Customer Stories

Gaining Confidence in My Business' Finances

March 27, 2024

Affiliate disclosure

Explore Annelies', founder of Roots & Rivers, success story and gain insights into her experience collaborating with our team.

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Today, we’re diving into the journey of Annelies Tjebbes, a force to be reckoned with in the business world with a refreshing outlook on life. Her belief in the potential of local change initiatives has led her to build a thriving consultancy business - impacting over 70 social purpose organizations across Canada. If you haven’t heard of Roots & Rivers yet, we’re glad to be the ones amplifying their story!

Roots & Rivers has been a client of ours for two years now, and we feel so incredibly blessed to be part of their journey. 

Explore Annelies’ success story and gain insights into her experience collaborating with our team.

Tell us about your business and how you got here

I used to be an engineer but despite my love for problem solving and product development, I was missing meaningful human connections.

To fulfill that need, I joined Engineers Without Borders Canada. That’s where I got my first taste of social change and realized that I could apply my knowledge and skills to projects with social impact. 

Working alongside systems change leaders across Canada and sub-Saharan Africa was a true privilege. Through this work I honed my skills in organizational strategy, social innovation, evaluation, and facilitation. 

A few years down the road, after an inspiring Social Innovation Residency at the Banff Centre, I decided that the most impactful way to contribute to my community would be through consulting services. I had gained a lot of experience in supporting social and community impact and wanted to share what I had learned. Little did I know, this leap would lead to the creation of Roots & Rivers in 2017. 

“Our philosophy is quite simple - we help social purpose organizations ground themselves and build a flow that works best for them. Hence the name Roots & Rivers.”

We help organizations solidify their values and vision for the world. From there, we facilitate their path to impact, enabling strategic, community-centered decisions along the way.

We have an amazing ecosystem made up of core staff, partners, and subcontractors, all brought together to ensure we have the best team in place to serve and support our clients. The diverse experiences, backgrounds and interests of our team are what allow us to tackle a variety of complex challenges. 

Since 2017, we have worked with more than 70 clients across the social purpose space including non-profits, social enterprises, governments, foundations and co-ops and have been recognised for the impact and growth we’ve been able to bring to organizations and teams.

Women at a conference

What is your long-term goal with the business?

We have vast experience supporting complex objectives, teams, and processes, and I want to keep sharing this experience with even more social-purpose organizations. 

I want Roots & Rivers to become a catalyst for sustainable and impactful change. By working with diverse clients and industries, we believe we can inject energy and strategic alignment that will support meaningful contributions for individuals and community members across Canada.

Lastly, I want to model doing business differently. We are constantly evolving how we operate as a team and trying to challenge some of the capitalist structures within which we find ourselves. We will keep learning from others we admire and sharing insights we’re picking up along the way.

How did Avalon come into the picture? 

As I was building the company, I knew that building a strong financial backbone for Roots & Rivers would be crucial, so it didn’t take long before I started exploring support options to expand beyond my areas of expertise.

I just couldn't find a solution that would stick. Bookkeepers and accountants have come and gone. I could never find someone who would take the time to really sit with me, explain how it all fit together, and help me dream about the future. I lacked visibility on R&R’s finances, and insights to help support my strategic decisions. 

Having to start over and over again to find the right people to handle my finances has been challenging, but it led me to find Avalon - a real gem!

What was the impact of outsourcing your bookkeeping & accounting?

One thing it supported was increasing my financial literacy and confidence in managing my business’ finances. I realized that I never had a full picture of how the money was flowing and how I could engage in longer-term planning and strategizing for the business.  

Getting someone to handle my day-to-day bookkeeping and also getting the long-term guidance I needed to dream about the business’ growth and build a plan to move forward has been energizing and reassuring. 

Hiring Avalon immediately reduced my stress. Multiple times a month I think to myself: “Wow, they’ve made my life substantially easier!”

How would you describe the people at Avalon? 

The people at Avalon are extremely responsive, supportive, thoughtful, and personable. They're always there for you when you need something and they take the time to respond to my queries with care and attention rather than just firing off quick responses like I have gotten in the past. 

They are also reliable and prompt when it comes to handling our books - they want to make things easier and more efficient for us.

I'm so grateful to have them on my team. It's the little things they do that really make a difference. It can be as simple as changing the subject line when they send out the monthly bookkeeping questions, making it feel like a scavenger hunt. As silly as this sounds, this made the task less intimidating and much more enjoyable. 

What would be your one piece of advice for small business owners?

Learn to love designing and improving your business. I think a lot of people find that they just want to work on delivering the services or products and don’t get fired up about how the business should run. 

Find a way to make it fun, creative, and engaging. Build yourself a team who will be as excited about it as you are. Finding people skilled in the areas you don’t feel as comfortable in will prevent you from burning out and give you the capacity to focus on the bigger picture and what you’re actually good at. 

And most importantly, give yourself some time off to focus on the other aspects of your life. Investing in yourself, your family, your health, and your hobbies is so important and your business will be stronger for it. 

If Annelies' journey with Roots & Rivers resonates with you and you're eager to elevate your organization, consider reaching out to Roots & Rivers and make sure to follow them on LinkedIn for more inspiration!

Work With Us

If Annelies’ story has you thinking about getting some help with your business finances, then it's time to make a move!

Invest in yourself by getting the support you need to focus on what really drives you and your business and let us take care of the rest. 

Ready to chat? Just fill out our contact form, and let's see how we can team up on your entrepreneurial journey!

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Originally published
March 27, 2024
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