Before You Send that Engagement Letter, You Should Date Your Client
We use something called a QuickReview™ when we’re starting a bookkeeping job with a prospective client. This is a service we use to educate them about their current bookkeeping practices and to highlight issues and concerns. It also allows us to establish a baseline, should they decide to hire us for ongoing work.
The prospective client knows that there’s probably something wrong with their bookkeeping, but since they’re focused on their business, they have neither the time nor the knowledge to figure it out. At its core, the QuickReview allows you to assess the client’s data in a standardized way, saving you time while still making sure that the client gets everything they need from the review.
The QuickReview starts with a detailed analysis of the client’s QuickBooks® file and looks at all aspects of their business, from company setup to bank reconciliations, accounts payable and sales tax. We also make sure they’re using the latest version of QuickBooks and that everything is set up and working properly.
When we’re done with the QuickReview, we write an accessible and concise report that explains all the issues we’ve found, and a plan for correction. We use a standard format for all our reports, with some optional variations for specific industries. This is also where we let the client know how much it will cost for us to fix their books and our fees for ongoing services.
We don’t price the QuickReview as a loss leader. We want to be paid fairly for our time, our resources and the years of experience we bring to this service – which is why we always charge for it. You’ll have prospective clients who won’t want to pay for the QuickReview, and that’s fine. If they don’t want to pay for this initial service, they probably wouldn’t be a good fit for us and aren’t likely to see the value in our other services. Better that you find out at the beginning than once you’re hip-deep in their books.
Once the report is finalized and sent to the client, they can hire us to address the issues and for ongoing bookkeeping service. If they decide against hiring us, they’re able to take the report to another firm or attempt to fix them on their own. If they choose to fix the problems themselves, they may very well be back in a few months or years with even bigger problems than the ones you initially told them about.
Finally, one of the most important benefits of the QuickReview is this: you and the prospective client have the opportunity to get to know each other better. You’ll know how the client responds to requests, how serious they are about their financials and this is a chance for them to learn the value your services will bring to their business. In the long run, a QuickReview is an opportunity to build a strong foundation for the future of their business – and yours.