Focusing on What Clients Want vs What Bookkeepers Offer

The days of being chained to your desk with stacks of data entry are a thing of the past, thanks to innovations in cloud technology and web apps. Bookkeepers who put this technology to use are able to focus on what clients want and offer more than the typical bookkeeping services, providing more value for their clients and truly becoming a trusted advisor. To keep up with the present and grow your future, bookkeepers need to adapt their workflows and how they work with clients.

“These tools (cloud technology) change our workflow, but they don’t change a bookkeeper’s purpose,” says Jennifer Moore, Founder of Moore Details Bookkeeping, a Firm of the Future. “At the end of the day, clients still need someone to tell them how their business is doing.”

Clients are looking for an advisor, someone who gives them feedback and whom they hope to form a relationship with. They want to chat with someone about how to scale their business or work with someone who can catch details about their current expenses, adds Moore. The relationship between a bookkeeper and their client has changed with the new technology available today.

The fear of the unknown is a huge factor for many afraid of taking on this new role. Finding a mentor or someone to talk to can help you ease into the situation. There are also many Facebook forums to guide you through the process, since you aren’t the first person to embark on this journey. “You have to take the first step, nobody is going to push you in that direction,” says Moore. “It’s good to be slow in adopting the change. Take it slow and try it on your own books first.”

The best way to become a trusted advisor is through leveraging real-time data available through QuickBooks® Online. All the data available within the Bank Feeds tells a story about each client, which bookkeepers can easily track and provide insight into their client's’ business. This way bookkeepers can also keep their clients accountable since their involvement is necessary to keeping their story up-to-date, says Moore.

For those who don’t feel comfortable in the role of advisor, being successful is dependent on your relationship with the client and the information you receive, she adds. Bookkeepers can only provide advisory services based on the information they receive and it’s important to communicate that to clients. One option to do this is by creating an engagement letter which defines the scope of your advice. This could include language such as detailing that the information shared is for management purposes only, but not as supporting evidence for a bank loan or to a board of directors.

“The role of the bookkeeper is about what the current client wants, but also what their prospective clients wants as well,” says Moore. “If we’re not able to show that listening aspect, you’re not going to succeed.”