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I’ve been involved with the small business software industry since the late 1970’s. My first company sold 8-bit IMSAI microprocessor systems which worked with dual 8-inch floppy disk drives. Finding that there weren’t any software products available for inventory control, which most people were asking me for, I developed a basic inventory product that expanded into a full accounting system (including MRP, payroll and job costing) for 8-bit systems running the CP/M-80 operating system. Then the IBM PC came along, we moved up to PC DOS, and we sold our products nationwide.
I sold that business in the mid 80’s and moved to writing custom software for inventory and manufacturing businesses. Through the 90’s and early 2000’s I started working with several software developers as a consultant, helping them with documentation and user interface issues. I continued to provide management advice to small manufacturing firms.
Eventually I learned about QuickBooks. I found it to be a good basic accounting product but it had holes when it came to the kinds of inventory / manufacturing clients that I was working with. To help these businesses I started writing add-on products that worked with QuickBooks. Many of the businesses that purchased my products were inventory-based businesses, and I found that they didn’t really understand how to work with QuickBooks properly, so I became a ProAdvisor and built another business based on consulting with QuickBooks clients. I’m currently an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, with a variety of other certifications.
Now my business is split between my software products (http://www.ccrsoftware.com/), providing consulting services to software developers who want to work with QuickBooks, some ProAdvisor consulting, writing books about QuickBooks, blogging (http://www.sleeter.com/blog/), and finding ways to harass Bill Murphy. It keeps me busy.
Personally, I enjoy spending time with my children and their families (4 grandchildren with another on the way). When I can, I enjoy hiking and taking photos of wildflowers (see my blog at http://wildflowers.russellramblings.com/, pictures at https://www.flickr.com/photos/charlierussell/, and facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWildflowerHikes). I am still involved with youth soccer (coached for 20 years) in my home town. Now that my wife has retired from her job as a biogeneticist/researcher, we are taking more time to travel. We just returned from a trip to Kenya, a place that I’ve always wanted to visit, where we had the most fabulous experience ever. I've included just a few pictures from that trip (above).
Editor's note: When Charlie first submitted his short little biography, and then told me he was leaving for an African safari, I let him know that I was going to hold his bio until he got back from his trip so he could make some additions about Kenya. While he gave us a lot of great pictures, he simply added one sentence about his trip to Kenya. "He can write 3000 words about a little QuickBooks feature, but he was short-n-sweet about himself and the trip of a lifetime. That's Our Charlie!"
In much of Africa, still today, the word 'Bwana' is a term of respect delegated by the native peoples to certain leaders and persons of notoriety. In the days of the British Empire's 'African colonies' (when Kenya was called "East Africa") the term was also attributed to Big Game Hunters who led safari's such as the Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke and Denys Finch-Haton (both of 'Out of Africa1' fame).
Anyone who knows, has read, or has ever met, Charlie is aware of the great contributions he has made to the QuickBooks and ProAdvisor communities, much of what we all really know about QuickBooks is 'due to Charlie'. While he and I 'banter back n forth' and agitate each other endlessly, it is always with respect. I am sure you will agree with me, I am glad to have my good friend, 'Bwana Russell' back home and on his blog.
1- Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen (Baroness Karen Blixen), Random House, Inc., 1937