In my experience providing outsourced bookkeeping services to small businesses, I have learned that we can deliver considerably more value when our clients view their relationship with us as a partnership rather than a vendor relationship. We serve as a virtual extension of our client’s team, supporting them on the financial and operational aspects of their business. Our job is to work with the client to make their transactional processes most efficient and to give them actionable data and meaningful financial reports to most effectively manage their business. The following provides some tips to help you make the most out of your relationship with your outsourced bookkeeping services provider.
Make sure you keep an open line of communication with your bookkeeping resource. The better we understand you and your business, the better we will be able to tailor our services to meet your specific needs. Additionally, understand that your bookkeeper can be much more than just a number cruncher—we can support you as your business changes, offering data and process suggestions along the way. Our best practice is to set a standard weekly or monthly check-in call with each client to review the numbers and discuss the client's current needs and questions.
2. Be Open to Advice and Changes
Keep in mind that your bookkeeping services provider brings to you the benefit of a collective experience of working with many different businesses. They can offer great advice on the best systems and processes to apply to your own business. As part of on-boarding with your provider, and ongoing as your business evolves, bring your bookkeeping services provider into the conversation on how to refine your operational processes to make them as efficient as possible while providing you with the best data and business results. We have a vast network of clients in nearly every industry that we learn from on a daily basis, and we’re constantly educating ourselves at industry events and seminars on the latest technologies and practices to optimize business for all of our clients.
3. Don’t Withhold Information
As discussed above, your bookkeeping services provider is a virtual extension of your team. Make sure you are actively communicating changes in your business and informing them about new initiatives that may have accounting process implications. Hiring a new employee out of state? Launching a new product line? Bring these headlines to your bookkeeper so they can best advise and support you on the right administrative or accounting steps that come along with your business decisions.
4. Review the Reports Your Bookkeeper Prepares
Your bookkeeping services provider should provide you a financial package at least monthly that at a minimum contains a balance sheet and profit and loss statement. You may also receive other financial reports and analysis on your business' performance. Review these reports and ask questions! Communicate any issues you find to your bookkeeper to ensure that you are getting the most value from the data you are being presented with. For example, perhaps there is an additional report or formatting change that would improve the value you get from the financial package. Make sure that results make sense and use this information to help inform your business decisions.
5. Ask for Assistance
If you’re suddenly faced with a new business challenge you’ve never encountered before, ask your bookkeeping services provider for assistance—chances are they’ve encountered something similar before and can offer advice and resources to best address the challenge. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming when, for example, a business owner receives unexpected notices from the state labor board about their staff, when a client of theirs fails to pay, or when they get an exceptionally big order that they don’t have enough cash on hand to process. Your bookkeeping services provider should be able to immediately take the administrative burden off your plate, follow industry best practices to help manage your client and vendor relationships, and connect you with specialized outside resources to address higher level legal and financing matters.
When you approach the relationship like a partnership, your bookkeeping services provider can deliver much more value to your business than just paying bills and keeping score.