Using the Right Tech to Build a Better Bookkeeping Business

By Gabrielle Fontaine, PB, ASBC 

In my previous blog post, I discussed the fact that one of the keys to having a successful bookkeeping business is to be able to get the information you need from your clients in a timely way. Depending on clients for this is one of the biggest challenges many of us face—so how can we solve it? While the answer may be simple, it’s not always easy.

Spoiled for choice—but stumped for real technology solutions?

When it comes to selecting and implementing the technologies that will help us move our bookkeeping businesses to the next level of efficiency, we are spoiled for choice. There are so many solutions out there, how can we possibly make the right choices?

In my estimation, the key is not to look first at what tech you should use, but rather at what problems you’re trying to solve. Essentially, you want to back into the apps you choose by putting pencil to paper (or finger to tablet) and mapping out the specific workflow issues you’re having so you can create a list of the specific results you’re after.

Build your tech stack to optimize your bookkeeping practice.

I’ve said many times that I don’t believe there is one right answer when it comes to which is the ‘best’ combination of apps for your practice. But I do know what is working for me in my own virtual bookkeeping business. Here’s what I’m using:

QuickBooks® Online (QBO) – QBO is the only accounting software I support in my bookkeeping business. If your clients aren’t already using QBO, they will be looking for some kind of cloud-based solutions in the near future. Clients are figuring out how valuable collaborative anytime, anywhere access to their financial data really is. Additionally, QBO integrates with many other apps, which makes it customizable for many different business types.

SmartVault – Document management, secure information storage and collaborative workflow—all rolled into one. Next to QuickBooks, SmartVault is the most important program I use! You can use SmartVault as your client portal. It has grown into a powerful app that includes embedded workflows specific to accounting professionals, if you choose to use them. It also integrates with many other accounting favorites, like QuickBooks Desktop, Intuit Lacerte & ProSeries tax software, and add-on apps like Method, Tallie, Hubdoc…the list goes on.

Hubdoc– This application enables you to streamline your front-end document gathering workflow by automating the process. It is a fetching app that will automatically pull bank and credit card statements from your clients’ online accounts, as well as handle emailed and scanned receipts. It can even fetch your clients’ recurring online vendor bills automatically. It integrates with both QuickBooks Online and Xero, as well as many other apps, including SmartVault.

Boomerang –Sending automatic recurring reminders to clients is easy using Boomerang. This application allows you to write an email now and schedule it to be sent at a later time. Just write the messages as you normally would, then click the Send Later button to schedule it. Once you have your workflow planned out, you can draft the appropriate messages and schedule them so you can “set it and forget it” when it comes to routine client communications.

Make your apps play nicely together—it makes life so much better.

One of the greatest things about running a bookkeeping business in today’s technology environment is that once you’ve set up your workflow and chosen your tech stack, everything runs like clockwork. To achieve this, you’ve got to do the up-front workflow documentation and app investigation to be sure your bookkeeping ‘machine’ will run smoothly. This is a critical part of achieving the automated workflow utopia we all want.

Solve the big bookkeeping business challenge with the right technology.

Implementing your documented workflow, and automating it with your own ‘tech stack’ will help you grow your practice and work collaboratively with your clients so that everyone wins. Best of all, it will improve your client relationships and help you build a better, stronger bookkeeping business for years to come.

Learn how to document your workflow and choose your tech stack in Gabrielle’s free eBook:

The Bookkeeper’s Guide to the Virtual Galaxy

About the Author

Gabrielle Fontaine, PB, ASBC

Gabrielle Fontaine, PB, ASBC is a freelance Professional Bookkeeper and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor at BookkeepingDirect, which has been a 100% virtual bookkeeping service firm since 2003. You can find more of her articles on virtual bookkeeping at thefreelancebookkeeper.com.