23 Nov Use for Existing Clients
Use for Existing Clients
Using the tool for the prep work when a client file arrives can make the job proceed in a much more efficient way to the desired end of financial statements and/or tax returns. It is also effective as a way of training staff on QuickBooks in a controlled environment.
Based on the detailed instructions included with the tool, it is possible to have a less experienced QuickBooks staff person perform the analysis when the file first arrives. Although it may take them a little longer, they are gaining valuable experience from working with a live file. By comparing what needs to be addressed in the file and seeing the supporting documentation the client has supplied, it is obvious if additional information is needed. The client is happy because they feel like their work is being addressed timely. The person who will be actually working on the file is happy because the information is complete when they get ready to start the project. And the firm management is happy for two reasons: first, because they can accurately inform the client before too much work has been done if there are time-consuming issues that will need to be addressed (especially if the client will need to do some clean up work before the deadlines loom closer) and secondly because the project can be completed more efficiently without all the stops and starts, resulting a more profitable engagement.
The time to go through the tool is typically included in the fee for the work to be performed. Some firms use it as in internal guide; others actually present it to the client as value added.
Many use it as a tool in the 4th quarter as a prep suggestion to: eliminate year end surprises for the firm and the client; provide the client the opportunity to complete some of the tasks to keep the fees down; and as a way to generate consulting revenue when there is more likely time to complete the work.
Take it one step further. Why not offer existing clients a QuickBooks “check up” service. The pricing could vary either based on the features used in QuickBooks, the frequency the client agrees to have the process done, the number of transactions, etc. The tool can be used to determine what is happening, and then the results are communicated back to the client for them to address. If they need you to help them in a consulting role, that is an additional project. The scope of the check up is only to list the items they need to handle to keep the file healthy. A running list can be maintained. We have found that Excel works well because if an issue is not handled, it is copied in to the column for the existing month so it is easy to see what is being ignored, what has been handled, and what is new. The sorting feature also helps to manage the list throughout the year. In addition to providing valuable information to the client to make sure they have the information they need to manage their business, it also provides the accountant the ability to see what is happening on a regular basis with some level of confidence that the numbers are reasonably accurate.
When setting up a new QuickBooks file there are many details to discuss with the client. Although this tool is not designed specifically as a checklist for a set up project, the questions contained do provide the framework for discussion with the client to ensure that important decisions are not overlooked. It is possible to not mark an answer, just to insert notes, if a written report is desired prior to completing the set up procedures.
Included in the tool are numerous tips and tricks to aid in troubleshooting, correcting, and using features more effectively. The tool can be a quick reference guide to handling specific issues. If a client has a specific situation, the information contained in a specific question may help to clarify the issue, or if a whole area needs to be reviewed, just that chapter of the tool can be used with the resulting report as the product to the client.