Article by: Marcy Stamper
Photography: Juliet Kennedy
Despite an unstructured childhood – part of it spent living in a converted school bus in the Methow Valley – Talitha Parsons of Gingersnap Bookkeeping in Twisp has always been highly organized and detail oriented.
“As a child, I would literally plan to be spontaneous,” Parsons said. She carefully arranged her belongings and put everything in its assigned place. “I was the neatest teen anyone knew. It’s always been a part of me,” she said.
Today, Parsons has combined that penchant for order with years of experience in bookkeeping to launch Gingersnap Bookkeeping, based in Twisp. As a woman business owner in a small, tight-knit community, Parsons is committed to using her skills to support small businesses and families in the Methow Valley.
One of her priorities is helping people manage their business needs and finances so they feel confident focusing on home and family life. “This is the balance I get to support. I get really passionate about it,” Parsons said.
Although Parsons didn’t hang out her own shingle until 2022, she’s been doing bookkeeping for more than 20 years. In addition to full-service bookkeeping, Gingersnap provides customized financial reports. She doesn’t simply track revenue and expenses, but also helps people understand their business so it will thrive – how profitable it is, whether they need to raise prices, or if it’s time to hire an employee or invest in new equipment.
Parsons provides monthly or quarterly reports that include a balance sheet, cash flow, and profit and loss statements to keep entrepreneurs up-to-date and prepared to take the next steps as they build their business.
Working with Gingersnap starts with an assessment of a company’s needs. Then Parsons designs an easy-to-use system for payroll, tax reporting, and accounts payable and receivable. The system will be tailored to the company’s structure, whether it’s a sole proprietorship or a type of corporation.
“Bookkeeping is a very specific, nit-picky field,” so it’s vital to characterize expenses correctly, Parsons said. She notes that mid-size businesses (which are common in the Methow) are the most likely to be audited.
Parsons helps clients develop appropriate systems at the start, to streamline their accounting and ensure they capture all the required information. “It can be a nightmare if it’s not set up properly from the beginning,” she said.
But Parsons has the experience to tackle that nightmare when necessary, streamlining tax preparation and tracking of expenses and income for her clients by setting up methodical books and financial statements.
In fact, some clients don’t need ongoing bookkeeping, but just need Gingersnap to set up a system for payroll and bookkeeping and provide training so they can handle it on their own.
“I love getting into the nitty-gritty. I figure out all the pieces and where they match,” Parsons said. “That’s what I love about bookkeeping – it’s a puzzle to put together.”
Gingersnap Bookkeeping works with people in any industry. For some industries such as restaurants and nonprofits that have unique financial and tax requirements, Parsons will recommend a bookkeeper who specializes in those areas.
Because businesses are mandated by the government to track their expenses, there will always be a demand for bookkeeping, and that enables Parsons to be sure that the client relationship is the best fit, she said. She particularly likes the collaborative aspect of her work, including working with other bookkeepers and tax preparers.
Parsons specializes in filing sales-tax reports, and has expertise in tax laws of many states (necessary for business owners in the Methow to know when selling a product to a customer in another state). These laws can be really particular. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge,” she said.
Gingersnap Bookkeeping doesn’t prepare income-tax returns, which requires special certification, but Parsons works closely with tax preparers to provide the reports they need for filing. Having those reports saves her clients money, because the tax preparer doesn’t need to spend as much time gathering information for the return, she said.
Parsons can relate to the diversity of her clients’ businesses and priorities. After spending her early years on a farm in the Methow with her “hippie parents” and horses, chickens, turkeys, and a herd of goats, Parsons moved to Bellingham when she was 10. She worked in employee benefits for a large company in Los Angeles before returning to her roots in the Methow Valley.
Even in high school, Parsons had a clear vision of her goals and interests. She was a member of Future Business Leaders of America and dreamed of being an accountant and eventually becoming the chief financial officer of a Fortune 500 company.
While most of her clients are in the Methow, Gingersnap Bookkeeping is fully virtual, so Parsons can work with people anywhere in the country. She likes to meet Methow clients in person so she can support them in their goals and help them balance work and family life.
She’s a certified pro-adviser with the accounting and financial reporting company QuickBooks and a member of the Digital Bookkeeper Association.
Parsons typically charges a flat rate on a monthly basis for all her services. That way, clients can call with questions without worrying the charges will add up, she said.
“I help people with the balance of keeping books as simple as possible, but making them meaningful and useful. There’s a little bit of art to it,” she said. “I’m obviously in this to make a living, but also to make a difference.”
Gingersnap is actively seeking new clients. Contact Parsons at (509) 731-4477 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free half-hour consultation. More information is on her website at www.gingersnapbookkeeping.com.