BookkeepingFinancesI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM1770 – Business Owner Helps Others Navigate the Accounting World

Podcast Interview with Christopher Aborqui

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of the I AM CEO podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Chris Aborqui, a 24-year Navy veteran and small business owner who provides outsourced bookkeeping, payroll, and tax services to other small business owners in the Virginia Beach area. Chris shares his insights on the challenges of accounting for small businesses and the benefits of outsourcing to professionals.

Throughout the interview, Chris emphasizes the importance of having a clear understanding of your finances and seeking help when needed. He also discusses the benefits of using technology to automate and simplify financial processes, as well as the challenges of entrepreneurship and the importance of perseverance.

Chris shares his CEO hacks and nuggets, which include staying organized and focused, and defining success on your own terms. He defines being a CEO as having the vision and drive to make things happen.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights into the importance of financial management for small businesses and the benefits of outsourcing to professionals like Chris. Chris' experience and expertise in the field make this episode a must-listen for anyone interested in improving their financial processes.

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Transcription:

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Christopher Aborqui Teaser 00:00

When I first started my business, I was just offering bookkeeping services, and I noticed that when I started, people were asking, do you do taxes as well? I was like, yeah, I actually do taxes. It's not something I was focusing on, but when I put those two together and packaged it together our business just took off.

Intro 00:15

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 are in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:41

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, 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 and I had a very special guest on the show today. I have Chris Aborqui of Light the Way Business Services. Chris, it's awesome having you on the show.

Christopher Aborqui 02:07

Thank you for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:08

No problem. Super excited to have you on and learn a lot more about all the awesome things that you're doing. Before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Chris so you can hear about some of those things.

And who says accounting isn't sexy? He is sure nobody ever has thought about that. But for business owners, it's a necessary evil. Chris, 24 year Navy veteran chose to help small business owners navigate the accounting world by providing outsource bookkeeping, payroll, and tax services.

As a small business owner himself in the Virginia Beach area, he understands the struggles business owners face managing their business.

Chris, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Christopher Aborqui 02:42

Hey, hey, I'm ready to do this. Let's go.

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Gresham Harkless 02:43

Let's do it. So to kick everything off I wanted to hear a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through what I call your CEO story? What let you get started with your business?

Christopher Aborqui 02:51

Yeah. It started back in 2018. I was about two years away from my retirement date. Like I said, I've been in the Navy for the past 24 years, I just retired. Before that, I was thinking about what did I wanna do after spending pretty much my whole entire life almost in the military. And I realized I didn't want to work for somebody else. So I decided that I want to build my own business.

I did have a background in doing tax returns since 2010. So I just built upon that. My mom, she was a business owner and she still is. So I started looking at doing her tax return and I was like, you know what, if you actually kept track of everything throughout the year, It would be easier to do your taxes at the end of the year. So that's what I started doing. I started building a bookkeeping business that translated into being able to do tax returns at the end of the year.

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I had two years to build it up, and so that's what I started doing. I just built it up really slow, and then soon as I retired, I was able to just walk right into a full-time business that was already supplementing my income of what I was doing in the military. That's how I got my start.

Gresham Harkless 03:52

Nice. I absolutely love that. I love it because so many times people think about businesses and they think that you just snap your fingers and wake up and then you're a successful business, but there's a whole process that goes along with that. I love that you were able to coincide that with your leaving the military and all the great service that you provided there.

Christopher Aborqui 04:08

It's just the making that transition, going through that retirement class at the end when people start saying, what am I gonna do? I don't even have a college degree. I don't know what I'm gonna do. I'm just gonna get out the military. I didn't wanna be in that position.

So when I was going through my retirement classes, they call it, how to transition, how to do a job interview. It's like I already had all this done. I already knew what I was gonna do. I already had a business going. So, I was fortunate to plan for that.

Gresham Harkless 04:30

Yeah, absolutely. I feel like and you definitely could probably speak to this, especially being in the military, you have the consistency, you have the ability to do those foundational skills that to me make it more likely for you to be successful in business as well.

Christopher Aborqui 04:41

Yes. Having that leadership background and being able to direct things and being in the military, there's a lot of precision that needs to be done. So, that's the way I just looked at it, being precise of what I needed to do and get it done.

Gresham Harkless 04:54

Yeah. Absolutely. Because that's what it comes down to. Getting things done. So, I wanted to ask you now for how you serve the clients that you work with. I know you touched on it a little bit. I did as well. Could you take us through what exactly that process looks like and what are the services you provide for your clients?

Christopher Aborqui 05:08

Yeah, we focus on small independent businesses, so usually like just one owner and they're pretty much-doing everything themselves or maybe they have less than five employees. A pretty small company will say maybe under 10 million a year, under 5 million. A lot of our clients are a hundred thousandaires, I'd like to say, or thousandaires, but mainly we want to focus on doing their bookkeeping.

Everybody that we work with is on a monthly recurring basis. So they sign up, they're on a monthly plan, and so we're able to make contact with them. I'd say on a monthly basis so we can let them know where their money is at, where it's going, how much they're making, and what their tax projected tax liability is gonna be.

Since we do their bookkeeping, we also can offer to do their tax return. So being able to do that and have those touchpoints all year just makes it a lot more efficient. If they need payroll services, then we can also do that. We're kind of like that one-stop shop where everything can be done right then and there. They don't have to go here or there. Everything's just done right then and there.

Gresham Harkless 06:07

Nice. I absolutely love that. And, being small but mighty it sounds and I almost feel like, I always talk about the ability to be able to be in your zone of genius. Being the thing that you do best is so important, and a lot of times that happens because you have somebody that's able to help you out with your bookkeeping. You have your somebody that's able to help you out with so many things so you can focus on basically providing your product and service and being there and being present for your clients.

Christopher Aborqui 06:28

Exactly. Yes. Once you start making that money, you wanna be able to focus on continuing to make that money and not having to do all these other things. Once you can pass something off, It's always better to pass it off because that's gonna be a task that you don't have to do anymore.

Gresham Harkless 06:40

Yeah. So huge to be able to find those subject matter experts and be able to partner to some degree so that you can continue to bring in that money, so to speak.

Christopher Aborqui 06:48

Yes, exactly. Focus on that.

Gresham Harkless 06:50

Awesome, awesome, awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. This could be for yourself or your business or a combination of both, but what do you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

Christopher Aborqui 07:00

Just the fact that the way we bundle our services, being able to be that one-stop shop where they don't have to go anywhere, everywhere else, and working within their budget. So, it's not one price fits all. It's whether or not it actually makes sense for them to move on with services, but being able to first focus on their bookkeeping and offer payroll services and tax services. All at a monthly fixed rate where they're not having to guess what their bill is gonna be because we don't charge by the hour. Everything's just a monthly fixed rate.

So I think that's what unique about us. Because when I first started my business, I was just offering bookkeeping services and I noticed that when I started, people were asking, do you do taxes as well? I was like, yeah, I actually do taxes. It's not something I was focusing on, but when I put those two together and packaged it together, our business just took off. And that, I'm just a really cool guy.

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Gresham Harkless 07:48

Yeah. That always helps out as well.

Christopher Aborqui 07:51

Yes. And then it just made sense, you're already giving everybody all your financial information, then you have to give it to another person, then another person. It just keeps it all in one spot. They're already talking about finances and in your personal and business life, because you kind of see both. It's a big step for somebody to hand that over to somebody.

So, yeah, for somebody to be able to hand that over to us, we don't take that too lightly. We wanna guard that and we like building that trust. Being able to be a business owner, of course you get to choose and pick who you wanna work with. So, that comes into big play about, if somebody sends me an email or calls me, I'm like, oh man, so and so is calling. I don't have to deal with that because most of the people that we talk with, it's more about us interviewing them than they are interviewing us for their services.

Do we wanna work with you? Do you wanna work with your business? Is it what your business is doing, Can we help you grow your business? I guess that's what it comes down to. And do we like you? Yeah.

Gresham Harkless 08:35

Yeah. Are you a cool person too like Chris? And that's so important because when you start to do really great work and you do and provide really phenomenal services, you start to attract the right people. In business, we might have in our lives had those bosses or people we didn't want to talk to. We never wanna have that when you're putting your heart, your blood, sweat, and tears into the work that you're doing.

Christopher Aborqui 08:53

Yeah, because you're gonna put in those extra hours, you're gonna be working with these people. So, you wanna make sure you enjoy working with them. Enjoy talking with them, have similar likes or maybe things that they do that you don't even know about and you're like, oh, that sounds cool. Then, you just network and it's just so incredible.

I guess when you think about it, working with cool people or people that you like to work with and just how much more it just opens up your horizon, because for us, we're kind of isolated especially nowadays, but to venture to other people's worlds and see what they do and hear about what they like to do and people they talk with. It's just, I think it's exciting. I don't know.

Gresham Harkless 09:26

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's one of the best things and the awesome things about being able to partner and work with people and serve people. Is that you really get to learn, to see the world, to see the business, see all the things they do from their vantage point, their expertise, things they learn about.

I think it only helps us sharpen our saws and iron sharpens iron, so to speak. So you get that opportunity.

Christopher Aborqui 09:43

Yes, exactly.

Christopher Aborqui 09:45

Awesome. Awesome, awesome. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and 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?

Christopher Aborqui 09:56

Oh, yeah time management. That's a big thing and for me, my business name was just like the way I was brought up. It was just, religious background. I don't wanna say religious, I believe in God. And just be able to have that servant's heart that it overtakes you and you want to keep on working and get things done. But you have to manage your time and block off days like an off your calendar where you say, Hey, I'm not available today because I need to focus on building the business or doing things within the business.

I think that's my little hack, is just making sure you have time management and blocking off days where you can just work on your business and do what you need to do and not work on the weekend.

Gresham Harkless 10:36

Yeah, that too. That's not your vision and definitely don't do that. But that's so huge. I often say it's not the number of hours in the day, it's how you use them and how you leverage them. So many times, again, as businesses and organizations and leaders, there's so many things that are popping up and happening that you have to really be very cognizant of how you're using your time because you can easily lose that time or lose track of that time and what you're doing.

That's when the business starts to fall off the rails and all those things happen. But if you're very aware of how you're spending your time, you're being very strategic about it, it starts to really create an opportunity to build tremendous momentum.

Christopher Aborqui 11:09

Yes. Let's call it task audit.

Gresham Harkless 11:11

Yes, absolutely. So, I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO Nugget. This could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Christopher Aborqui 11:24

Yeah. So every time we take on a new client, one of the things that we wanna find out and ask is what is their vision for their business? Where do they see themselves for their business? Is this something they want to build so they can pass out to their kids? Or is this something they just wanna do to pay the bills? Or is this something they're trying to reach something?

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Because you're putting all this hard work and if you're running a race and you're just running but you have no end in sight and you just keep running, you're like Forrest Gump, you just keep running through your tire, but you have to have a specific place that you're trying to get to. Once we understand that and we're doing the accounting and we're working with them, then we can plot points that they reach, because you know they're going somewhere.

They need to know that they're making progress to get there. So us knowing that and finding that out just as a business owner you need to have some sort of vision. What are you building towards? If you don't have that, then what are you doing? So I think that's the little nugget, is just make sure when you have a business and you're doing something, you're working towards something, so that way you can measure your success and how you're getting there.

Gresham Harkless 12:19

Yeah, that's absolutely huge. This book that's literally staring at me right now, seven Habits of Highly Effective People, one of the big habits is beginning with the end in mind. I think so many times when we start businesses or start really anything, sometimes we forget to have that North Star, so to speak.

That light, as you spoke to that we know how to follow because again there are so many distractions, things that pop up and things that happen that it's so important that we make sure we understand what our goals are. But we also wanna make sure the people that we're working with understand that too so we can figure out the best and most optimal way to get there.

Christopher Aborqui 12:49

Yes. Yeah, and I would say that because when you're starting a business, you're putting in a lot of work, you're putting a lot of hours, you're sacrificing a lot of time away from your family, and there has to be a reason why you're doing it and it has to be worth it.

So, If you're not working towards something, then you're not working it, you're not going anywhere. You're just going in circles.

Gresham Harkless 13:05

Exactly. You're definitely the Gump of the business, which is what you're not trying to do.

Christopher Aborqui 13:09

I was just running.

Gresham Harkless 13:12

Exactly. Exactly. Now I wanna ask you 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, Chris, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Christopher Aborqui 13:23

Oh man. The big one just being able to be a leader, CEO for me, it stands for change equals opportunity. So, if you're leading and you can see something coming down the horizon and you need to make a change, don't be afraid of it, see it as an opportunity.

A lot of people get set in their ways and this is how we've always done it. This is how it always works. So, there are always new things coming along. We're always evolving. So as a CEO you just have to be able to adapt to it. So that's why I think of CEO, it stands for change equals opportunity.

Gresham Harkless 13:55

Awesome. I absolutely love that acronym especially during times like this when there's a tremendous amount of change that's happening. I think we can easily look at it as change equals problems or CEP instead as CEO, but that opportunity has so much power in it when we start to think about that.

Because even though there are changes and there are challenges at times and there always will be, we know that there are opportunities among those. So we just have to figure out how best to get us to where we want to be. So I love and appreciate that definition.

Christopher Aborqui 14:21

Yeah. Yeah, if it's not hard, if it's like you just said, if it's not a challenge, it's not worth doing.

Gresham Harkless 14:26

Yeah, absolutely. The saying goes, no pressure, no diamond. So that's where you have that opportunity to really bring about certain diamonds and opportunities as we talked about.

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

Christopher Aborqui 14:48

Yeah it's so weird because 90% of our clients don't even realize we have a website. So, if you wanna reach me, that's probably the easiest way, it's www.ltwbooks.com. So that's an easy way to contact us, get a little bit more information about what we do and then get some traffic to our website, even though we mostly work off of referrals.

We're a small community. We get busy pretty fast, so, that's the easiest way to get ahold of us.

Gresham Harkless 15:11

Nice. We'll definitely have the links and information in the show notes as well too. Consider this a podcast referral if you hear it through from Chris's episode and wanna reach out to him. So it'll still be a referral either way. So Chris, truly appreciate that. Appreciate your time again, my friend, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest today.

Outro 15:27

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by 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.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co.

This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. 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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