My name is Dana Johnson. I started working for By the Book in November 2019 and am the newest member of the team. Karen and I met in 1993 while working for the same company, so I really don’t feel like the new kid on the block. I began my accounting career more than 30 years ago for large property management company. My time there spanned more than 25 years and during my tenure, I held positions in A/P and A/R, worked as Special Projects Coordinator, Due Diligence/Settlement Specialist, and Senior Accounting Manager. I analyzed monthly financial reports for approx. 18,000 units/100 properties, was liaison for all year-end tax prep and audits and facilitated final settlement and close out of $350,000,000 in assets. I also spearheaded two software conversions and created or updated accounting procedures to streamline production. Since I wasn’t busy enough, my husband and I also opened a remodeling company. Working in the construction industry for 13 years afforded me vast knowledge in cost accounting and payroll. Ironically, Karen and By the Book, assisted in setting up our QuickBooks. In 2012 I joined an environmental engineering government contractor. I handled all aspects of accounting, HR/payroll and contract administration. I worked closely with management to develop rates and prepare all government required reporting. In 2018 I returned to the property management industry to assume the role of Controller for a growing company. My duties included accounting procedure development, new business implementation, all aspects of accounting, financial report preparation and analysis, accountant liaison, and HR/payroll manager for 100 employees. I am a graduate of Liberty University with a Certification in Accounting. In my spare time I love to run, read and spend time with my family. Most people that know me would never believe I love to be outdoors on the family farm getting dirty riding ATVs and hiking. I am meticulous, organized, and dedicated to work tirelessly to complete your project. Let’s get started!
I’ve done bookkeeping in one form or another for about 26 years. With Quickbooks, about 10 years. I’ve worked with BTB a little over 4 years. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a minor in Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University. I have a wonderful husband to whom I have been married almost 30 years. We have 2 daughters. Bekka has a degree from CNU and is in the apprentice school at the shipyard going into the advanced program to get another degree. Rachel who just graduated with a social work degree in May, has been accepted into the Master’s program at Penn State Harrisburg campus and got married in August to our new son-in-law Jared. Fun fact about me is I LOVE to do escape rooms!
Jennifer has been with By The Book for almost 9 years but has 15 years of experience as a bookkeeper including companies as diverse as steel construction, non-profit associations, and churches. She primarily works with multiple versions of QuickBooks but also has experience with Sage. She is a native of Hampton and a proud alumnus of Hampton High School. She has also been a licensed cosmetologist for the past 25 years. Jennifer enjoys practicing her culinary skills at home, singing, and spoiling her six grandchildren.
Hi my name is Liz Compton and I’m located in Troy, IL (a suburb of St. Louis). I was born and raised in England so I bring the international flavor to By The Book. I got my Associates Degree in Business and Finance from St. Helens College, UK in 1986 and have been doing different forms of bookkeeping ever since. In 1991 I married an American and moved to Virginia; yes we’re a military family! I first met Karen Burtnette in 1994 when we worked in the same office. Not long after I left to start a family and Karen left to start By The Book. As an interesting side note, I became a US Citizen in 2000 and Karen was by my side during the swearing in ceremony at the US District Court in Norfolk, VA. It was a lovely memorable occasion. I’ve done bookkeeping for large companies and small but my passion is working with small start ups and helping them grow. During my 15 years of living in Virginia I specialized in Government Contracts, then I moved to The Netherlands where I managed the government subsidies program for the US Embassy. I have used Quickbooks to manage all types of businesses because it really is the most flexible bookkeeping program on the market. In 2011 I moved back to the States and we chose St. Louis as our permanent home. When my husband retired from the Army I officially joined By The Book where I take care of our Offsite Clients and I specialize in payroll. Working for By The Book has been my favorite job of all because of the huge variety of clients. I look forward to working with you.
Michele has been with By the Book since August of 2015. She was born in Italy while her dad was stationed there. He was from Alabama & her mom was from London, England – a true “met during the blitz” romance. Her parents moved to Newport News when she was in the 4th grade and she has called it home ever since. She graduated from HRA and earned a BS in Governmental Administration with a minor in English at CNU (back then it was CNC). She studied for her masters in Urban Studies at Va. Tech and completed it at ODU. She also earned all her insurance licenses and finally a CFP designation. After working in various jobs within these assorted fields, she chucked it all to become a travel and underwater photographer/writer. After a few years of roaming around the oceans of the world, she had to curtail her travels to care for an ailing parent. A friend asked her to help out at her business office in 2002 and that’s when she discovered she actually liked bookkeeping. After learning Peachtree, she discovered the ease of Quickbooks and has been working with it ever since. She also met and married Helmut, a German (now naturalized citizen), and helped him start his own computer business in the area where they both worked for several years before closing. He is now a cross-country truck driver who moves household goods. She helps with the bookkeeping side of the business. Before signing on with By the Book, she performed a variety of bookkeeping tasks for different businesses and accounting firms. She still lives in her parent’s house with her husband and the best rescue Pomeranian ever named Toc (Tic & Tac – both poms , & Toe -a Jack Russell, are no longer with them). She still enjoys trave, scuba diving, and photography. Her stay at home hobbies include gardening and reading.
In 1999 with more than 17 years of small business accounting experience and her BSBA degree in accounting from Christopher Newport University, Karen Burtnette did the numbers and decided to open By The Book. She offered personal service and a real understanding of the accounting needs of small businesses coupled with her innate ability to explain the role sophisticated accounting can play in a small business. That attention to detail along with profits and growth led to an abundance of satisfied clients recommending By The Book to their own business associates. As By The Book grew, protecting the standard of excellence that was driving the company became paramount. Karen set firm guidelines for hiring. Accounting degrees, BSBAs, talent and dynamic interpersonal skills were a must. She decided that she could be as selective as any big city financial center. And it worked. She has surrounded herself with a talented staff, whose love for small business and multiple years of experience has proven to be extremely successful. What this means to your business is that a team of top-notch, experienced professionals is at your service, without you having to incur the expense of a full-time bookkeeper or accountant. By specializing in small businesses, By The Book has become expert in bookkeeping and accounting for an all-encompassing variety of Hampton Roads companies including retailers, non-profits, restaurants, construction companies, service providers and start-ups. By The Book utilizes QuickBooks accounting software because of its adaptability to a multitude of business models. Beyond expertise and cost-effectiveness, what makes By The Book especially attractive to small business is the simple fact that they are a flexible operation. They can work with you on-site, by remote access via Internet, or process work both on your site and off. By The Book does whatever it takes to make the customer happy. As a lifelong resident of Hampton, Karen has a deep love of the Tidewater area and has developed many business connections that benefit the company. After more than 20 years of successful operation By The Book is the best possible option for your bookkeeping needs.