QuickBooks Training Services to your Accounting Practice
Accountants are more and more prone to making the shift into the Trusted Advisor role; however, most of my colleagues argue that although they WANT to do this, there are many factors getting in the way. For one, “Who is doing the data entry?”
So, let’s assume that the average small business budget for monthly accounting services (including data entry, bookkeeping, payroll processing, sales tax processing, annual tax returns and general accounting/financial advice) is $500. Now, accounting firms have a labor budget (being the largest input cost) for every client based on what they are charging for their fees, which, for this example, we need to assume is the entire client’s budget. So, the issue at hand is that 80% of that budget is consumed doing data entry and bookkeeping, which has LOWEST PERCIEVED VALUE service from the small business owner’s perspective, leaving only 20% available for tax returns, financial statement interpretation and business planning/consulting, which has the HIGHEST PERCIEVED VALUE.
This is what I call the “Service Level Evolution:”
So, the solution: Delegate the data entry and bookkeeping back to the client. Sounds simple, but, in reality, it’s a messy ordeal because most small business owners and their staff do not have formal accounting training, and generally place very little priority in accuracy and correct classification of transactions.
The bridge between “We do it for you” and “We help you make decisions” without breaking your client’s monthly accounting budget is TRAINING. If an accounting firm successfully trains their clients to do the data entry and bookkeeping accurately and timely, the amount of cleanup work gets significantly reduced, allowing for some of that labor budget work to be put to better use by focusing on higher perceived valued services such as consulting!
Now, what are the PRO’s to Accountants training their clients?
- Billable training hours.
- Opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of client’s operations.
- Observe interactions with multiple staff members, and getting an understanding of the company culture, which enables conversations about how financial strategies can affect the interworking of the business.
- Understanding how their computer systems are setup and what kind of opportunities there are to improve IT infrastructure.
- Observing paperwork and transaction workflow to discover potential gaps in internal controls.
- Shifts in business models from compliance into consulting.
Some of the CONS:
- Loosing billable bookkeeping/accounting work.
- Dealing with the internal issues of the company may require more emotional involvement from the accountant.
- Clients tend to demand a more technical level of support from their accountant.
- Shifts in business models from compliance to consulting (which is also a PRO).
So, let’s discuss the TYPES of QuickBooks® Training services:
1. Group: Normally for 3 or more individuals
- Seminar-Style: No Computers for the users, predetermined topics, and predictable timing.
- Workshop-Style: all trainees have a workstation with the software installed (ALL MUST BE THE SAME VERSION) or logged into QuickBooks Online on a practice company file. Topics can be customized to specific group or adapted to the crowd and timing may be less predictable as some individuals are less computer-literate than others.
2. Individual: One-on-One (which could also mean 2 or 3 people max) is designed for the trainer to focus their attention on just one individual (other person(s) are just watching).
Pricing these training services can be a little tricky; here are some general guidelines on how I have priced my services in the past:
- Onsite One-on-One: Typically, it’s flat fee for half-day or full day. “5/9” Rule, i.e. $400 Half Day vs. $720 Full day. No explicit “trip charge.”
- Remote One-on-One: 1-hour minimum and 3-hour maximum hourly rate (i.e. $100/hr). Use remote access software such as Logmein or Teamviewer.
- At accountant’s office: Slightly higher (i.e. $125 for 1 hour) than remote, or 2 hours minimum (i.e. $200 for 2 hours).
- Onsite Group: Do not charge per “head,” but instead, per charge premium, for bringing projector and computer with QB for training. I charge per workstation that’s brought to my client’s office. Customize topics. Assign a note taker, as internal procedures/processes are likely to be discussed. Value-price based on number of days.
- Classroom Seminar: Charge per head, offer aggressive discount for groups, friends, referrals and more. Requires strong reference collateral/material, as retention rate is lower than workshop. This means that you need to include a book on some sort of access to videos. Typically $150-$200 per person/day.
- Classroom Workshop: Double (or close to double) the seminar price, and allow twice the time to cover same topics that are in the seminar. It has a higher retention rate, but it does requires more time for same amount of topics. Usually, a book or other reference collateral is not required. Typical $250-$300 per person/day.
For Group Training (not at your client’s premises), you may want to consider building a classroom. Here is what my classroom in Miami looks like:
Or, rent a Hotel’s conference room for a day:
Finally, I teach Live Group Classes QuickBooks in Miami almost every weekend, and I encourage you to check out the resources available on my website, which you can use as a baseline for creating your own Training Service:
- QuickBooks Course: 3-day training with certificate
- Free QuickBooks Practice Exam / Quiz
- Sample Questions to create a “Knowledge Check” or Quiz for your attendees