Meet Alma Kelly, CFO & Co-Owner of PC Survivors
A Brief Introduction
My name is Alma Kelly. My husband David and I are the owners of PC Survivors. We purchased the company from the previous owners who retired in October of 2020. My husband and I relocated from Upland, California to Duxbury, Massachusetts in December of 2016 with our six children.
What inspired you to own your own business?
Since we first met in college, it has always been my husbands and I’s goal to one day combine and leverage our individual talents and own and operate our own business. As an accountant, I have had the unique opportunity to work very closely with numerous small business owners and witness firsthand both the risks and rewards of such an endeavor. Furthermore, being a mom and having worked in both the public and private sector, I quickly realized that the work schedule flexibility my family required could only truly be realized if I was to become ‘my own boss’. In 2010, I started my own company: Kelly Accounting Services LLC. From that day on, I have managed my own destiny.
What inspires your work and what sets you apart from everyone else?
In the accounting world, what inspired me was being an accountant that my clients could trust. It’s the same with our data destruction and electronics recycling business. Our clients trust that they are working with a company who cares about their data security and who cares about the environment. I am mostly inspired by our employees who prove to us daily that we are the leader in our industry. They are the face of our company to the hospitals, banks, universities, and every single person we serve and they demonstrate our commitment to data security and our ability to provide outstanding customer service.
What is your background and how did you develop the skills to own your business?
Since I was a young girl, I always knew that I wanted to be involved with financial accounting. As soon as I had grasped the fundamentals of basic math, I used those skills to balance my mother’s checkbook and to keep our family budget in line. My first job was as a bank teller. I quickly rose in the ranks to become the youngest branch manager. Wanting more, I enrolled in college and studied Business and Economics at the University of California Riverside.
What has been your biggest success to date?
I hold my husband and family close to my heart. At the end of the day, they are what I am most proud of. Beyond that, I would have to say that both moving from Southern California to Massachusetts and eventually acquiring PC Survivors are the two accomplishments I am most proud of.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge I faced was being a wife and mother of three children and going to school at the same time. Not only did my desire and decision to complete my degree put an emotional burden on my husband and children, but it also put a great financial burden on the family as well.
Describe your typical work day.
My work day typically starts from home at 6 am. I review any emails that have come through in the night from our company’s website. Once I have all the kids off to school, I head into the office and typically arrive by 9:30 am. Every day is an adventure here at PC Survivors. My day-to-day activities include evaluating profit margins, managing and prioritizing costs, planning for and maximizing profits, budgets forecasting (my favorite), financial reconciliations and providing high-level customer service. I typically leave the office by 3:30 pm in order to be home early in the evening for my children.
Which small businesses are you inspired by?
I love to network with other small businesses and find opportunities to help each other grow, but the husband-and-wife teams like ours are the businesses that inspire me the most.
If you could go back to the beginning knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
I would have gone to college right after high school instead of waiting until I already had a family. I definitely would have started my business sooner than I did, knowing that it isn’t as hard as I made it out to be.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start her own business?
Believe in yourself. Believe in your abilities. Don’t let other people’s tales of failure discourage you. Stick to your core values when making any and all decisions. Don’t be afraid to take risks because it’s true what they say, “The greater the risk, the greater the reward.” Find a mentor that can guide you to the next level. Once you’ve outgrown that mentor, find another one to guide you even higher.