so many times we won't bet on ourselves, and you talked about that imposter syndrome earlier on and so many times we can say that we can't do this or we can't do that because of X, Y, and Z.

A lot of times that's that imposter syndrome. But if you put everything you know up to Antsy and you start to really make that decision that I have this gift, I have this knowledge, this is my zone of genius, and we're gonna see where it takes me. That's when really phenomenal things happen. Love those nuggets.

Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition, of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping now different quote-unquote, CEOs on this show. So Aneka, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Aneka Winstead 13:39

Being able to create the life that I wanna live. Freedom is a precious thing and that could be time freedom. That can be health freedom. Financial freedom is only one aspect of freedom, but being the CEO of my business, and of my life means that I get to decide and heavy is the head, but I get to decide.

Gresham Harkless 13:58

Yes, absolutely. I love that freedom and I love how you broke it down in so many different ways because again, like we have those gifts, those opportunities to really create and see the world in the way we hope to see it. But only by sometimes making those bold decisions, betting on yourself, investing in yourself. That's when you have the freedom to really see that come to fruition.

Aneka Winstead 14:14

That's right. Embedding yourself and investing in yourself are two different things. You might get there, you might bet on yourself, but you be like, Ooh, that's too much. I can't do that. But you got to make that investment too. You got to make that investment to be able to grow and get to the heights that you dream of and please don't put no limits on God.

Gresham Harkless 14:32

Absolutely. Aneka I truly appreciate that and I'll definitely say Amen to all of that as well too because it's so important. What you get for is a lot of times what you ask for is a lot of times what you'll get. So it's so important to mind our words, mind our thoughts, mind the things that we're saying because a lot of times they come to fruition for better and sometimes not for so good as well too.

So truly appreciate that definition. Of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I want to do now is 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 people can get off of you, find about all the awesome things that you're working on.

Aneka Winstead 15:05

And you can best contact me. My Instagram is wattbiz.  My website is wattbizsolutions.com. But if you wanna chit chat with me over on Instagram, send me a DM and I can direct you to wherever you need to go.

Oh, and Watt has a lot of great information on the platform. So wattkids.org. So we have a downloadable business plans for the youth. We have a bunch of information in the age range that we're speaking to on the platform.

Gresham Harkless 15:38

Awesome. To make that even easier, we're gonna have the links and information in the show notes as well too so that everybody can follow up with you, and find out about all the awesome things you're doing for the youth, for the adults, and everything in between and all around.

I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Aneka Winstead 15:49

Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Outro 15:51

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co.

I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Want to level up your business even more? Read blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch videos@cbnation.co.

Also check out our I AM CEO Facebook group. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.

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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(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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