Linda Leach thought long and hard before starting her own bookkeeping service at the beginning of this year.
"I really pondered this," she said. "I'm almost 60. Why would I want to start a new venture? Am I crazy? But you know what? Age is just a number."
And numbers are something Leach, owner of L & L Account Management, has worked with most of her life. She trained in two areas — photography and bookkeeping — while a member of the old Women's Army Corps (later assimilated into the regular Army) at Fort McClellan, Ala.
While she might have preferred to make her living as a photographer, working with figures ran a close second. "I love numbers," she said.
After moving back to her native Kansas, Leach did the books for her husband Ron's termite and pest control business in Medicine Lodge. When they sold the business to Terminix, Leach worked as a bookkeeper for that company, then moved to a similar position with Orkin.
She had also been doing some bookkeeping on the side to supplement her family's income, and it was those clients who encouraged her to start her own business, which she opened on Jan. 1.
Leach's first client was Club Indigo, the Old Town nightclub. She has landed several more clients in the entertainment and food business.
For now, she works out of an office in her north Wichita home with the help of one part-time employee. She's going after the business of small and medium companies. "I'm always giving out cards," she said.
Leach offers all general bookkeeping services — accounts payable and receivable, payroll — and is also a certified tax preparer for businesses and individuals.
In general, she says most business owners aren't qualified — or at least don't have the time — to do their own books.
"They have another trade," she said. "They're so concentrated on what they do that they don't have the time and energy to put into it, and it's a very important part of the business.
"I can let them know where they're at financially — whether they're making money, losing money or holding ground. I just think it's important for them to know that, whether it's on a weekly or monthly basis."
And in the current economy, she said, outsourcing that work to someone like her makes sense.
"Everyone is struggling so much right now without having the burden of having another employee that they have to pay payroll taxes on and have work so many hours a week," she said. "This gives them the opportunity to maybe expand in different areas."