Home > Accounting & Bookkeeping Services, Business Development > Business Development – Bookkeeping Services

Business Development – Bookkeeping Services

This was in response to a question that came to me via E-mail. I get these types of questions a lot and I realized that the answers may be of benefit to the masses.

It is challenging to find a good bookkeeper. There are so many who claim to know bookkeeping and really what they know is QuickBooks (if even that), but they really do not get the accounting fundamentals. So I ask them why payroll is booked at “net” and not gross with the withholdings and tax payments shown and they look at me like I am being ridiculous and unreasonable. I had one bookkeeper accuse me of being an “obsessive micro manager” I still laugh when I hear that – I am the most laid back and relaxed person I know! This was after she went about 6 weeks without submitting a single timesheet and while my clients were calling and asking why the work wasn’t getting done. By the time I let her go I had to just cut her a final check without having a chance to review her work. When I finally did review her work I found that she substantially over-billed me. Then I lost 2 clients to boot and as of today I know that she is now working direct for another client who hung on with me after her for a little while then claimed they could not afford me anymore. Now I know why, I am sure she came in at a much lower rate. This was in violation of my agreements both with her and with the client, but it is not worth the cost of a legal battle and I am sure they know that. I also discounted fees to the clients I lost because it wasn’t their fault my bookkeeper was incompetent and I was not about to charge them for it. So that ordeal cost me about $2,000 all told.

I’m happy to report that I am still here. Aside from the 2 clients I lost that she was working on I have never lost a client based on poor business practices.

Over time I also realized that a lot of what I do with clients was more training than consulting. I found I was teaching the clients to enter their transactions. I started working with more companies training their bookkeepers and then consulting on some of the higher level work. So I started my “Learning Center” a few years back. [Omitted] has downloaded a bunch of the classes that I’ve recorded. Then I brought in a bookkeeper who had absolutely NO experience! Sounds wrong, right? It was the best thing I ever did. She was doing clerical work for one of my clients and I recognized that she was intelligent and hard working. I taught her how to reconcile bank statements to lighten the load of the bookkeeper at this client and she was better at it than the bookkeeper was – more thorough. Maybe that’s because the bookkeeper was in fact rushed to get things done. More importantly she seemed to really enjoy the work. So eventually I approached her and asked if she would be willing to let me train her to do bookkeeping work for my clients. Today she is my #1 bookkeeper. New clients have been slow this year, and the ones that have come in for the most part have wanted more of what I do in terms of cash flow projections and financial modeling. Any new bookkeeping work has gone to her so far because she has proven to be so reliable – that’s the rare quality – reliability.

Through my experience I learned some very important things. I no longer “manage” anyone. I don’t have time for that. I teach! And I am a good teacher (if I may say so myself ). With that approach I hold weekly trainings for the bookkeepers – online, recorded so they can review the content after (I actually have to start that up again I got busy and stopped, but as I grow and bring in more bookkeepers the trainings will be available at their option). [Omitted] was in on a few of these. When it comes to the payroll example, I realized that to them it seems ridiculous because they are only looking at the bank account and what came out, and they just want to get the transactions booked. So when I take the time to teach them about the P&L and Balance sheet I show them how important it is because of the specific way that their work impacts these statements. Moreover I explain why it is important for these statements to be reliable and I point out that the payroll expense is actually understated and will not match the W3 at year end. When I take the time with them in this manner, I am really helping them learn and grow as a bookkeeper. They appreciate that and I find that they are in turn more motivated to help me.

I use my web conference technology to make myself available to the bookkeepers at all times, so if/when necessary I log in with them when they get stuck and teach them how to book the transactions. The clients love this because they are getting the direct benefit of my experience without the cost (I only bill for the bookkeeper and it’s usually never more than 15 minutes at a time) and trust me when I tell you that I sell that point to the clients like crazy when I get them on the phone as prospects.

The timing of your specific question is uncannily perfect. I just sent out a newsletter with an article I wrote on this very subject. You can see the web version here:

http://tinyurl.com/yjcevgn

I have been developing a significant web presence and my clients can see that. This reassures them that when I send a bookkeeper, that bookkeeper comes with a lot of support and resources. These resources are available to everyone:

www.youtube.com/nerdenterprises

www.quickbooksnerd.com

www.msexcelguru.com

FaceBook Fan Page
(I post links to free tutorials and other information I think people will find helpful or interesting)

Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to post on my blogs or join me on FaceBook, twitter, and especially LinkedIn – that’s the business one and I’m learning it’s the most important one if you want to grow your business.

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  1. November 11, 2009 at 1:00 AM

    Given above three resources(websites) about bookkeeping services are really good.

  2. November 18, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    Hi,
    I am sorry to hear about the member of staff that went. It sounds like they are pretty short sighted and I imagine the clients will come back after a short time getting “cheaper” bookkeeping! The real cost of course for them will be known in time.

    I hope you continue to provide such great information for us as we do appreciate the expertise.

  3. November 18, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    Thanks Tim! I really appreciate the feedback. Let’s me know that the time I am spending on this is worthwhile. Don’t forget to check our sister blog – MS Excel Help at http://www.msexcelguru.com

    Everything happens for a reason. I learned a lot through the experience and that is what really counts! Life’s Good!

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