As I’ve written before, I encourage my small business owners and entrepreneur clients to learn the accounting activities that affect their businesses (Where I’m Going: Teaching and Mentoring Clients ). I normally recommend that they perform the bookkeeping themselves when they have the time to do so during normal business hours. The reason I do this is that accounting is the backbone of a business and understanding accounting and financial reporting increases the odds that a client’s firm will be successful.
When I opened the Nashville CPA firm, CPA for Small Business , I thought that a major part of my practice would be accounting services (i.e., bookkeeping, payroll, etc.). During the first six months I was open, I observed that prospects were looking for a accounting service more because they didn’t understand accounting than that they needed to outsource their accounting because they didn’t have the time to do it.
Once I determined that this was the case, I began to offer to set up accounting systems for these prospects (in QuickBooks, Microsoft Office Accounting, etc.). As part of the accounting setup package, I provided the client with policies and procedures on how to perform routine accounting activities for their business. When I deliver the database to the client, I walk them through how to perform the necessary accounting and bookkeeping activities on my laptop. Almost every client I have set up an accounting system for has expressed gratitude for learning how to perform the accounting themselves. Understanding this aspect of their business makes them better businesspeople and managers.
This is an example of how I put my prospects and clients best interest above billable work for CPA for Small Business to perform. There are more billable hours in performing accounting services on a regular basis than in setting up an accounting system, but I would rather recommend what is in the client’s best interest. I just feel it is the right thing to do.
I do have accounting services clients that I perform routine bookkeeping and accounting activities for at my Nashville accounting firm. I’ve learned that the best clients for these services are those who would have to perform the accounting at night/during the weekend if they didn’t outsource it to me. The small business owners who need accounting services are those who are so busy with their company’s sales and operations that they don’t have time to perform these activities themselves during normal business hours.