Getting clients to give us the information we need in a timely way is one of the biggest workflow challenges bookkeepers face. But there’s a reason why this is often a difficult chore.
Why Clients Are Slow to Respond
The truth is, clients hire a bookkeeper to relieve the administrative burden of keeping updated and accurate financial records. They need our help. That’s because they’re too busy trying to run and grow their business. They despise record-keeping. They hire us once they feel the painful consequences for their neglect or mismanagement.
Clients are after the result of having up-to-date records without all the pain. Most often that’s at tax time. Otherwise, paying attention to the minutia of monthly financial transactions is not a high priority. Hence, they all but ignore our requests for information. It’s not a high priority on their list (until year end).
How to Make Information Gathering Easier on Yourself and Your Clients
If it’s difficult to get the information you need from your clients, you have a job to do. As a proactive professional it is possible to rectify the situation and turn it into a win-win working arrangement. The good news is, it doesn’t need to be difficult.
Instead of chasing your clients for the details you need, why look for a better way! Focus first on your own method of gathering the needed information. Could you build a workflow that removes your clients as the bottleneck in the process?
For example, by adding simple automation to your routine information gathering system, you may find that the detail chasing will subside, and meetings with clients become higher value for both of you. There is a bit of setup involved, but it’s an investment in a mutually rewarding relationship with each your clients that you’ll both love.
Here are a few quick and simple examples:
- Help your client set up simple email rules to automatically forward email receipts to you or even to an app like Hubdoc or Receipt Bank where it can be pushed through to QuickBooks or Xero and matched with the corresponding transaction.
- Show your client how using an online tool like T-Sheets to capture billable time where you both have access to the information via the Web eliminates the need for you to get employee timesheets
- Use a tool like Hubdoc with SmartVault to automatically have monthly bank and credit card statements, as well as online bills to be paid automatically fetched and saved in a folder of your choosing in SmartVault (your client’s secure document portal) so you’ll never need to chase him for a statement again.
These are just a few of the ways you can streamline and automate parts of your workflow that will save both you and your clients headaches. And you may have noticed that these may also open doors for more consultative services that your clients will welcome.
If you’d like to see how you can put SmartVault to work for you to improve how you work with your clients in a win-win way, schedule a free demo. Helping clients to get what they want and help you build a more efficient and profitable practice is what using apps is all about!