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IAM1757 – Accountant Helps Business Owners Accelerate Their Financial Mindset

Podcast Interview with Shona Bell

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In episode IAM1383 of the I AM CEO podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Shona, a certified public accountant, entrepreneur, real estate investor, wife, and mom. Shona is the founder and owner of a financial coaching and CPA firm, where she helps individuals and business owners accelerate their financial mindset and business goals.

In the interview, Shona talks about her journey as an entrepreneur and the importance of financial mindset for business owners. She shares her unique approach to financial coaching, which involves personalized service and expertise to help clients save money and improve their bottom line. Shona also discusses her inspiration for becoming a business owner, which was seeing the executive woman on top of the building with power in the movie Boomerang.

Shona shares her CEO hacks and nuggets, which include using client management tools like and video recording tools like Loom. She also defines what being a CEO means to her, which involves being a leader, willing to share yourself and your gifts for the betterment of a team and clients.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights into financial coaching for business owners and the importance of having a financial mindset. Shona's experience and unique approach to financial coaching makes this episode a must-listen for anyone looking to improve their financial situation as a business owner.

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Shona Bell Teaser 00:00

We close the books and we record the transactions, but the piece that's important that a lot of people miss is actually looking at the story that the numbers are telling. Like actually having a budget, actually reading those financial insights that tell you, are you on target? Do you have a target?

Intro 00:17

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 00:43

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.

In 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, 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 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 Shona Bell of Beyond Accounting and Tech. Shona, it's great to have you on the show.

Shona Bell 02:09

Thanks for having me. Great to be here.

Gresham Harkless 02:09

Yeah, super excited to have you on. Before we jumped into the interview, I wanted to read a little bit more about Shona so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

Shona is a Christian, philanthropic certified public accountant CPA evolved to an entrepreneur, real estate investor, wife and a mom. Her passion is using her gifts to help individuals and business owners accelerate their financial mindset and business goals.

She has worked for the top public accounting firms in corporate America with nonprofits for herself, and also coach many people in starting their own entrepreneurship journeys. She's currently the founder and owner of a financial coaching and CPA firm. She will be launching a financial mindset boot-camp, tech strategy, eBooks in a host of other products and services in the near future.

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Shona, great to have you on the show. Super excited to have you and all the awesome things you're doing. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Shona Bell 03:01

I am so excited. Let's go.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:03

Let's make it happen. So to kind of kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock, hear a little bit more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

Shona Bell 03:10

I just wrote that too. So I asked myself that question like a couple weeks ago, and this is gonna be pretty funny. Do you remember the movie Boomerang with Eddie Murphy.

Gresham Harkless 03:24

Yes, way back. Yes.

Shona Bell 03:26

So, as a child you're always asked like what do you wanna be when you grow up? I never really knew, but when I saw that movie and I saw Robin Gibbons in that red suit, she had that corner office overlooking like the city and like all those windows, I saw power. I didn't understand then what she did, but I knew she had power. She ran stuff and she was a woman. Leave out all the other nonsense that happened in the movie.

I'm just talking about, she was a businesswoman, she had the power, she had the corner office. From that point, I was like, I just wanna do business. I wanna do business. That evolved to going to school for marketing, which I didn't really understand what that meant. Then that evolved to accounting. That evolved to getting my CPA public accounting. Throughout all that I was just obsessed with like running business, like imagining what it would be like to have my own business and then accidentally started helping other people start their businesses. Didn't understand why everyone didn't believe they could do it.

What do you mean you don't know what you could do? Like of course you can run that. Of course, you can do that. I woke up and I'm like, wait a minute. I helped a bunch of people figure out how to monetize themselves and their talents, and now I'm still obsessive over it. You read off things that I want to do in the near future, but what wasn't listed there is I'm always wanting to do too much. I have three kids. I want each one of them to have their own business.

I'm just like, hey, we're living life. We're spending time together. Sure, let's go sit at the park. But on Tuesdays we're gonna talk about building and making them little CEOs. So I'm just like obsessive over it. Shark Tank and Undercover Boss when that came out. Like looking at the behind-the-scenes of how businesses were run, like these huge corporations that show fell off. But anyway, I hope that answers the question.

Gresham Harkless 05:13

Yeah, it definitely does. I appreciate you sharing that segment of the movie, that part of the movie, and how.

Shona Bell 05:19

Did you visualize that?

Gresham Harkless 05:20

Yes, I definitely could. Yes because it was funny, as you said it, I was gonna say that power dress that she was wearing and a suit that she had on and how she commanded the room. You just are captivated by that. It's so important to remind ourselves of that because those small things become big things.

And as you're talking about your kids, you're talking about the clients that you worked with and helped out. Those quote and quote small things that we're doing to help them out is creating in and of itself, like future CEOs, future entrepreneurs, people that are empowered to take over themselves and take over things financially and take over their business.

Shona Bell 05:51

Yeah. So all of us are unique and I learned that there were things planted in me. There are things planted in you, there are gifts, there are just certain things that are not planted in other people, but, not to say that they can't develop it.

So if you have something, and it could be starting a business or it could be supervising a business, like being the CEO, like when I worked for corporate and I had people under me, I planted in them certain things that they didn't consider, yeah, this is possible, this is doable. Let's do it this way.

A CEO, I'm not a psychologist, but I feel like it's teachable, but it definitely takes influence coaching if it's not already in there. You know what I'm saying?

Gresham Harkless 06:40

Absolutely. So I wanted to drill down a little bit more to hear how you're creating, how you're solving problems. Could you take us through a little bit more on how you're serving your clients and you're making that impact?

Shona Bell 06:49

So, the services currently we're providing CFO services. I don't call it bookkeeping. However, we do bookkeeping and it's because we close the books, we record the transactions, but the piece that's important that a lot of people miss is actually looking at the story that the numbers are telling. Like actually having a budget, actually reading those financial insights that tell you, are you on target? Do you have a target?

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I realize that it's easy to like close the books and all that, but so many clients or people that come to me, they're not looking at the numbers. They just think it's an exercise because I know at the end of the year I'm gonna have to get my taxes done and they might have already gone through that painful process. They go to a CPA and they have spreadsheets or Lord knows boxes of receipts, like no. Then they have to do the painful process then. So some people just do it as an exercise. But what we do is actually make it make sense. Use it and answer those questions throughout the year so that you understand.

I personally love sales. I got these courses, I wanna build sales are gonna be in it because we also do tax prep, that's just the legal obligation to get your taxes done or meet the obligation to the IRS. Then also tax planning, which is how you legally pay the least amount you need to pay in taxes. A lot of people don't understand the difference between tax prep and tax planning, where tax planning is what you do before the end of the year and then tax prep is what you do after all is said and done at the end of the year.

Those are the core services. Of course, there are other fun stuff that I'm looking to get into here shortly with courses. When you speak to business owners and they have the same questions and I'm like on a phone call with all my clients at different times on different days, I'm like let's just bring this all together. Let's just get together in a group and just over the audience. I have to just be more impactful and not spread myself too thin.

Gresham Harkless 08:55

Absolutely. It's so powerful when you start to ask yourself why that, the question of why you're doing X, Y, and Z, why you're doing and what you're ultimately, hoping to do. I almost wonder is that part of what I like to call your secret sauce, a thing you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

I heard shades of I don't know if you've heard of the highly Effective, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. But one of them is to begin with the end in mind. You got it on your bookshelf. I almost wonder if is that really what you feel maybe even sets you apart and makes you unique.

It's not just, doing the bookkeeping, doing the CFOs there. It's really just, I think, drilling down to more of the human aspect of businesses and organizations or like why you're doing what you're doing, what your goals are, and really, really asking those questions. Do you think that sets you apart and makes you unique?

Shona Bell 09:35

I think I would say yes. There are a lot of CPA firms and stuff that just take on clients, take on clients, take on clients. Clients come to me with so many of them saying, I can't get anyone on the phone, I haven't talked to my tax person just wants to talk over email. They're paying for a service and they think they're getting books reconciled and then they realize that, oh, it didn't happen.

So at a bare minimum, we need to do better you all. If you're a CPA listening to me and you have a big business. Again, we said it earlier, people just put this process of their business on autopilot. Okay, the books are happening and I'm paying someone, and by the time it's time to do my taxes, I'll be able to send a file. But then that's not really happening. So we got to do better. We got to raise the serve, we got to raise the bar. But then I feel like there's a higher bar to raise. Let's not just do the bare minimums.

Where are we all going? What is it for? Let's have that conversation. Why don't you wanna look at your books? Why don't you wanna talk about your tax? Why is your business not producing the way that you want it to? What do you want? So yes, I'm very passionate about business in general or just the operation of it all? It doesn't matter the business. Like my family and friends, every time I have a different experience. I just had my landscapers. For the first time we hired professional landscapers, right? Then the whole time my brain was just like, okay, I paid this much. He hired three guys. I wonder how much their hourly rate is.

It took them two hours to do the job. He came and talked to me twice. I wonder how much he profited on that, how many jobs they're gonna do per day. So hopefully he has someone doing those numbers for him. But then ultimately he should have a goal, like how many of those do I need to do in order to reach my savings goal, my financial freedom goal, my retirement goal, do I wanna retire early? That type of thing. Like I love having those conversations.

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My understanding is a lot of bookkeepers, CPAs, sorry, CPAs don't really go into that. So yes, that is my secret sauce.

Gresham Harkless 11:53

Nice. I love that.

Shona Bell 11:54

Understanding what you're good at, knowing what your gift is, and standing in that versus trying to do it all. There are things I am not good at and I waited way too long.

Gresham Harkless 12:04

Yeah, I love that. You're in the right place because it's the perfect place to talk. I almost I love that because it sounded like a CEO nugget, which I was gonna ask you about. Something you might tell your younger business self.

Shona Bell 12:13

Yeah. In this day and age, it's not necessarily always hiring a person. There are so many software and systems that do stuff. You just got to spend a little bit of, that was another mistake I made. Like it's ridiculous how many soft wares people get and then they send you, the good ones send you webinars, trainings, get you on the phone because they recognize if you don't use my software the way fully, you'll probably quit.

Like I get their thing and in the beginning I didn't do that. I feel like if you're trying to replace income, maybe not hire the person, but get the system. Get that piece of software that allows to take you out of this equation. I did so many things manually.

Gresham Harkless 12:57

You were touching around, I was gonna ask you around CEO hacks. So that's apps, books, habits, something that makes you more effective and efficient. What's one of those software or habits that you think has been most impactful for you? What I like to call your CEO hack?

Shona Bell 13:09

So Monday, there's a ton of them, but I leaned into and Loom. If I have those two things, for us, we can't rent. We can rinse and repeat to an extent, but every client is different. But then it's like you build it out, like every client has its own thing and this is, where you got to go to get this report. This is where you got to do for this specific client.

Then knowing, by the way let's record a loom for that because guess what? You may not be the person the next time or those are my software hacks. Then I guess the Day one, get help or actually have them in a position. If you can't, if you need two clients to be able to share the revenue, we'll already have the person identified.

Gresham Harkless 13:59

So 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 this show. So Shona, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Shona Bell 14:09

Being a leader, willing to share yourself and your gifts for the better of a team and clients. So, you serve two people as a CEO. You serve a team; your employees, and you serve the clients and you're willing to share yourself, your gifts to just bring everybody up, make everyone better. It's like your responsibility to make people better, a business, better clients, better selflessness, just share.

If it's your gift and you're standing and it's not hard, you gifted it. It was given to what you do.

Gresham Harkless 14:47

Shona, I truly appreciate that. Of course. I appreciate your time even more. So what I wanted 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 ahold of you found about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

Shona Bell 15:02

My website, which is under development is Then I'm on Instagram as shesacpa. Yeah, that's all I got. I'm on LinkedIn and all those things.

But yeah, you can reach out to me if anything here lands on you and you wanna chat more about it. I like to talk and help and serve. So yeah, that's what I got.

Gresham Harkless 15:28

Nice. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I definitely love that. We'll have the links and information, of course, in the show notes so that everybody can follow up with you as well too, to make it even easier.

Thank you so much for doing that, of course for today and in all the work that you do, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Shona Bell 15:43

Thank you so much. I had an amazing time.

Outro 15:45

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 I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google podcast, and everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. 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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