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Cedar Mill News
Volume 6, Issue 4


April 2008

Elliott Bookkeeping School ExteriorFeatured Business
Elliott Bookkeeping School

By Virginia Bruce

Diane Sandefur attended classes at Elliott Bookkeeping School (EBS) in 1993, and she liked it so much, she bought the company! After returning to work as a registrar in 1998, she learned that founder Brad Elliott was getting tired of running the business and wanted to move into other ventures. In 2000 Diane bought the company and is now the owner and director. Elliott stayed on to teach their popular one-day seminar, “Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business.”

Elliott Bookkeeping testimonials
Testimonials and articles about the school adorn one wall

Elliott had worked for a variety of medium-sized business in the 1970s, and eventually started a one-man bookkeeping business to serve the many small companies who needed his service. After being asked repeatedly for help training bookkeepers for his clients, he realized there was a need for short-term focused education to train people to keep books. He founded EBS in 1983 to provide short-term, cost-effective training. After one year in Beaverton, the school moved to its present location on the first floor of the Woodlawn Professional Center on Murray, north of Cornell.

The school is ideal for presently-employed bookkeepers who want to sharpen their skills and for those looking to launch a new career. Small business owners who want to do their own books or who want to have a better understanding of what their bookkeeper is doing find EBS invaluable for learning the basics. Parents re-entering the workforce and others who just want to see if bookkeeping might be for them find the short, focused programs ideal. With a threatened downturn in the housing market, Sandefur has recently seen several real estate agents who are looking for a new career!

Elliott Bookkeeping class
Practical Bookkeeping instructor Hank Becker helps students understand a homework problem. Small classes ensure lots of personal attention.

Some students are referred from the state employment division’s WorkSource Oregon and from the Capital Career Center program. Many hear about the school from friends and associates. About 20% of their students are sent by employers who want to enhance employee skills, including CPAs who need better-trained staff.

Their most popular class, “Practical Bookkeeping,” is offered as a fourteen-week classroom course and also as a correspondence course. Completing the course prepares students for full-charge bookkeeping positions and earns them a Bookkeeping Certificate. Some students go on to take the exam offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers which confers a Certified Bookkeeper designation (C.B.). But Sandefur says, “There’s so much work out there that certification is really not necessary. Employers usually don’t ask for that, they just want a good bookkeeper.”

Elliott Bookkeeping books

A thick workbook is included with every class, along with a textbook

Other course offerings include Advanced Bookkeeping, Payroll Master, and the one-day seminar, Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business. Many classes are offered in both classroom and correspondence versions. They have students using their programs from as far away as Florida and even from Europe. Sandefur says that bookkeeping is based on universal principles that are 500 years old, and the principles don’t vary that much from country to country.

Students should expect to spend three or four hours per week outside of class doing exercises in workbooks and reading the material in the textbooks that are provided with the courses. Instructors spend time with students in the small classes to make sure everyone understands the material.

EBS also offers self-paced tutored courses in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and Quickbooks and also in the Peachtree system. Eventually Sandefur may add more advanced computer courses if student demand is there. “But we don’t want to grow too much. We are more interested in keeping our small classes and high-quality standards,” she says.

Placement is rarely a problem, students are in high demand. Diane and registrar Amanda Anderson regularly field calls from employers asking for job candidates. They match up these requests with student interests.

Diane Sandefur lives in the Cedar Mill area and loves the community. She likes the small-town feel and being able to use local businesses for most of her needs. The location near the Sunset Highway is convenient for her students.

She recently joined the Board of Directors of the Cedar Mill Business Association as, you guessed it, Treasurer. Former group treasurer Mark Sleasman, who used to work at Alten Sakai CPA in Cedar Hills, took a position in a private company on the east side of Portland and was not able to continue. We appreciate Diane stepping into this important position. And she has some great ideas for energizing and publicizing the CMBA and promoting our member companies.

Asked if she had anything she wanted to add, Diane just reminded us all, “Every business needs a bookkeeper!”

For more information about the school, call them at 503-644-6451 or visit their website at elliottbookkeepingschool.com




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Published monthly by Cedar Mill Advertising & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229