Is Your Bookkeeper Just a “Monitor”, or a Partner?

I love this commercial .  I’ve seen it hundreds of times, and I still laugh.  I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on how I serve my clients, and I’m feeling like this is kind of how they view the bookkeeping profession.  Not that they don’t want the advice, per se, but they don’t know their bookkeeper can even GIVE them advice.

Yes, the bookkeeper is (hopefully) accurately categorizing your business expenses into the correct category for tax preparation.  The CPA is going to help them with tax planning strategy, and hopefully help them avoid some pitfalls for the current year.  But there’s so much MORE than just getting ready for taxes.

Insurance & credit card fees – Do you REALLY know what you’re paying?

  • For example: a lot of bookkeepers are categorizing all insurance expenses into the broad category of “Insurance”.  That’s correct.  Your taxes don’t care how you spent your money on insurance.  But what happens when it’s time to renew your policy?  Wouldn’t it be useful to know what you spent last year?  For things like General Liability, if you know your rate, you can look at your gross for the year and make sure you haven’t been overcharged.  When it’s time to shop around, you can authoritatively say what your gross receipts were, what your rate was, and get a better rate.  Same with worker’s compensation insurance.  You can also use your worker’s comp rate with your current payroll expense, and make sure you’re paying the right amount so you don’t have a massive bill at the end of the period.
  • Another thing most people don’t look at is there credit card processing fees. More often than not, they’re grouped under bank fees.  But what you’re paying a bank to process the credit card is different than your monthly fee for just having the bank account, which is different still from all those Non-Sufficient Funds fees you rack up too 😊  Breaking these all out is a great way for tracking your expenses and also seeing where you can cut back or negotiate better fees.

That dreaded word… BUDGET

Speaking of massive bills, do you have an annual budget so you know when those large expenses come up?  I have a small business, so anything over about $200 is big for me.  I know that every March I have an $1,800 bill, and every July one that’s about $500.  I have a budget so I know to plan for those months in advance.  Without a budget, you can’t accurately plan for those large expenses.

Are you TRULY profitable?

Are you a profitable business?  Do you know?  Anyone that’s read my blog for a while knows how much I LOVE Marcus Lemonis & The Profit.  That’s one of the first questions he asks businesses.  And every single time, they don’t know.  It’s now in it’s fifth season, and every week it seems the participants say how they love the show, and yet every time, they don’t know their numbers.  At first, I thought it was just TV, but they did a behind-the-scenes show this season, and the producer verified the people really DON’T know their numbers.  When I compare them to my clients, it’s not that they don’t care, but it’s that they don’t know how to get the numbers, and they don’t know what the numbers mean.

In the past few weeks, I’ve really been examining how I serve my clients, and how I can be a better adviser to them.  How I can be more of a strategic partner than just a commodity they shop around for.

STOP working insane hours!

I’m not taking just any client anymore (as much as I might want to!).  Bookkeeping is no longer the primary service I offer.  I heard a great tag line from a peer once: “I offer peace of mind.”  In a way, that’s what I offer too.  Entrepreneurs lives are wrapped up in their business.  They’re not able to take time off to spend with their families.  They’re worried about the future.  They’re working insane hours, stressing about the business when they’re home, and they’re never fully able to relax.

They need someone (like me!) to come in and help them.  Someone to come in and say “I’ve got this.  It’s handled”.  Yes, I do the bookkeeping to keep them current, but I also help them put meaning to the reports they look at.  I give meaning to those numbers.  I give them peace of mind because they know someone other than themselves is looking out for their business.  We’re a team.  It’s more than just a “monitor” telling you you’ve got a cavity (looming bill, potential tax issues, possible payroll situation, etc).  It’s someone that’ proactively saying ‘hey, this is coming up.  Here are ways we can address it…. Which would you like to do?’

If you’re interested to see what I can do to give you peace of mind in your business, give me a call!  818.936.2153 or shoot me an email