Optima Office: Comprehensive HR and Accounting Solutions at One Place

Optima Office: Comprehensive HR and Accounting Solutions | Mr. Business Magazine

Jennifer Barnes established the 100% female-owned company Optima Office in 2018. From 2011 to 2018, Jennifer served as the company’s founder and CEO before establishing Optima.

Starting a business is no simple task. A strong company strategy, funding, business plan, etc. are not enough. Fundamentally, it calls for a gifted and unflappable leadership that powers the business and steers its goods and services in the market in an efficient and forward-thinking manner.

When you mention the word “entrepreneur,” several things come to mind. Nevertheless, when one enters the market, it takes on a different meaning notwithstanding the definitions, aspirations, and motivation that are tied to it.

Having a discussion with Optima Office’s founder and CEO, Jennifer Barnes. Let’s learn more about the business, her career path, and other topics!

1. Please tell us about Optima Office and the motivation behind its founding.

Following a hostile takeover of my first firm by my ex-partners in October 2018, I founded Optima Office. I made the error of only owning 45% of my first business, which was a bad condition to be in. Over 90% of the total earnings and the majority of the staff were my creations. 

In our fourth year of operation, we were San Diego’s fifth-fastest growing firm, and everything seemed to be going great—until it wasn’t. After a few years of having a negative relationship with my partners, they managed to do a hostile takeover of the business in year 6. I was led outside by security, and everything was seized. 

However, after three days I joined firm number two, and after three weeks I relocated across the street from them. I brought 27 of the employees to court, where I easily won by being allowed to compete with the other business I controlled. Three and a half years later, the Optima office has doubled in size. The nicest thing that has ever happened to me, it turned out!

2. What goods or services does the business prioritise? 

Businesses of all sizes and in all industries can hire a whole accounting and HR team from Optima Office. We can also cover any level of vacancy, from the CFO or HR Director to the bookkeeping position. Our primary goal is to give our clients sound strategic counsel, trustworthy financial statements, and human resource services that keep them out of trouble and their staff content. 

3. What sets your services apart from those offered by competitors? 

Every client receives a customised service from Optima Office. We never force square pegs into round holes and are always available at all levels. Additionally, we are one of the few female-run accounting firms in the area.

4. Could you briefly describe your team?

Optima Office now has 85 employees, of which 65% are women. We have some of the most talented experts in the industry, with half of our workforce being Controller level or higher. We actively encourage work-life balance and provide excellent care for our staff. Our primary goal is employee retention, and we make every effort to abide by the axiom that “happy employees equal happy customers.”

5. Describe your professional background.

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Finance, Accounting, and Marketing from the University of Arizona, I began working for Petco in the accounting division. I quickly ascended the corporate ladder and, a few years after graduating, found myself working as a Controller consultant for many businesses and non-profits in San Diego. 

I quickly realized that I wanted to expand my education, so in 2008, I received an MBA from San Diego State University (EMBA 17), and in 2011, I finished the Becker CPA courses. After almost five years of consulting for two of our current rivals, I launched my first business, and the rest is history.

6. Would you kindly list some of your most significant business accomplishments?

I was named one of the top 40 business leaders in San Diego County under the age of 40, and I was recognised as a five-year running member of the SDBJ’s Women who Mean Business. In addition to being named the 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, I was a finalist for CEO of the Year in 2017 and a featured woman of the year for San Diego Magazine for the previous two years in a row.  

Additionally, I received the Connected Women of Influence’s Most Influential Leader Award in 2016 and placed in the semifinals of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition that same year. 22 more prizes have been given to me at Optima Office. The most recent are:

  • Medium Business CEO of the Year Winner, Assigned by SDBJ
  • Over $5 million – Issued by Enterprising Women of the Year 
  • The San Diego Business Journal’s list of the 500 most influential San Diegans 
  • Top 20 Places to Work in 2021, according to the SD Union-Tribune
  • Finalist for San Diego Magazine’s Women of the Year award
  • Award for Corporate Citizenship – SDBJ
  • Leading the Industry, Celebrating Women, San Diego Magazine 
  • Finalist for Inspirational Women – LA Times
  • Award for Resilience Given by Connected Women of Influence
  • Optima Office will generate more than $9 million in income in their fourth year of operation, up from $6.3 million in year 3.

Optima Office will generate more than $9 million in income in their fourth year of operation, up from $6.3 million in year 3.

7. Do you have any customer experiences you’d like to highlight?

On our website, Optima Office has a tonne of wonderful testimonials. We already work with well over 200 businesses, and we are expanding.

8. What is your preferred quotation? 

Clients who are happy are happy employees.

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