Originally from New York, Christine Irizarry-Amoruso, founder of Tradition Accounting and Bookkeeping, moved to Port Saint Lucie eight years ago. Her husband, a Class A PGA Professional, would spend half the year in Florida and the other half in New York. To improve the quality of life for their family, they made the permanent move to Florida and Irizarry-Amoruso, after spending some time telecommuting for her former job in New York, went to work for a large real estate company. She rose to the position of Controller and started doing consulting on the side. In August 2017, Irizarry-Amoruso took the entrepreneurial plunge and decided to pursue her consulting business full time.
"I was pretty much exclusively working with developers and general contractors," she said. "I realized that my talents were better suited to small business and the private sector. I also didn't have a very good work/life balance. I was treated like a commodity. It was up to me to create my own work/life balance. When I decided to pursue my own business full-time and quit the Controller position, I opened a new book of a genre I've never read before. It was exhilarating and scary all at the same time. Every day I'm still nervous about it, but I wake up with vigor and set out to be the best I can be."
Irizarry-Amoruso started with one client she brought over from her previous job. She signed up with online services such as Thumbtack and Bark that match customers with local professionals. She also reached out to someone looking for an accountant through Craigslist. She quickly realized that you don't get clients from one location and learned how to navigate these various channels. There were other challenges too.
"It's tough when you first launch because you have to navigate what to do, when to do it, how to do it and how to do it efficiently and cost effectively," she said. "You also play all the roles. You're constantly researching and learning from your mistakes and from those of others. All of this is done on an extremely limited budget."
Challenges aside, Irizarry-Amoruso really enjoys owning her own business and working with a diverse set of clients. As a Certified Fraud Examiner with a Masters in Accounting, Irizarry-Amoruso also enjoys getting prospective clients to see the benefit of outsourcing their accounting and bookkeeping to someone they trust. "A lot of times at networking events, you'll hear someone say their spouse uses Quickbooks to do the bookkeeping or someone else in their office does it. If that's the case, they're probably not utilizing the full functionality of the software. Also, the average bookkeeper fraud is $220,000 in stolen money. Business owners can mitigate this risk by outsourcing their accounting and bookkeeping to someone like me."
Tradition Accounting and Bookkeeping provides accounting, bookkeeping, property management accounting, construction accounting services and more. Their core values are based on the following: 1.) Providing quality service and treating clients with respect, 2.) Maintaining integrity, ethical and trustworthy behavior in all relationships, 3.) Learning about the changing market, economic climate and helping clients maintain financial stability, 4.) Understanding what it means to be an entrepreneur and 5.) Staying abreast of accounting trends and changes by engaging in continued professional education and development. Irizarry-Amoruso is also very passionate about female entrepreneurs and helping them succeed. She's actively involved with a professional networking group for women, an entrepreneurship group for women, a real estate networking group and a networking group with the Hispanic Chamber.
Looking ahead, Irizarry-Amoruso has some big goals for the future. "I would like to have a storefront," she said. "I'd also like to have a presence in St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County. I would also consider partnering with someone or buying out a firm where the owner is ready to retire. In the short-term, I'm coming to a point where I may need to hire someone. I didn't anticipate this type of growth so early on."
Irizarry-Amoruso offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "Diligently do your research," she said. "It's too easy for the idea to sound great. It's great to be your own boss, make your own schedule and have no one to report to, but it takes a ton of research to make sure it's the right move for you. Figure out your footing and go for it. If pursuing your own business doesn't work out, you can always go and get another job."