Capital Bookkeeping Cooperative:
Who We Are
A network of cooperative organizations that make ownership of livelihood and home possible for people from different walks of life.
To develop the leadership and organizational capacity needed to build sustainable, empowering cooperatives in the Capital Region.
What We Do
Streamline financial and administrative systems. Empower organizations to take control of their finances and decision making. Data-driven decision making.
What is a Cooperative?
Cooperatives are people-centered enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members to realize their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations.
Capital Bookkeeping Cooperative started in Troy, NY as the outgrowth of many projects and minds. Initially incubated by Margination, a non-profit engine for grassroots economic development, CBC was part of a collective dream to provide a financial and administrative backbone for an emergent network of small businesses, cooperatives, and initiatives.
Pre-incorporation, initial organizing guidance came from conversations with accountants and other bookkeepers; numerous volunteers and mentors who guided us through the nebulous space of “starting a business” (A Bookkeeping Cooperative, Wojeski & Company, and the Albany Small Business Development Center were crucial friends in these times); courageous interns doing market research and cold calls; and those first few clients who trusted in and supported us. We are eternally grateful to these individuals and entities.
“For us, Capital Bookkeeping Cooperative was about thinking about something as old as accounting and not making it “new,” but about resetting our assumptions about what is possible with the things we often take for granted - keeping a tab on our day-to-day business, measuring our performance, and being able to more dream together with more certainty.”
- Ryan Felder
These efforts gained momentum in late 2016 when founders Ryan Felder, Jesse Marshall, and Ryan Rose decided on the name and a fancy retrofuturist logo in the shape of an abstract, brutalist abacus. The colors were inspired by a recordable VHS label, the font was pulled from a Carl Rogers’ softcover, and the whole concept is loosely inspired by a book about Soviet bus stops. Armed with a name and brand identity, the two Ryans and Jesse took many collective breaths and decided, “Ok, we’re gonna drop everything else and start a bookkeeping cooperative.” We became incorporated as a cooperative in New York State, recruited three board members, and reached out to our personal networks to convene an initial client base. It was on.
The next five years saw CBC grow, slowly but surely, as a community-centered enterprise. The fledgling cooperative benefited from the hospitality of Oakwood Community Center, the home of our main office for four years. In 2018, CBC welcomed two worker-owners, Idalis Watts-Ortiz & Azuré Kaukeolani Iversen-Keahi, growing the business and deepening our vision for shared governance. We expanded our offerings to other cooperatives, small businesses, farms, and nonprofits in the Capital Region and beyond.
It is a spirit of dynamism, collaboration, shared vision, and community commitment that has both sustained Capital Bookkeeping Cooperative and led us to our current position of careful but necessary growth. Emerging from the pandemic, CBC is currently working with new partners at Collectiveffort, a coworking space and hub of media, marketing & community development in downtown Troy. We are growing our bookkeeping staff to meet demand and expanding our service offerings with contributions from contractors in education, website design, and more.
“I believe we owe it to future generations to truthfully present our legacies of gains and losses as one step towards shaping systemic well-being, using our data to make safe, sustainable, and empowering choices. Our records are a tool for storytelling and motivating change.”
- Azuré Kaukeolani Iversen-Keahi
It is our vision to continue contributing to the solidarity and cooperative economies of upstate New York, while remaining eager to grow and adapt along with the lives and interests of our worker-owners and the communities we share.