Play Your Position

Growing up playing soccer, I learned many lessons about being a good team player: don’t hog the ball; cover for your teammate when they need it; when you get a break-away…don’t look back! As the resident center forward, I spent most Saturday afternoons gloating about how many goals I scored – of course, very aware that it took an entire team to get me the ball, cover for me, and ensure that while I was sprinting down the field with the ball, nobody was going to sneak up on me at the last minute and make me miss the shot. There’s no way I would have had the successful 10-year run in the sport had it not been for my teammates.

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And every once in a while, when the lineup was laid out, I would see my name somewhere other than front & center, but on defense instead. I admit, I loved being the star & getting the high-fives for making the victories happen, but it was also very necessary to fill in when I was needed in the back field – or to give others a chance to be in the spotlight. So I would take the field and give it 110% every time, and be sure that I helped our team win every way I could.

Little did I know that 20+ years later, I’d be using those childhood soccer lessons in my professional life. For the past 9 years, my various roles have centered mainly around attending accounting conferences and trade shows – I made my name in the accounting world as “ScanSnapKim” by doing so, and have met so many amazing people on the road at shows. While the show circuit can be exhausting at times, there’s such a great community in which you become a part, and I look forward to seeing them at each event.

When I started at Intuit back in 2013 as part of a new Business Development team & program, we saturated the events world as a way to get our message out to our accountant partners. The past 2 years have been absolutely brutal, but amazing at the same time. I’ve often compared it to building a skyscraper – you have to first dig down deep, to ensure that you’ve got a solid foundation that will support the exponential growth yet to come. Of course, very few people see how much effort goes into building everything below ground – it’s always the building that gets the attention.

With that, we’ve had an incredible past year, as QBO has hit and passed the one million company mark here in the U.S. – and our team is a huge part of that growth. I’ve loved being part of this success – scoring victories along with my accounting firms as they transform their businesses into being firms of the future with QBO and cloud technology – and getting recognized internally and in the accounting profession for doing so.

All the success has come with lots of changes too – new leadership, new initiatives, new responsibilities. As we round out our fiscal year, I’ve been asked to play a new position, which will keep me out of the conference circuit for most of the remainder of the year. For the first time in years, I’m missing some of the “can’t miss” events that I look forward to each year. But I won’t be putting my suitcase away. In fact, I’ll be traveling more than ever as I visit accounting firms and work strategically with them to transition their practice…those meetings, which are vital to our success at Intuit, don’t however have event hashtags.

So as I sat in an all-day training session in Dubuque, IA this week, and now rush around the Mid-West from meeting to meeting, I’ll be thinking of everyone at Expensicon. Last week I could only sympathize with my fellow ITA members as they braved the Houston floods at ITA’s Spring Collaborative. And when I see all the photos from my work friends in the Bahamas next month at Scaling New Heights, I’ll likely be driving from firm to firm in Southern California. I’ll be missing all the laughs & photo opps, but I know I’m where I need to be to help Intuit reach our next goal.

My absolute best season of soccer ended unusually for me – I didn’t make the all-star roster, which was tough for me to swallow…but at our end of the year party, my coach presented me with the game ball – the ball with which we won every game of the season but two, the ball that took us to a sudden-death shoot-out in the championship game, the ball that she told everyone I had put the most marks on throughout the course of the season.

My hope is that as I play my position at Intuit this year, I’ll be fortunate enough to put a few marks on our game ball, and when I see everyone next year, I’ll have some great stories to tell about what we’re doing to help or firms reach for the cloud.

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#FriendsThatLift

This past week was a whirlwind trip to #QBConnect…an amazing time with so many awesome people. I knew before I left that I would blog about the trip, but it wasn’t until Wednesday night that I realized it wouldn’t be a real QBC 2015 blog without it including Kelly Bistriceanu (Kelly B to some of us). So we got together & jotted down our thoughts on how we got through the last crazy week. Without further adieu, here you have, a View From OUR Shoes…

We’ve both been on the road nonstop for weeks, and constantly doing “the best we can” to stick to our programs – eat right, sleep enough, workout as much as possible. But anyone who travels like we do knows how difficult this can be during conferences.

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We’ve traveled together enough to know that it’s entirely possible to implement the buddy system for the greater good. Instead of slacking off together, sleeping in & sneaking back to our room with dessert, we’ve often held each other accountable and gotten up before the sun to get in our morning workouts, and have made many impromptu Trader Joe’s/ Whole Foods pit stops to ensure we’re sticking to our healthy eating plan. Heck, even when we’re not together we still manage to spur each other on.

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It’s always possible, it just requires a little planning & a lot of commitment. Our #QBConnect plan of attack actually started weeks ago, as we emailed & texted each other, strategizing about shelf-stable portable meal ideas to take with us in the car for our 10+ hour journey to San Jose. We even spent our weekend in Palm Springs in the gym getting pumped up for the big show…

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We were prepared to succeed and we stuck together to make it happen. #QBConnectOrBust didn’t have to bust our program.

Looking back on the past year, working out & eating right are just two examples of the Kelly & Kim strategy to building a solid partnership. It is our work worlds that have brought us together, after all, and we’ve taken full advantage of that whenever possible. From mutual introductions to industry contacts, to co-presenting at national accounting firms, to driving across the country to meet with more firms, to Friday night email conversations, to weekend strategy calls in airports while traveling to our next event, the partnership we’ve built has evolved from professional colleagues to “work friends”, and ultimately friends – no strings attached.

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As hectic as life on the road can be, having someone who’s there to lift you up (or wake you up), bring you coffee (or pre-workout), give you a hug (or share a backseat of an SUV for almost 11 hours), and cheer you on to the finish line (or crawl over it right next to you), can be the most amazing gift. In a world where so many people try to keep personal-life/ work-life in two distinct boxes, for us there’s really no separation of the two. Now that we’ve helped each other survive & thrive when it’s needed most, we’ll always be #FriendsThatLift.

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About Kelly…

Kelly Bistriceanu is the Accountant Program Director at TSheets Time Tracking.  An avid competitive runner, fitness competitor and group exercise instructor, Kelly thrives personally and professionally by ensuring her passion for fitness integrates seamlessly into her road warrior life style. When not traveling the globe, helping accounting professionals become successful TSheets PROs, Kelly and her husband Daniel call beautiful Boise, Idaho home base.  Follow Kelly’s #TSheetsWorldTour adventures on twitter and Instagram @KellyTSheets.

There’s a Whole Lotta “WE” in Team

Leave it to the Olympic spirit to remind us all just how important teamwork can be for the success of just about anything. This week, as I’ve been glued to the TV watching coverage of the Summer Games, I’m constantly reminded of one of my favorite Olympic memories: watching Kerri Strug vault the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team into history at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. While it may have been Strug who got most of the spotlight that night, it was truly a team effort from each of the other six members who equally contributed to that magical evening where the “Magnificent Seven” took the Gold medal – and captured America’s hearts.

It’s not too different in the business world.  You’ll rarely find a successful business professional without a strong team behind them, and similarly, some of the most successful individuals will gladly admit that they are only as good as their team. Nobody exemplifies this more than one of my good industry friends, Jennifer Warawa. Jennifer always impresses me when she meets someone for the first time. Instead of introducing herself as VP of Partner Programs and Channel Sales for Sage, she modestly explains that she “looks after the Sage Accountants Network”. I’ve never heard her reference anyone “working for her” – but she’ll often mention those who are “on her team”. Her approach has enabled her to create a real sense of community within her team and within the accounting industry by eliminating any sense of superiority she would have over those of us who don’t have a VP in our title.

It might be the Olympics getting to me, but I might also have teamwork on the brain as I wrap up my first month with my new team at XCM. When you join a new organization, you’re often at the mercy of your new teammates to help you get up to speed and to warn you about the land mines that loom ahead, in hopes that you’ll learn from their mistakes rather than have to make them yourself. I can’t begin to express how blessed I feel to be a part of such an amazing team, who has done just that for me. From my first few days in the office, the sense of teamwork and community at XCM was apparent. When this feeling of community is truly put into action, this will wind up impacting not only an organization itself, but also its extended ecosystem (partners, clients, prospects).

Believe it or not, before the 4” stilettos filled my closet, I used to sport a pair of soccer cleats. In all of my 10 years playing soccer growing up, I was never the most powerful player on the team, but one thing is for sure: I was a team player. One memory that I have all these years later is from an indirect free-kick scenario. While most people want to be the one to take these shots, to be the one to score the goal and get the glory for doing so, I knew that just wasn’t my role on the team. Thankfully, I also knew there is just as much value in being the set up person. So as my teammate lined up to shoot the ball into the goal (unaware that it wasn’t a direct kick, and that two players needed to touch the ball before a goal could be scored), I came running out of the backfield yelling at the top of my lungs. My antics worked. My teammate paused as I ran right up to the ball, tapped it, and yelled to her to shoot it. I turned around just in time to see her put that ball into the top left corner of the net. Of course my teammate got the high-fives for making the score, but I also got recognized for setting it up…after all, without the assist, the goal wouldn’t have counted in the first place.

What’s the big lesson there? As many of us get caught up in climbing the corporate ladder and desperately trying to get ahead, we sometimes lose sight of what really matters – teamwork. Perhaps even more important is the realization that each and every member of a team has a purpose and a value. Sometimes it’s not just the folks on the front line that deserve the recognition, sometimes it’s those in the background, quietly doing their job so well, which in turn makes those of us in the spotlight look even better.

So here’s to the amazing teams behind each leader. The Customer Service Managers who skillfully calm frustrated clients. The Support Reps who graciously answer each & every question from confused new employees. The Development teams who diligently work to add new features. And the most near & dear to my heart, the Managers who stand back and let their apprentices shine…knowing that their success is truly achieved through watching their handy work in action. One, Two, Three – GO TEAM!

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