If you have been following me for any time, you know that while I am a systems expert for bookkeepers and accountants, I have never really done any bookkeeping. I always viewed this as a strength instead of a weakness. When you’re sick, do you go see a doctor who is trained in medicine? Or do you ask your neighbor about your symptoms and ask for him to diagnose your illness and fix it? My guess is you go to the doctor.
Being trained in systems, and helping over 200+ bookkeepers, meant I was able to solve system problems for all different types of scenarios. I feel like I’ve seen it all (although I’m sure I haven’t yet 😉). But even with my experience training, education, and numerous certifications, I was still being told “but you’re not a bookkeeper”. For some people, it was a requirement that I have bookkeeping experience in order to be able to call myself a Systems Expert for Bookkeepers and Accountants.
So I took on the challenge this year to prove I could do it and also provide my clients with better systems by adding bookkeeping experience to my resume.
Well, after my 2nd month of being a bookkeeper I am responsible for reconciling the books for 24 businesses each month. I’m also responsible for numerous clean-up projects.
Curious how I grew so fast or how I got so many clients?
Here’s what I learned during my first 2 months as a bookkeeper and my top 5 tips for new bookkeepers.
- If you are trying to grow your business, start as a bookkeeper for another bookkeeping firm. Build your confidence by working with someone else and learning from experience what you cannot learn from a course. Start your biz (getting your own clients like a side hustle) and work on that in your spare time. Eventually, you should be able to get more clients and reduce your workload from your bookkeeping “job”. When I was in corporate, I worked full time and grew my business on nights, weekends, and holidays. With the right marketing systems in place, you can get your own clients without having to do a ton of work.
- Find a mentor you can ask questions to (if you do go it alone). Having someone who I can ask “Did I do this right?” has been HUGE. I know of a couple of people in the industry who take consulting calls to ask questions each month for new bookkeepers.
- Track your time for everything. Doing so has allowed me to get an estimate on how long it takes me to complete each client each month. Knowing this information will allow me to figure out my capacity and plan my time so I can do it all. It also lets me calculate if I am charging enough when I reverse engineer my goal income. I am working part-time for two different bookkeeping firms. I block my time to make sure I get all of my monthly work done in the first half of the month and then switch to clean-up projects in the second half of the month.
- Getting clients to submit their monthly statements on time truly is a pain in the a$$. Even if you have login credentials the 2FA is still a problem sometimes. Here’s what I am implementing to improve the process. Automated monthly statement reminders via Dubsado for clients who provide their statements. For clients with login information that I have their credentials (not my own use), I’m asking to add a 2nd number for the 2FA code to come to me so that I don’t have to hope/wait for them to send it to me. This has actually been the hardest part of getting reconciliations done on time, which then throws off my time blocks.
- Having fewer tasks in ClickUp is better. Previously I had 6 monthly tasks recurring in ClickUp all related to monthly reconciliations. It was too much to manage. I updated my template to have one monthly reconciliation task with 5 subtasks instead. It has been way better, less cluttered, and easier to see the entire overview of the business. I am also documenting all of the steps for each of my tasks. I have rebuilt my ClickUp templates to contain step-by-step instructions. As a new bookkeeper, it really helped me remember everything I was supposed to do.
Am I going to launch my own bookkeeping business?
I’m undecided on that one. I really enjoy working with these two bookkeeping firms and it’s nice to take a little break from being the business owner. Systems are my passion and I can’t help myself when it comes to fixing a broken process. Ask my husband…he hates it.
If I do launch my own bookkeeping firm though I will be using my own marketing strategies and getting my own clients. I hear so many stories of bookkeepers going off on their own and taking clients with them. That’s not my jam and suggest if you hire someone in your business to have them sign a non-compete.
I know one thing for sure…I am very eager to take my new knowledge and create more templates, SOP’s, and map out more processes for bookkeepers and maybe some other online service providers. The knowledge I am gaining is super valuable.