Ask the Expert - Building a Bookkeeping Business
Issue 2.4 January 28, 2003
Q - I am a bookkeeper (not yet certified) who is self employed. At this point, I feel that I am going backwards instead of progressing. At the present time, I am keeping books for a couple of clients, which seem to be taking up precious time away from consulting. Can you give me pointers on prioritizing the steps and software necessary to be better qualified for more consulting work?
A - This is a challenge we all struggle with when we get started. You need the experience to be a better consultant, but you need to pay the bills in the meantime. Here are three suggestions I can offer off the top of my head.
Suggestion 1 - Let everyone you know or meet that you are looking for new clients. Sometimes this is called an "elevator speech" since you can explain what you do in a susinct sentence or two. You willl be amazed at how many people will say, "I know someone who needs that!"
Suggestion 2 - Develop a relationship with several CPAs or EAs in your area. This is how I build my business from the beginning. Stress how you are there to help them and to fill in when their work load becomes overwhelming. Also stress that you are sensitive to their client relationship and want to enhance, not detract from it. This has always been easy for me since I do not provide income tax services, only QuickBooks services. An extension of this philosophy resulted in the development of a QuickBooks Diagnostic Tool to provide the framework for discovering the problems within the QuickBooks files. By explaining to the CPAs and EAs that you have a system for developing a comprehensive report that details the issues you may be able to get some referrals. Going through the tool usually takes me an hour or two and if the client is using all the areas of QuickBooks the result is a custom 40 page report you can bind and present to the accountant or client as a value added service, plus it uncovers other consulting opportunities for you. For this and other free trial versions, click here.
Suggestion 3 - Find opportunities to showcase your QuickBooks knowledge. This may mean speaking to bookkeeping associations or teaching at a local junior college. It both builds your confidence while expanding the number of people who know what you do.
As a resource for this and other questions, submit a question via "Ask the Expert" or attend our free, monthly discussion forum tele-class.
Bonnie J. Nagayama, CPA (925-247-0100) has been featured by Intuit in their QuickBooks Advisor Spotlight and frequently teaches and consults on using QuickBooks to its maximum advantage. For a FREE weekly newsletter of QuickBooks tips and tricks, plus many free and low cost QuickBooks resources visit www.4luvofbiz.com.
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For further information, visit the following articles:
Ask the Expert - Returning to Bookkeeping (Free!)
Building Your Business: Tax Season Wrap Up (Free!)
Bookkeeper Screening (Subscription required)
Building a Bookkeeping Business (Subscription required)
Building Your Business: Tax Season Wrap Up (Subscription required)