The Bottom Line

Olivia Clark reframes money matters clearly and creatively

Olivaclark 5 HoriztonalOLIVIA CLARK, owner of Olivia Clark CPA, often describes herself as strategic and a “gets things done kind of person.” So it comes as no surprise that when she found herself experiencing burnout and craving better work-life balance as she and her husband expanded their family, she pursued a gutsy solution: she decided to open her own accounting firm.

As much as she loved her job at a local public accounting firm in Wilmington, she was fully aware that spending 70-80 hours a week on work wouldn’t be feasible with a newborn. She recognized that she wasn’t making a difference and helping people like she knew she could. So, Clark decided to take matters into her own hands while she was on maternity leave. As she accepted contract work here and there during her maternity leave, her spark for work slowly returned.

“I realized that my passion completely came back when I had the control of determining who I was working for and the kind of work I was doing, and I was like, ‘Well, I guess maybe I can do this on my own,’” she says.

In January 2022, she launched Olivia Clark CPA into the world. From there, her accounting firm took off. She had clients follow her from previous jobs, and new clients came in steadily thanks to her social media accounts, where she regularly posts business and accounting tips, tricks, and advice.

Like most small business owners, Clark found herself struggling in the beginning. She had trouble deciding which route she wanted to go — taxes or controller, both of which she was experienced in. In the beginning, she found herself trying “to do everything and help everybody,” but it wasn’t feasible in the grand scheme of things.

“I really had to figure out who I wanted to be as a brand and who I wanted to be as a person for the people that I’m helping,” Clark says. “So, in the beginning, I had a lot of trial and error in figuring out what clients to accept.”

One way that Clark was able to help establish her firm was by hiring a branding coach and website builder. Both were able to re-direct her in how to better build her brand and vision. “They were able to pull things out that I said and put them in a way that made me feel confident and secure in what I was doing,” she says.

Another way she’s been able to build her brand is through social media. Her branding coach was able to help her use social media as a creative tool, even though Clark describes herself as “usually not a creative person.”

“Tapping in to the social media part is fun and enjoyable to me,” she says. “We can be fun. We’re not all boring people that sit in an office and type on our computers. Developing out the creative and fun side of accounting really makes people view me as a person and just like everybody else, and not as a CPA. Truly supporting these people and being an ally for them in their business has been really, really big.”

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