I have the experience, creativity,
and problem solving skills…
and entrepreneurial spirit
that would benefit your organization.
Have a look around. Read my objectives.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Statement of Objectives
I might be looking for you. You are probably looking for me.
There is much more here than you will find on my resume.
Gathering many skills and much wisdom during a full and varied life has been rewarding. I have learned that being an active participant in and contributor to my community is important to me. I love working with creative people, and with analytical people. I am a problem-solver, a consensus builder, and a calming presence. I am not good at being idle. My resume highlights some specific jobs, but doesn’t tell the story, so I created this website to fill in around the dry facts. Though I have had “tax jobs”, “bookkeeping jobs”, “photography jobs”, and more, my actual work has not been so narrowly defined. And when I look back today at the accomplishments and impact of my volunteer (or lightly subsidized) work, it becomes clear to me that those outcomes are of at least equal importance. Have a look and see if you agree.
I use and teach QuickBooks, Excel, and a variety of industry-specific business programs to provide accurate records in a timely manner. But far more important to me is being able to help business owners understand the financial results of their efforts. A client may be great at making widgets, cleaning offices, or creating beautiful art, but most do not also see the big and small pictures reflected in their financial records. Making that connection is what makes bookkeeping relevant and interesting. I also love hearing my clients serve me back my own line, “What are our resources?” For the small to mid-sized businesses that I have worked with, this kind of question separates the businesses that learn to flex and survive from the ones that do not.
Tax Prep & Financial Planning
CFP financial planning coursework guided my financial and tax matters outlook right from the beginning. Yes, I complete accurate and honest tax returns that result in the lowest tax possible for my clients. But the process is much more. While catching up on their year, I am listening carefully for the opportunities that evolve along with life’s changes, or for clues that I might not have picked up on (or they did not share) previously. I know that some of my clients rarely experience the kind of engaged exchange they have at my desk. Not only am I better able to understand their tax and financial situation, but I am also able to connect in a way that constantly reminds me of our shared humanity, regardless of diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Years ago, as a young broker, I developed a very successful “Investments 101″ presentation. Facilitating that brought me in contact with people from all walks of life. I learned to find common ground on which understanding and trust could be built. And I learned to listen. In my years of teaching personal income tax classes and training preparers, I have passed that experience on to my students, combining the learning of essential skills and facts with sensitive understanding of the complexity of our clients’ lives and how different those lives might be from our own. This is one of those touchpoints with ‘community’ that is so important to me.
Photography & Publishing
Others often comment about my photography that I “see things”. I think they mean that I show them something familiar in a way that causes them to think about it in a different light. Product photography proofs sometimes result in a client seeing their own work in a new way, prompting discussion as to what is important to show in the product photography, in advertising, and marketing collateral, which in turn has an impact on business decisions regarding marketplace and niche. Also rewarding are the times my photographs have influenced others, including other artists, to explore an area or topic they had not previously considered interesting or beautiful enough. I have not yet experienced a place or topic that wasn’t interesting enough to study visually. When I look through a lens, it separates me from my biases in a way that makes room for insight. In addition to family and community, that insight is pretty much what I live for.
Arts In Education
Chairing and other involvement with my town’s arts-in-education committees gave me the opportunity to explore the role of the arts in learning as well as in community. As much as I enjoyed bringing musicians, authors, dancers, storytellers, and artists of many types and genres into the schools, I also came to understand art as the human endeavor it is, and to understand and cherish its role in building and defining community. Humans have always been artists. My view is that all forms of art are forms of communication. There are some ideas, experiences, and emotions that are difficult to put into words, even for the most eloquent among us. It benefits all of us to understand many forms of communication. It promotes understanding in a way that honours the differences in our points of view, while also finding common ground among those differences.
School Savings/Financial Education
While studying the concepts and complexities of financial planning, I decided that financial education is best as a bottoms up, rather than top down endeavour. No better place to start than with children. And I felt that if I could get some of the key concepts across to elementary and middle school kids, that I should be able to do the same for their parents. Bringing bank savings back into elementary schools in partnership with local banks allowed me to show children what money can, and just as importantly, cannot do. There are young people starting out in their careers today who tell me my simple message of ‘save some, spend some, and give some away’ has stuck with them and formed the basis of their personal budgets and financial awareness. That’s a good start.
Marketing, Publications, Activities
Other volunteer work for organizations and interests with which I have been involved includes marketing in a variety of forms. Logos, brochures, contracts, newsletters and other publications promoted the organizations, provided clear messages to keep customers and members informed, and were a platform for voices and artwork to be heard and seen. Coordinating group workshops, seminars, and trips to explore various special interest topics were all rewarding experiences I might not have had without my volunteer work.
Although my resume skill set emphasizes bookkeeping, it’s really the problem solving, analyzing, office administration, and photography, where my talents are most evident. I have excellent data entry and typing skills with very high levels of speed and accuracy. I do best with a variety of activities, in a cooperative and entrepreneurial setting, or in a department that operates on these principles. I thrive on projects, from brainstorming new ideas, through working with others to help bring those ideas to fruition, to refining and managing a mature product, service, or event. I enjoy being part of a team that is more than the sum of its parts. Bottom line, what matters to me is not a specific job, but rather outcomes. I want, or perhaps need, to have an influence on my workplace that results in positive outcomes. One that provides stability &/or growth to the company while also maintaining a workplace and product or service that is humane, positive, and of high quality. I love being part of a community, and working creatively and with creative people. That said, I also have to pay my mortgage, so if you have a project for me, give me a shout. If you see a more permanent place for me in your company, I would love to talk with you about that, too.
For Fundraisers, Weddings & Events.
Also available for retail resale.
Portraits With Personality
Casual sessions for humans and/or pets.
For Local Artists
Custom products to promote your work.
Dan Dahlstrom, Artist
Available as Keychain or Magnet
For Office, Conference Room, or Home
Images with a sense of place.
Attention grabbing printed collateral
Business cards, brochures, publications, and much more!