Imposter syndrome is costing bookkeepers money
On paper, precision and attention to detail are two of a bookkeeper’s greatest assets. Yet when combined, these traits may turn into a sense of perfectionism, which can manifest as imposter syndrome.
The impact of imposter syndrome can be insidious – holding you back from career progression, negating your self-worth and preventing you from pursuing what you want to do. But according to research, it’s not just your mental health that’s impacted. It’s your pricing strategies and bottom line too.
In this post, we will share some strategies that you can use to manage self-doubt, as well as establish a pricing strategy that reflects the expertise and value you bring to the table.
First, let’s unpack some of the signs of imposter syndrome.
Understanding imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern where professionals frequently doubt their successes and fear being exposed as frauds, despite strong evidence to the contrary.
First identified by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, it’s described as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe they are not intelligent, capable, or creative despite evidence of high achievement”.
Second-guessing the value of your services, reducing the price at the last minute, finishing a piece of work and feeling like a fraud, or continuous negative self-talk are all signs that you may be struggling with imposter syndrome.
If this feels familiar, you’re not alone.
Researchers have found that up to 82% of people have suffered from imposter syndrome at some point in their careers, regardless of their achievements or professional standing. In fact, Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou, Sheryl Sandberg, and David Bowie have shared this in common.
Common among bookkeepers, these feelings of ‘not measuring up’ can lead to dramatically undervaluing your services and blocking professional growth.
Putting a blocker on scalable pricing strategies
For bookkeepers, imposter syndrome can translate into reluctance in pricing discussions and self-deprecation. Seeing yourself as “only a bookkeeper” is not only untrue, but is a disservice to the bookkeeping profession.
It undermines the critical and essential role you play in businesses, from ensuring financial accuracy to aiding strategic decision-making.
However, the good news is that recognising the signs of imposter syndrome is the first step towards dealing with it.
Braving pricing conversations
When you take on extra work, add additional services, or your clients’ projects become more complex, you are well placed to follow up with a proposal that outlines the value and scope of your work, as well as any necessary pricing adjustments.
If you’re looking for evidence to reinforce your pricing, spend some time researching the industry standards for bookkeeping services and see where your pricing falls within this context. Reaching out to clients for feedback and using their testimonials to identify your unique value can also help in understanding your differentiation and unique selling points (USPs).
7 ways to help manage imposter syndrome
1. Acknowledge Your Value: Remember that your skills in managing complex financial data and navigating regulatory landscapes are invaluable. You’re not ‘just a bookkeeper’ – you’re a vital component of your clients’ business success.
2. Pricing Conversations: Be proactive and confident in discussing your fees. Embrace the idea that the investment called ‘you’ is valuable and deserves fair compensation.
3. Celebrate Achievements: You don’t have to wait for others to recognise your successes or give positive feedback – actively reflect when a project goes well. Keeping a record of accomplishments and kind words from clients or colleagues can help build your confidence and remind yourself of your value if you need it.
4. Professional Development: Invest in your training, explore additional courses and certifications, or explore new areas like freelance writing that could support your bookkeeping services.
5. Positive Self-Talk: If you find yourself in a loop of negative self-talk, catch yourself and reframe with affirmations of your work.
6. Seek Support: Reach out to mentors and colleagues to discuss your feelings. Good mentors are worth their weight in gold to offer objective viewpoints, and offer strategies to help you counter feelings of unworthiness at work.
7. Join Communities: You can also consider joining groups such as #IAmRemarkable, a global movement that empowers underrepresented groups lift their motivation, challenge the social perception around self promotion, and get comfortable sharing their accomplishments.
A quick summary
Initiating pricing conversations can be daunting – but when equipped with industry rates and most importantly, a strong awareness of the unique value and skillset that you bring to the table, you can implement pricing strategies that reflect your expertise.
Here at Bright, our award-winning suite of software is designed to streamline your accounting tasks, from payroll to practice management.
Want to learn more about our software? Book a no-obligation demo of our solutions below.
Want to find out more about how imposter syndrome could be sabotaging your profits? Click here to register for our upcoming webinar where we go into even more detail.
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Bright was created in 2021 when Thesaurus Software Ltd. and Relate Software Ltd. decided to join forces. Bright is a leading provider of accounting, payroll, tax and HR solutions to businesses across the UK and Ireland. We help thousands of accountants, bookkeepers and small to mid-sized businesses become more productive and efficient with our...