Successful bookkeepers … listen and understand

Successful bookkeepers … listen and understand

In a series of articles, Firm of the Future asked several bookkeepers “What kinds of skills and experience do you need to be a successful bookkeeper for your clients?”

Here’s what Debra Kilsheimer of Behind the Scenes said:

Listen and Understand

Clients are “clueless” when it comes to bookkeeping. That skill is what WE understand. We are “clueless” to what they actually do. Clients understand their business and how to run it. Our job is to record what they do in the books. Just like any book tells a story – that is what good bookkeeping does.

So how? Two skills. LISTEN and then UNDERSTAND.

We must LISTEN to what they are saying. How are they doing things? How does their paperwork flow? How are things done? What is the sales process? What is important information they want to know? Once we HEAR what they say, our job is to UNDERSTAND in their terms what they mean. Only then can we interpret the why, who, what, where, and how of their business into OUR terms for what we need to do our jobs.

Our real job is to help them succeed by giving them the numbers of their business. Tangibly, what we produce are reports and tax returns. But more importantly we give them insight to make better decisions.  The paperwork is history we can change. We are more than that paperwork at the end of the month, quarter or year. We are the meaning behind it.

I tell my clients, “Your business talks to you everyday through your business transactions – invoices, payments, bills, and receipts. My job is to listen and record this activity correctly using established business rules. ONLY THEN can we see where you are going, see where you have been, keep doing more of what is working and less of what isn’t.” We do this TOGETHER and TOGETHER you will succeed.”

Seems to be working for our clients.