The People Behind the Numbers

Data Reveals Valuable Lessons for Business Operators

We talk a lot about numbers. In financial management, numbers give us a way to measure and analyze a business’s performance over time. Sometimes the numbers represent dollars and sometimes they measure hours. Through balances, profit margins, interest rates, and more, business owners are expected to read and understand the stories that these numbers tell. 

When financial management and reporting are done well, business owners can clearly see how the decisions they make impact their business. The story that emerges from the numbers carries valuable lessons with it. It is the story of their business – the people, and choices that shape it.

Advantage Insights helps clients make sense out of the numbers, as well as the people and work those numbers represent. Behind each report we produce or accounting task we facilitate, there is an Advantage Insights team member. Every person on the Advantage Insights staff understands how important it is for their work to be accurate and clear.

The People Who Make it Possible

I founded Advantage Insights because I knew the insights and practices I mastered in the corporate accounting world could have an immediate and lasting positive effect for small and medium-sized business operations. I am just as confident in the quality of people who have joined the Advantage Insights team.

Advantage Insights has achieved growth and success in the best way possible – by helping our clients succeed. As we continue to bring on more clients with exciting challenges to undertake, our staff has grown. Because of this, I wanted to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible work they have done and continue to do for our clients.

Missy Gearhart, Bookkeeper

Missy Gearhart (and guest!)

Missy joined the Advantage Insights team with experience in a variety of roles and a diverse set of skills. Since college, she has spent most of her time in bookkeeping and payroll, but over eight years has worked in pet food manufacturing and sales, custom home building, and a fast food franchise with six locations.

When Missy’s daughter was born, she took time off to care for her at home. When she felt ready to re-join the workforce, Advantage Insights seemed like a great fit. She could do the work she loved while working from home with a more flexible schedule.

What led you to work in accounting?

“I personally loved the way accounting and bookkeeping flows. Everything has its place, and everything needs to balance. I find it really satisfying to have the books cleaned up and accounts reconciled!”

Outside of work, Missy relishes time with her husband, daughter, and dog. They enjoy walks and bike rides at scenic locations like nearby parks or the zoo. Her remote position leaves her more free time to enjoy the outdoors and she has taken up beekeeping as an additional hobby!

Remote work has allowed Missy to work for an employer in a different city, helping clients across state lines. She helps with regular reporting tasks as well as custom projects and reports when clients need them.

Why do you think financial management is vital for business owners?

“In my opinion, running your business without financial management would be like driving your car with your sun-visor still in the windshield. You need to be able to see the road! Financial management provides that navigation by looking at how things have gone historically and looking ahead to some tweaks that could be made so you can get to where you want to go.”

But don’t take it from us. The clients Missy works with can tell she is thorough and precise.

"We work with Missy on our weekly payroll and QB entries. Missy has created documented processes and completes tasks quickly, accurately and predictably, in a way that helps me have exceptional insights into how my businesses are doing. And she does it with cheer and in a way that brightens everyone's day.  We're so happy to have her as an extension of our team!"
-Bob Aris, Owner, Mountain Group Companies

Kimberly Garber, Accountant

Kimberly Garber

After graduating from Washburn University, Kimberly worked for a public accounting firm as an auditor. Wanting to expand her horizons, she earned her Business Education Degree and taught business classes, coaching high school volleyball and basketball along the way at Shawnee Heights High School in Topeka.

Following the birth of her daughter, Kimberly chose to stay home and pursue accounting roles that would allow her to work from home. Over the past 20 years, she has worked with various nonprofit agencies, performing duties such as budgeting, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, grant management, and financial analysis, to name just a few.

What led you to work in accounting?

“I enjoyed math and it came easy to me. I watched my mom climb the ranks as an accountant. She was a nontraditional college student. I am proud to say we graduated together from Washburn University with BBA degrees with emphasis in accounting. She ended her illustrious career as the CEO of Valeo Behavioral Health Care. I would say my mom was the shining example that I followed. I also knew that I could have many different options with an accounting degree and background.”

Most of all, Kimberly is passionate about her family. She loves watching her boys play football, basketball, and baseball. Through life’s trials, Kimberly has found running as a way to improve her physical and mental wellbeing. She ran her first marathon at the age of 47 and continues to participate in half-marathons. When Kimberly isn’t on the move, she’s probably enjoying a great book.

Why did you Decide to Join the Advantage Insights Team?

“I am excited to be a part of a team that is forward thinking and technologically savvy. Mary was the reason I decided to dive in. She is someone I know I can learn a great deal from, and she has been fantastic to work with. I love how she has built her business on relationships.”

Kimberly says she has enjoyed getting to know her clients and other Advantage Insights team members. In her view, it is wrong to believe that relationships cannot be developed through remote channels. Kimberly is someone who loves working in financial management and enjoys getting to know people. This role has given her ample opportunities for both.

Amber Lovitt, Bookkeeper

Amber Lovitt

When Amber joined the Advantage Insights crew, she had experience performing day-to-day, weekly, and monthly bookkeeping for various small businesses, as well as tax preparation and review. With her skillset and need for a flexible, remote work position, working for Advantage Insights just made sense.

Amber likes accounting because she enjoys working with numbers and helping people understand what those numbers mean. She also likes accounting because she’s good at it! And she understands why it really matters.

Why do you think financial management is vital for business owners?

“Financial management is vital for business owners for decision making, as they can view trends and see if anything is out of line. Any issue can be caught, and corrected as needed.”

When asked about her experience working with clients, Amber highlights the time and resources clients can save by adopting remote financial management services.

“I feel as though my experience working with clients remotely has helped them save time and resources. They only use the bookkeeping services that they need and I’m available for questions as needed, rather than having to provide an office and extra hours to an onsite bookkeeper.”

Amber places a high value on the time she gets to spend with her family. As is the case with many on our team, she enjoys hiking and enjoying nature. Clients appreciate her thorough and level-headed approach to her work and communication.

“Amber Lovitt with Advantage Insights provides outstanding support for our operations. She is accurate and precise with her reporting and is very responsive to our needs in all phases. It is refreshing to have support from someone as conscientious as Amber. Her work is greatly appreciated.”
-Tim O’Dell, President, O’Dell Enterprises

Brittney Nelson, Bookkeeper

Brittney Nelson

Brittney’s background includes five years of accounting experience. She got her start at a family-owned RV dealership as an accounting assistant. Her work led to promotions and she would act as that company’s HR Manager, Title Clerk, and Accounting Manager over the course of her time there.

Brittney also has a professional Esthetician license in the state of Utah, performing eyelash extensions from home for many years. When she had her first baby in early 2022, she began seeking employment that would allow her more free time to be with her child. With her background in accounting, Advantage Insights offered the right opportunity.

What led you to work in accounting?

“Accounting has always been a part of my life because my dad has his own CPA business. I would spend summers helping him with data entry and organizing files. Once I graduated with my master esthetician license, I wasn’t able to find a job right away and since I already had experience with some accounting I figured I would give it a try and I loved it!”

Like others on the team, Brittney has a robust family life. She and her husband welcomed their first child, Brynlee, earlier this year. Their miniature labradoodle (Ellie) and cat (Milo) help complete the family picture.

When she isn’t helping our clients or enjoying her time at home, Brittney loves visiting the family cabin in the mountains and going camping. With Advantage Insights, she appreciates the ability to balance her life.

Describe your experience working with your team and clients remotely.

“I have never worked a remote job until now and I am impressed by all that can be done online. I am amazed by all the technology that we have to work with and how it all works together. I am currently still training and learning through zoom meetings showing me the ropes and I love that it can all be done from the comfort of my home!”

According to Brittney, Advantage Insights helps business owners by addressing common weaknesses in financial management. She knows that her role empowers our clients to understand how their business is really doing and spend less time on complex financial management tasks. She has done a terrific job applying her skills and learning more every day.

Jennifer Hughes, Accountant

Jennifer Hughes

Jennifer attended college at the University of Kansas, receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting. After that, she worked as an auditor for Deloitte in Dallas and later moved to Chicago to work for American Airlines, where she managed the operating budget of their administrative office at ORD (Chicago O’Hare International Airport). Later, she would move back to Dallas to work for the American Airlines Finance department, supporting IT.

Jennifer’s dad and grandpa were both CPAs, and encouraged her to pursue accounting as a solid foundation for all areas of business. She joined Advantage Insights in order to continue her accounting journey and gain a better understanding of the needs of small business owners.

How does the work you do help clients understand more about their business?

“For all clients, even the most simple, my work allows them to see their revenue and expenses each month. This helps them understand the health of their business without just relying on what cash is in the bank.”

Advantage Insights clients have access to a wide range of services to suit their particular business needs. Jennifer works with a variety of clients at different levels of service, including the Progressive Growth package.

“For my clients with our Progressive Growth package, they get to understand how they are trending each month, profit margins on different products, profit by client and many more, based on the questions they need answered to make a good business decision.”

At home, Jennifer enjoys connecting with friends and loved ones, as well as pursuing hobbies. She loves creating cross stitch works of art while watching her favorite shows like The Bachelorette, 90 Day Fiancé, or an HGTV home improvement show. Lately, she has been working on a cross stitch elephant for her friend who recently had a baby. 

When she joined Advantage Insights, Jennifer had to adapt to remote work. We prioritize a positive remote work experience for clients, and that starts with getting it right for our team.

Describe your experience working with your team and clients remotely.

“I always have to be ready for a video call! I think working remotely has been great for flexibility and I think the team has consistently been good at communicating. Mary is always available and extremely helpful with any question I have, which makes communication easy. Because we all are remote, communication is always incredibly important.”

I know Jennifer has been a great fit for our team because of how clients respond to her work. Regardless of the client’s service level, she is dedicated to doing work that really makes a difference.

"Jennifer has been wonderful to work with since she joined the Advantage Insights team a couple of years ago. She's responsive, communicates well, and I know I am able to trust her with our finances for our two businesses."
-Jade Jensen, COO, Appsky

Ellen Anderson, Bookkeeper

Ellen Anderson

Prior to joining Advantage Insights, Ellen’s professional responsibilities involved working with start-up businesses to oversee their daily operations. She collaborated with internal and external teams to organize systems and processes, develop effective communication, and ensure tasks were completed in a timely manner.

Ellen joined Advantage Insights as a bookkeeper in 2021. According to Ellen, she knew this role would suit her early on.

“Mary had clear goals and a proven track record of success. Her passion for helping her clients was contagious!”

At home, Ellen stays busy with her husband and six children, running to and from church, school, and sporting events. Together, they raise corn, soybeans, and livestock, so there is always something to do on the farm! Ellen also enjoys traveling, sometimes to watch her beloved Iowa State Cyclones.

Working remotely has provided Ellen the flexibility she needs to keep a healthy balance between work and family. She says she has all the tools she needs to communicate effectively and complete tasks independently. Ellen also understands how these services can impact the people on the other side of the video call.

“Business owners are faced with multiple decisions every day. The services provided by Advantage Insights can give owners the valuable financial information they need to make confident and informed decisions that keep their business moving in the right direction.”

Her work ethic and knowledge are an asset to everyone she works with. Advantage Insights clients have recognized the skill and optimism Ellen brings to their projects.

“Ellen has been a fantastic addition to my Advantage Insights support team. She is easily accessible, smart, and willing to jump in on any project I need completed. I appreciate her efficiency and can-do attitude. In addition, she recognizes her strengths and the limits to her scope and, as appropriate, brings Mary into conversations as needed. Ellen is so fantastic, I would hire her for my own team! I trust her with all of the details of my business finances.”
-Sarah Fruehling, Fruehling Coaching and Facilitation

Your Business Success Depends on Finding the Right People

The team you build at your company determines the culture and success you can achieve. Advantage Insights delivers vital financial management services that illuminate business performance and introduce consistent processes that can help you optimize your operations.

I assembled this incredible team of professionals to make sure our clients have the right people on the job. We are able to enhance the teams of our clients because of the quality of our expertise and services, but more importantly, the quality of the individuals on our team.

Advantage Insights accountants and bookkeepers are attentive, responsive, and thorough, even as they work from remote locations. Our team is agile, adaptive, and curious when it comes to helping clients tackle their unique financial management challenges.

If you are interested in learning more about our services, or simply want to know where to start, contact us today. We offer a free consultation to help you understand how our services can address your business needs.

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