Are you considering outsourcing bookkeeping tasks to a bookkeeper? You may be curious what all it entails without wanting to waste time or money. Or you may be a bookkeeper yourself, curious if you are following the same process as other professionals in the industry. Though I can only speak for myself, I want to share with you the different steps I carry my prospects through before signing them on as a client!
Step 1. Discovery Call
Once there has been an initial conversation between my prospect and myself (or my team), we schedule a discovery call. This discovery call is to open the conversation and begin building a relationship. I ask questions about their financial practices, business goals, current struggles with bookkeeping, and how they handle bookkeeping now. I also ask questions about their family, interests, and proud achievements. This allows me to get to know my client on a business level first and foremost, but also on a personal level. I HIGHLY value this double-sided relationship because my clients are real people facing real struggles in a confusing world of finance, accounting, and taxes.
Step 2: Onboarding process
After the discovery call, there is a decision to be made: whether or not we will work well together. This is important because, although I desire to help everyone, not every business owner is an ideal client. Things I look for include: interest in their business finances, open communication, respect, and timely responses. These attributes make the ideal client for me and make me excited to work with them! After the decision is made to work with them, I ask for some representation of their financial books for me to get a peek at what my workload will look like in the coming months. After I see that, I create a proposal and engagement letter for them to sign. After the signatures are obtained (some happen to sign DURING the discovery call), we begin the official onboarding of collecting tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, loan statements, and more onto my cloud accounting software.
Step 3: Clean up
Once I have supporting documentation of their finances, I can organize their work in their QuickBooks account. Book cleanup could be anything from the previous 1 month or up to several years of clean-up work that needs attention. I aim to have the clean-up work completed in 30 days or less, but some instances take longer, especially if I need to wait on more information from the clients. Clean-up processes include journal entries, reconciliations, app integrations, excel sheets, entering data, and more.
Step 4: Monthly Ongoing Services
After the clean-up process is finished, it is time for the true value of having a bookkeeper. Monthly services include classification, reconciliation, invoicing, bill pay, organizing receipts, fetching statements, and more depending on the client’s needs. After that is complete, I run 3 main reports: balance sheet, income statement (profit and loss), and statement of cash flows. I send these to my clients immediately (no later than the 15th of every month) and schedule a monthly call with them. During this call, I talk about changes in the financial statements, whether line item numbers increased or decreased, and if it was a good or bad change. Then, I update clients on the goals they had discussed with me earlier and compare our numbers to see if we are headed in the right direction to achieve them. Finally, I end with some advice on what they can be doing better, new software they might benefit from, tips and tricks for how to run a business more smoothly, or other ideas I may come across. Every month I give my clients unlimited phone and email support if they need any help or questions answered.
I understand my clients are busy business owners, so I try to be as concise as possible with my calls. Sometimes creating Loom videos saves my clients and me some time. I have exhausted many attempts to make this process as smooth as possible — which I do with my systems in place! My client’s satisfaction and peace of mind is my number one priority. If you are looking for a bookkeeper, I suggest you keep these steps in mind to ensure the best experience and professionalism is provided to you. If you are a bookkeeper I suggest practice talking with family and friends to be more comfortable on the phone. In the end, you don\’t have to have a seamless process every time because each client is different, but it will flow naturally to you!