Vancouver Circus School's Bookkeeping Balancing Act
The Vancouver Circus School (VCS) is an independent, coach-directed circus and acrobatic program operating in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. The School is owned and operated by circus and acrobatic coaching professionals, and offers both the young, and young at heart the experience, thrill and excitement of learning the ‘art of circus’.
At the young age of 24, Travis Johnson started the VCS with his father Aaron Johnson, who taught for Cirque du Soleil, was a Canadian national trampoline coach, and started the Family Services of Greater Vancouver’s detached youth program.
Today, Travis oversees three circus-oriented organizations (both for profit and nonprofit), is a level 3 certified Trampoline Coach, and an Air Space Freestyle Skiing level 2 coach. And in his spare time, he is a personal time management coach and father to an active toddler.
Travis oversees three tightly connected organizations; the Vancouver Circus School, VCS Events, a professional entertainment company that to date, has produced over 600 events worldwide, and The Social Circus Foundation, which utilizes circus as a catalyst to create positive social change in at-risk and marginalized areas in our community and around the world.
As you might expect, running three circus-related organizations means you’ve got a lot of balls in the air. For Travis, that means managing people, processes, events, clients, travel, educational programming, and more. At the best of times, that makes for busy days, but when you layer in bookkeepers and back office functions, it starts to look more like, well, a circus!
In 2019, Travis was managing one of a long line of bookkeepers over a period of 15 years, when he realized that nothing felt organized, and the burden on him to both train and manage a person and then review all of their work, was taking more time than he could spare.
Not only did it feel like they were always playing “catch-up”, but Travis never had access to real-time information when he needed it despite the fact that there was paperwork spread out all over the office. And when tax season rolled around, his bookkeepers were too busy to provide the continuous support he needed, leading to another mountain of catch-up work. It was starting to be an unmanageable, vicious cycle.
After being referred to Enkel by a friend, Travis interviewed Enkel CEO Omar Visram. Right out of the gates, Travis liked the team at Enkel and saw in Omar someone who was very competent, worked hard, and genuinely cared about the business. But the winning combination for Travis was Enkel’s commitment to systems and processes that make everything run more efficiently, and provide real-time access to information when and where you need it.
For a busy guy like Travis, Enkel’s use of checklists and digital receipt management solutions were a game-changer. Piles of paper, catch-up work, and bookkeeper oversight quickly became a thing of the past.
Being a big fan of processes and well-organized systems, Travis quickly adopted the cloud-accounting tools used by Enkel that save time, improve collaboration, store documents and receipts, and put an end to mountains of paperwork and spreadsheets. When coupled with the straight-forward checklists Enkel uses to help business operators stay on top of their deliverables, it created a hyper-efficient system and monthly bookkeeping cadence for VCS.
After 15 years of managing, training and monitoring bookkeepers who bring varying levels of skills to the table, get too busy during tax season to provide adequate service, and can, without notice, come and go due to unforeseen circumstances, Travis welcomed what he calls the Enkel “machine”. Even when there is change within the team at Enkel, the system and processes in place mean that there is little to no disruption in Enkels’ ability to get his team paid and deliver quality reporting and bookkeeping best practices.
Today, Travis spends about 15 minutes a week on bookkeeping. He gets up-to-date reports every month, always gets answers when he needs them, and can access everything in the cloud. He no longer has to hire and manage people to get his books done, is saving on office space, and has the confidence that his bookkeeping and payroll will get done accurately, and on time.
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