Cathy Solsaa is a talented, busy person. She’s a longarm quilter, a wife, and a mother of four. She has a degree in economics, she’s a massage therapist, and she helps run her husband’s contracting business. “I’m sort of a seeker, a learner,” she says.

She recently added another qualification to her list. Last year, Solsaa took CCV’s Certified Public Bookkeeping (CPB) class. “110%, it was a good investment of my time.”

Solsaa had spent years doing the books for her husband’s steadily growing business, but never without the fear that she was doing something wrong, without the stress of somehow finding herself in trouble with the IRS, or without the sense that she was wasting some of her valuable time and energy. Despite being comfortable with numbers, she always felt like she was “winging it.”

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Chris Oldham and Dare Meunier at the Lightning Jar in Bennington.
Lorianna Weathers Photography

Solsaa says the CPB class changed all of that. “It lowered my stress level significantly, especially around tax time. It helped me become very efficient with my time, freeing up time for family as well as other parts of my work… it helped me be prepared.” It’s also helped her family financially. “I’ve felt really confident since I’ve taken the course. When I go in to our accountant I am totally 98% tax ready, which saves us a lot of money.” The training also opened doors for her career. “[It] also gives me another opportunity for a revenue stream if I want it. It’s another tool in my toolkit to make money.”

And it’s a tool that is increasingly in demand, especially in Rutland County, where Solsaa makes her home. She says she’s been able to help fellow small business owners with their bookkeeping, and has also considered offering the service professionally. “I really do think there’s an opportunity. I guess there are bookkeepers here, but it just seems like there’s a lot of people here who could use some help.” If she does decide to branch out into professional bookkeeping, she won’t be leaving her massage and quilting businesses behind. “Taking the course allowed me to really get efficient with my time that I spend bookkeeping so that I can do my other jobs.”

CCV began offering the Certified Public Bookkeeping (CPB) pathway in 2016. The semester-long training offers four nationally recognized certificates in bookkeeping, accounting, QuickBooks, and payroll. After that first semester, students can begin work as a bookkeeper, and also have the option of pursuing CPB licensure by continuing their studies in CCV’s bookkeeping certificate program or working for two years as a full-time bookkeeper. From there, a student could continue working and/or continue their education in the field of accounting.

Solsaa says she enrolled as soon as she could after finding out about the course from a friend. “I really loved it. I loved particularly the financial accounting portion of it. It’s quite a rigorous program; you cover a lot of material in a short time.”

With that in mind, she has some advice for people who might be interested in the program. “I would say do all the homework and ask for extra help. That first class, financial accounting, is the underpinning for everything, so you have to have that solidly under your belt to understand how a relationship database like QuickBooks works. I think someone who’s thinking about going into bookkeeping would probably be pretty comfortable with numbers.” To date, most students in the CPB program own small businesses or have at least some previous bookkeeping experience.

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