Jasmine Epperson is a Mendocino County bookkeeping business owner working with client businesses located anywhere. We just chatted about her expertise, challenges that businesses have with their finances, and what’s changing for her while participating in the StartUp Mendocino program.
Hello Jasmine! Thanks for meeting! Let’s start by talking about what your business offers.
My business manages other businesses’ finances through accounting software — accounts payable and receivable, and I help businesses get an overview of their finances to help them understand their habits.
So I help clients set up accounting software and link it with their bank to pull through transaction data. However, I also offer staff training to help the business owner understand their role in bookkeeping, by teaching them what to do and when.
And what are you most known for?
I’m mostly known for the fact that I don’t just throw numbers at my clients — I break it down for them. I explain things, and draw attention to what needs their attention.
I think about what sets me apart every day. The thing I keep going back to is: SMALL BUSINESS PASSION, not just accounting and bookkeeping. It’s the whole business overview and that sets me apart.
Can you share about your background in this work and some of the details of what you do?
I have my MBA from Washington University and have done this work with businesses since I was 18, and I came to Mendocino County a couple years ago because of my fiancé.
I advise on payment terms, monitor aging receivables, and chase overdue accounts. It’s often helpful to have someone outside of the business make those awkward phone calls.
Deciding when and how to pay bills is important, so I assist my clients in taking charge of the process by watching what’s due and when and reconciling that against the cash flow forecast to decide when payments are made.
Payroll is something that scares a lot of business owners — so I take that worry away by maintaining employee records, making sure their deductions are applied at the correct rates, ensuring leave entitlements are accurate and administered at the correct rate of pay, etc.
I assist with areas they may be losing money, or spot growth opportunities that aren’t being explored. I am able to spot patterns in the finances of the business.
What topic in the StartUp Mendocino business management program has helped you MOST so far? What was your takeaway from it?
Because I know I can always learn something new, it was the finance portion that Steve Lamb taught. I thought I knew most things in this area already, but I learned a lot about spreadsheets and different ways of doing books. It was really really enlightening for me!
What else is starting to change for you as a result of this business management program?
I think *drilling into specifics* instead of looking at things broadly is what’s changing most. I’ve done bookkeeping for so long and think that I know everything, but actually learning and training is ongoing.
What I’ll enhance is helping clients identify key performance indicators (KPIs) — the things that will drive their profitability the most. I have also begun to take a real look at my ideal client — realistically and with market research. I plan to join the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and become a Certified Bookkeeper (CB).
What’s unique or creative in your process?
The way I can onboard clients remotely – I don’t know if that’s creative but my whole onboarding process highlights the ability to do it remotely. It allows the client to work with me at any hour and from anywhere. Whatever works for them. That allows flexibility so they can focus on their business. There’s a full questionnaire and secure dropbox to save documents. I’m the timekeeper so they get reminders and I make sure they meet their deadlines. I tailor each program for each business because not everyone needs me for payroll etc.
What’s something I wouldn’t otherwise know about you?
2010 was a game changer for me — at the age of 38, I came face to face with the battle of my life — stage 4 breast cancer. At the time I was a military wife and mother of two young children. “What am I going to do?” I asked myself. The doctors had informed me that there was nothing they could do. I needed to get prepared. The question that came to mind was, “What AM I going to do? Am I doing what really makes me happy?”
I began to soul search all while fighting for my life. From chemo to body aches to watching cancer battle buddies all around me losing the fight one by one. I thought about my husband, my children, my LIFE! So, I decided I am going to set out to make a difference. I wanted to use what I know to help others. I had always been in the accounting field and knew that world well.
So many of my friends were starting their own businesses BUT even though they knew their trade … what they didn’t know was how to handle the financial and business side of things. THAT IS MY CALLING.
A couple years later, I set on a quest to help and offer advice to every small business owner in my circle. However, I found myself doing it as a HOBBY not as a BUSINESS. For years I was a help mat but not really moving the needle to find my actual niche within the financial field. One thing I knew for sure is that I bring GREAT energy and new ideas … not to mention a wealth of knowledge! So I began to start thinking about a strategy. I challenged myself to seek out like-minded people – business owners and people in the finance field.
I met my fiancé at a social event in Las Vegas and he’s a local attorney and public defender here for the county. My 2 children remained in Southern California pursuing careers in medicine and computer programming. They are both involved in community organizations that benefit breast cancer survivors. I couldn’t be prouder of who they have become in spite of the experience with having a mom cancer survivor.
When did you come to Mendocino County?
I came to Mendocino County three years ago in 2019 and I didn’t know many people then. I was new here but what I did know is that I had to find my place — so I reached out to West Business Development Center where I was immediately matched with a team who worked with me and helped me grow in my thinking. I am so grateful for this opportunity because it led me to StartUp Mendocino — this accelerated business growth program has created a space for me to drill down and connect with other business owners in many different fields from all walks of life.
I am excited to see what the future has to hold and ALL of the things I am learning about myself and how to rebuild my business in a way that will be sustainable with a blueprint for growth! I am ready for the great things ahead.
What question haven’t I asked that I should?
“What’s your 10 year plan or 5 year plan? Where do you see yourself?”
Tri Counties Bank is one of the sponsors of StartUp Mendocino, and is proud of business owners like Jasmine Epperson. Jeff Kelly, Senior Business Banker at Tri Counties Bank stated, “Other than being aware of the programs and resources, such as StartUp Mendocino, provided by local economic development organizations like West Center… Tri Counties Bank partners with local community development financial institutions to provide access to financing and technical assistance for small businesses.”