#RecipeForSuccess: How to Assess a New QuickBooks Client

#RecipeForSuccess: How to Assess a New QuickBooks Client

As a highly placed ProAdvisor® on the Find-A-ProAdvisor site and an energetic networker, I am blessed to get a consistent amount of inbound inquiries. My firm is always ready to help new clients, but before we start offering them solutions, we take the time to do a thorough assessment during what we call our “Assessment/Onboarding appointment.” Below is the #RecipeForSuccess that we use during those appointments, which are critical to our process because they help us truly understand our new clients’ needs.

What is a #RecipeforSuccess? It’s a campaign that provides key ingredients and steps for accounting pros and their small business clients to achieve success. Search “recipe” on this site for similar articles.

Master Chef: Jonathan Bello, One8 Solutions


  • An existing QuickBooks® file
  • A meeting or series of meetings with stakeholders including:
    • The person doing the work (i.e. the bookkeeper, controller)
    • The owner or the president of the company
    • Others who rely on QuickBooks for making decisions
  • A review of the current QuickBooks file for the top 10 mistakes
  • A game plan or future actions


Step 1: Get your client’s basic/static information:

  • Business type (sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, S or Corp)
  • Calendar or fiscal year
  • Owner(s) name
  • CPA
  • Banking accounts
  • Credit Card accounts
  • Merchant Service accounts
  • Payroll
  • How long in business
  • How long they’ve using QuickBooks (even though you might find this out from the data review – sometimes there is a story behind the current data file)

Step 2: Once you have all the basic info, move on to the dynamic info:

  • Business Segments/Departments – for example
    • Residential & Commercial
    • Direct and Wholesale
    • Education
    • Public/Government
    • Non-Profits
  • Marketing Activities
    • Online (SEO, paid advertising)
    • Email marketing
    • Direct mail
    • Networking (BNI, Chamber, Other)
    • Cold calling/warm calling
  • How are they tracking a lead>Prospect>Customer/Client/Patron?
    • Are they using a CRM?
  • Revenue Generation System:
    • Estimate>Sales Order>Invoice
    • Time and Materials Billing
    • Project Billing
  • Do they need job costing/how have they been doing it?
  • Inventory tracking, if needed
    • Work in Progress
    • Assemblies/Bills of Materials
  • Expense re-imbursement from the customer/client
  • Employee expense re-imbursement
  • Payables:
    • Purchase Order system
    • Approval system
  • Time tracking for Payroll
  • 1099 tracking

Step 3: Find out what your new client is not currently getting from their QuickBooks:

  • Reports?
  • What would make their life/job better?

Step 4: Do a comprehensive review of your client’s QuickBooks data:

  • Review the settings
  • Are they reconciling? Start with bank accounts because they are the backbone of a business
  • Do they have old items on their reconciliations?
  • Undeposited Funds – are there old items, or items that have never been deposited?
  • Accounts Receivable & Payables
    •  Old items
    • Unapplied Credits
    • Zero balances showing up on summary aging’s
  • Inventory – do they have negative quantities?
    •  Check the inventory valuation report against the inventory balance on the GL
  • Payroll liabilities – do they have large balances in Payroll if they are using it?
  • Sales Tax liabilities-large balances?
  • Are 1099s set up correctly?
  • Look at the balance sheet (I have found the balance sheet to be the dumping ground for incorrect usage of QuickBooks)
    • Do Liabilities have debit balances? (i.e. payments but no credits)
    • Do the liabilities accounts mentioned previously have large balances?
    • Opening Balance Equity
  • Then review the P&L for inconsistencies
    • Too high or low Cost Of Goods Sold Percentage?
    • Other expenses seem out of whack?

Step 5: As you are encountering any issues, start building a task list of what needs to be fixed/cleaned up. This will be part of your game plan that you will present to your client, along with the road map helping them get to their goals off a well-oiled QuickBooks environment.