It might seem counterintuitive for a computer programmer to find one’s professional calling as a bookkeeper instead. But that’s just part of the interesting career path of Stephanie Ferrari, a virtual bookkeeper with BELAY who hails from South Florida.
Though she had earned an undergraduate degree in computer science, followed by a master’s in business, Stephanie stumbled upon her love of number-crunching and calculating practically by accident. She had been working as a webmaster and computer programmer at a university’s business school for over a decade, and her husband jumpstarted his foray into entrepreneurship around the same time.
“During that time my husband opened his own business, and I began taking care of the bookkeeping side of it,” Stephanie explains. “That is when I realized how much I enjoyed bookkeeping. I like numbers, and I like organization; with bookkeeping, the two pretty much go hand in hand.”
Though Stephanie has put the brakes on computer programming for now, she still derives relevant lessons from it every day. For example, the time she spent as a programmer gave her a great basis to become a home-based worker. She was well aware of the nuances associated with being a remote employee – staying focused, being accountable and remaining productive, for example, even in the physical absence of colleagues or an on-site supervisor.
“As a computer programmer, I had the opportunity to work remotely every so often, so that gave me experience with that side of things,” she says.
As a bookkeeper with BELAY since January 2016, today Stephanie serves eight clients and uses the knowledge and skills she gained working with her husband’s business. As a result, parlaying those competencies into positive results for clients comes second nature.
“Taking care of the bookkeeping for my husband’s business gave me the experience of working with financial statements, keeping up with necessary payments and taxes, and all that fun stuff that comes with running a business.”
A path with purpose
“My greatest contribution is to be able to take a big chunk of responsibility off of [my clients’] hands so that they are more able to focus on growing God’s Kingdom.”
That’s what Stephanie says is her greatest contribution as a virtual bookkeeper with BELAY. How’s that for being mission-proud?
In fact, when Stephanie was exploring work-from-home options and stumbled upon BELAY, what attracted her most was the company’s philosophy. Specifically, the corporate mission “to glorify God by providing solutions that equip clients with the confidence to climb higher” resonated with her.
“My personal mission is to glorify God in everything I do, and when I read that BELAY’s mission included glorifying God, I knew that this was a company that I wanted to partner with,” she says. “I truly feel blessed being able to work for a company like BELAY.”
Stephanie nurtures each client relationship with the intention and focus of a higher calling. This is an especially relevant attribute, as some of her clients are ministries and churches.
“Working with my clients has reinforced the fact that everything I do or take on, I do it as though it were my own. Each client feels like a friend of mine, and I care for them and for their church as if it were my own.”
Striking a balance
As a busy married mother, Stephanie has reaped a major benefit of working from wherever she has an internet connection and access to the technologies she needs – more bandwidth for what really matters. Perhaps at the top of that list is the flexibility to spend time with her five-year-old daughter and be available as a school volunteer.
“Working from home for BELAY has allowed me to do things I might not otherwise be able to do,” she says.
Still, industrious at heart and with a strong sense of duty to outperforming client expectations, Stephanie works continuously to negotiate work and life. She admits it can be difficult.
“The work-life balance is something that needs to be worked on consistently. Personally, I can fall on the side of working too much while neglecting the ‘life’ side of things. But being home has allowed me to balance being able to take care of my home and family while taking care of my clients.”