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Meet Jelena Arkula of Books LA in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jelena Arkula.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jelena. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Bookkeeping and accounting somehow always made sense to me.

Prior to going into the accounting, I was a banker and was quite good, but that career was never something I saw myself long term. Although for the longest time I was very afraid to venture on my own, that decision was made for me back in 2008 when I lost my job as a production accountant in the entertainment industry and was forced to start on my own.

In the first few months of being unemployed, I took a hard look at my life and what I was missing.

I have dreamed that one day I will be able to work and travel at the same time. Being originally from EU I started to realize that I was missing my family, my friends and that I haven’t traveled almost at all in the past decade and a half.

However, there was an obstacle. How was I to do so when the technology was not yet up to par and the word ‘cloud’ was only used mostly by a meteorologist at the time. Nevertheless, I was going to make that happen.

My focus had shifted to primarily an online version of the software, and I started researching the different options that might be beneficial to me.

It took few years, but now we are a company that is 100% in the cloud and we use QuickBooks or Xero, with Hubdoc (mandatory).

We know that not all of the clients out there are not a good fit for us, and that is absolutely fine. We do however have a great network of colleagues and often when the new prospect calls and we are not a good fit, we are happy to refer someone who is.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
If the road is smooth, that just means that the obstacle is ahead and that we need to use the smooth road to prepare for the rough parts ahead. But that is a part of the journey and the faster we accept it as a part of the process the faster we can use the bumpy road to our advantage.

Most common obstacles we faced before were a client’s hesitation to adapt to a better and way more proficient method, including the cost effectiveness. But that is just it, some clients will and some just won’t adapt.

What we have learned is to recognize early if the client is a good fit and is willing to work with us with very simplified but modernized way.

Some clients are just not – and that is perfectly OK – it is just not ideal match with us.

Just yesterday we received an inquiry for a ‘light work in excel’. We refused the work.

What clients often don’t realize is what seems easy in the everyday world might be just the opposite in our world. Our mission is to transfer the raw data from the everyday business into financial reports that could be used for making importation business and financial decisions. The road from data to reports can be very different, but the end result should be the same. We strive to have the accurate and precise end result. And we often use a bit modern and advanced approach.

Books LA – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a bookkeeping company, and we are using the cloud to our advantage.

Here in Books LA we are required to learn one new app a month. At least one. We attend seminar and conferences where we make sure to use the most advanced technology in our practice.

We are Advanced certified in QuickBooks Online and Desktop, and that is badge we proudly wear.

Because of that, we have been named one of the Top 50 cloud companies (for the 2nd year in a row, and are part of the ScanSnap Squad Community. (

In the past year, most of the clients we got were the direct referrals from the existing ones.

Also in the past year, we were able to use ONLY ONE ream of paper. Yes, JUST ONE!

Staying on top of the advances and technology is a key and is a must for us. And our clients appreciate that.

We are here to serve our clients, and this is how we can give our best – by constantly learning and utilizing the tools that are available.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Proudest moment? That is kind of like asking who is your favorite child!

There are quite a few:

– Being named TOP 50 company for the 2nd year.

– Being listed No1 in the Intuit’s Find-A-ProAdvisor site the 1000 miles radius from Santa Monica.

– Being Advanced Certified for both Online and Desktop QuickBooks.

– Being quoted by Intuit and published by Fujitsu ScanSquad.

These are just a few highlights so far..

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Alex S.

    September 19, 2017 at 00:12

    Great article!
    I have been working with Books LA for the past decade and love their forward-thinking approach to bookkeeping.

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