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Date: 2/14/2022

Title: The Iowa Association of Bookkeepers for Cooperatives

The Iowa Association of Bookkeepers for Cooperatives

submitted by Joy Vander Werff - published by Oakland Corporation

In 1995 a young lady was hired at the local co-op as the new bookkeeper. She was to step into the shoes of the long-time bookkeeper who was planning to retire because the co-op decided to become computerized and she wanted nothing to do with it. The new girl’s background was in business administration. If anyone were to have asked her about the weight of a bushel of corn or soybeans, she would have had absolutely no idea.  

The first couple of months were spent training with the software company and setting up the new system. There was no time to even think about anything else.  After that the doubts started to creep in. But then that newbie bookkeeper discovered the Iowa Association of Bookkeepers for Cooperatives.  

The IABC group was made up of bookkeepers from the neighboring co-ops with a wealth of experience and knowledge about agriculture. The group was so welcoming and so supportive that it became a real resource for information. Any one of those members could be called at any time of the day to answer questions.  The meetings became very important, and the speakers lined up were pertinent to the agricultural world. The topics were spot-on, covering just what was needed to do at the job.  
There were originally 7 IABC districts in the state. There were over 100 bookkeepers in attendance at the early annual meetings. It was amazing how much some of those bookkeepers knew. They would ask questions of the speakers, or respond with answers, just like they could have been the presenters.  Over the years there have been many words of wisdom from peers that have now retired. Many times, the things that were learned and taken back to the office did NOT come from the actual speaker, even though their presentations were good.  The information came from fellow bookkeepers discussing a problem that many of the bookkeepers were dealing with or had dealt with previously. It was enlightening to hear about their successes and even failures.  

The purpose of this article is to stir up some passion and enthusiasm for this group of seasoned professionals. The IABC, which just held its 59th annual meeting, has been around a long time, and it would be sad to see it dissolve. It has now gone from 7 districts to only 3 districts. As of late, membership has dwindled due to mergers and acquisitions between cooperatives. 

Talk with your supervisor and explain the value of the group. Tell them about the benefits it can provide to the individual members AND to the co-op itself. Discuss with your fellow employees the possibility of joining the IABC. This organization is a great networking tool. Districts have meetings quarterly in their immediate areas. The annual meeting is generally held on the second Sunday evening/Monday in September. The time commitment is not huge, but the benefits are!  


If you would like more information please contact the State Secretary/Treasurer,


Joy Vander Werff, Bookkeeper at Archer Coop Grain Company at 712-723-5233