How to Train Your Accounting Clients on QuickBooks Online
Training your clients goes a long way to making your job easier. Say goodbye to the slow data entry of your client’s bank records. Now, with QuickBooks® Online, say hello to focusing your efforts on being a valuable advisor to your clients.
For the naysayers who fear that training clients could put you out of a job, QuickBooks Online star trainer and ProAdvisor® Rachel Fisch says otherwise. “My clients aren’t with me because I know how to enter a bill correctly; they’re with me because I bring value to them as a ProAdvisor,” says Fisch, who also runs her own bookkeeping firm, FischBooks,
For Fisch, training clients is part of her service. It’s baked into her proposals and, if a potential client pushes back, she either works with them to revise the pricing proposal or realizes they aren’t a good fit for her business model.
QBO gets frequent upgrades and features that are added based on the feedback Intuit hears from our community of users and ProAdvisors. With the frequency of these updates, it’s important to adopt an “always training” model, says Fisch. For those of you looking to train clients on QBO, below are some great tips to get them on their way to becoming QBO whizzes:
1. Set expectations
When you receive a training request, the first step is to figure out what your clients want to learn and whether their expectations are realistic. If not, communicate with them why something is or isn’t possible.
Knowing what your clients want is important, but so is knowing your own capabilities. If you’re working with an unfamiliar feature or something you frequently don’t use, this will affect the training time. Set parameters before building a lesson plan, or do some additional training personally so that you’ll be set up for smooth sailing.
2. Explore training options
There’s a number of ways you can teach QBO, from setting up a webinar (which could be live or recorded) to visiting clients at their office, or even inviting them to your own office. Once you know where the session will take place, don’t forget the logistical details. How will the screen be displayed during a webinar? Should you bring a PowerPoint presentation? Is a demo sufficient or do people want a hands-on experience? These factors affect how the content is delivered and how much time should be blocked off for the training.
Fisch recommends that for those seeking hands-on experience, a webinar isn’t a good format since it’s challenging to help a client with an issue when you can’t see their screen. Instead, do trainings for these clients in-person.
3. Start with the basics
Always train to the lowest common denominator. People often say they know more about a program than they actually do. It’s good to review the basics to make sure everyone is on the same page. For those who are more knowledgeable, throw in some advanced tips or tricks along the way to feed their curiosity on what’s to come.
4. Lay down the framework
Before you launch right into training, set the tone and expectations. While you don’t need to list off every topic that’ll be covered, let them know about the format so they can plan accordingly. For example, if it’s a demo, ask them to follow along, and notify them that there will be time for questions. Or, keep things casual and let them ask questions at any time. Laying down the framework lets you measure the training’s success, which will help you later on.
5. Constantly communicate
It’s easy to fall into autopilot when you’re teaching a task you’ve done a million times. As hard as it is, avoid doing that. Always pay attention to the people you’re training since you can usually tell whether people are lost. Sometimes, people are afraid to ask questions. If that’s the case, it’s helpful to revisit the previous section you just taught. Whether you’re communicating verbally or nonverbally during the course, don’t lose sight that you’re training people to do these tasks on their own.
6. Show them how these tasks affect their business
Don’t simply explain the steps – explain why these tasks matter. This way, if something goes wrong, the trainee has more insight into figuring out the issue. For example, doing a task incorrectly could affect the tax return filing or the bank reconciliation. Once you establish how these tasks are all connected, it helps them understand the process better. Your clients are then able to troubleshoot more easily on their own, limiting the time you spend doing trainings on the same thing multiple times.
If you’re unsure how to handle a task in QuickBooks, don’t fret. Fisch set up the QB-HQ Facebook group that gives you and your clients access to a wealth of experts to help you out.
Are you training your clients on QBO? Have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments!