Herald JournalHerald Journal, Oct. 11, 2004

Messy books? Sounds like a job for Olchefske

By Jane Otto

With 20 years accounting experience behind her, Dawn Olchefske wants to extend that experience to Waverly and Montrose area businesses.

As owner of the home-based Olchefske Accounting Services, Olfchefske sees her business as filling a “weird sort of niche.”

Not necessarily a bookkeeper or tax accountant, though she can provide those services, Olchefske said, “I get the call when the books are a mess.”

She helps small businesses that are struggling with producing monthly financial statements, reconciling their bank statements, or filing payroll tax deposits and reports.

“I usually get them caught up and cleaned up,” she said. “I help establish controls, a system and procedures, then just come quarterly or annually.”

Familiar with the Small Business Administration process, Olchefske can also assist businesses with filing loan papers. Other accounting services Olchefske offers include setting up accounting software, training and supporting staff, budgeting and job costing, and year-end reporting.

“Despite what people think — ‘accounting is boring’ — I like it,” Olchefske said. “I have a system. I’m very consistent. It just works and flows.”

Four years ago, the Olchefskes bought a small cabin on Lake Waverly. After a year of weekend commuting, they sold their Maple Grove home and permanently settled in Waverly.

Though a Waverly resident for three years, Olchefske said she just recently started to promote her business. She’s a recent Montrose-Waverly Area Chamber of Commerce member and is looking into getting her business advertised in Waverly’s welcome-wagon material.

Olchefske sees herself at the “networking point,” and hopes by Jan. 1 to be serving more area businesses.

Olchefske started her business when her two daughters entered their middle-school years. “I didn’t book myself full time,” she said. “They really enjoyed that I was at home. It was probably one of the better decisions I made in my life.”

Olchefske did, however, throw herself wholeheartedly into Girl Scout volunteering. She was a troop leader, trained other troop leaders, was a service unit manager, and a day camp director.

Her Girl Scout troop traveled to Europe on cookie sale profits it made. “We literally sold tens of thousands of cookies. We made lots of money,” she said. “I guess the (Girl Scout) council took note of that.”

Following that, the Greater Minneapolis Council asked Olchefske to chair its cookie sale drive, which she did for two years. Her bookkeeping skills came in handy then as there was “lots to keep track of,” Olchefske said.

Her volunteering didn’t stop with the Girl Scouts. Olchefske also served as a Girl Scout liaison to the Maple Grove community organization and established a Maple Grove High School band booster club. Her volunteer activities garnered her recognition as Maple Grove’s volunteer of the year, an honor she had no idea she was nominated for.

With both her daughters, now 25 and 23, no longer at home, Olchefske hasn’t lacked for something to do. In addition to her accounting business, she also does direct sales and shows for a stamping firm. The firm’s line includes stamps for all occasions, felt-tipped pens, ink pads of various colors, and an assortment of papers.

“Stamping fills that whole creative side,” Olchefske said. “I feel I have a good balance.”

She is currently teaching a Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted community education class in which she demonstrates various stamping projects, such as greeting cards or scrapbook pages.

“I made a conscious decision to take stamping from a hobby business to a business,” Olchefske said. “It’s actually working.”

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