Bookkeepers and Accountants who work in smaller communities across North America inevitably find themselves wedged against a wall when they want to grow their companies.
The number of small businesses needing their services is limited by their geography.
That’s why more and more are intrigued by the idea of virtual bookkeeping to knock the walls off their geographic limitations.
But these small businesses are built on solid relationships with their clients and a keen interest in their businesses, and they wonder if that strength could be still part of their business plan if their client is remote from them.
Can you build great relationships with your virtual clients?
You can, and in this article, we will show you how.
Look first at the aspects of your business that don’t change.
Remember that the only aspect of your business relationship with your clients that changes when you offer virtual bookkeeping or cloud accounting is the distance between you.
Everything else that matters to them: your dependability, accuracy, expertise, and insight that builds their trust and respect for you remains the same.
Virtual bookkeeping merely allows you to telecommute instead of going physically to their office or having them drop by yours.
All other aspects of your business, including using software to keep track of their financial transactions, review and provide regular reports, and reconcile their accounts remains the same.
The vital aspect of maintaining a great relationship with your virtual clients is to ensure that you continue to offer the best bookkeeping services, the reports they need, and the recommendations that help them to plan their actions and tax strategies.
Start with securing software that helps you deliver what the client needs
Personally, at AIS Solutions, we use QuickBooks Online not only because it is the world’s number one accounting system for small business with more than two million customers, but because it is efficient in doing what we need.
This program like others virtual bookkeeping software, lets you access your business anywhere, anytime. It is wonderful for people who run solo enterprises and want to occasionally travel a bit without leaving their clients in the lurch.
It allows you to track income and expenses for your client, send unlimited estimates and professional-looking invoices, download transactions from bank and credit card accounts, manage and pay bills, create and send purchase orders, track inventory, receive business reports, print cheques, record transactions, and back up your data automatically.
The challenge receiving your client’s documents
Before you get involved in virtual bookkeeping, one of the largest challenges seems to be working out how you will receive clients from your clients.
There are a number of strategies to do this, from old-fashioned scanning and emailing to the modern document application LedgerDocs, for example. It allows clients to scan and upload documents into the app, email the documents to a specific LedgerDocs email address, or even use a smart phone to photograph the document and upload it with an iPhone app or email address.
Once the client puts the documents in the app, you can access them and work with them as needed. Both you and the client can keep everything at your fingertips.
Once the technology is in place, what makes it all work?
Besides the normal attentive responses to questions and excellent work, you can build solid relationships with your virtual clients by ensuring they have clear expectations on what services are being offered, and exactly the kind of reports they will receive according to their specific needs.
We find it helpful to package specific services together at different levels to allow clients with different levels of needs to know exactly what they are getting each month, and that is all discussed at the beginning as the contract is being signed.
At that time it is good to talk about deadlines as well. It’s a good idea to have a sheet of clear and defined expectations on what is due when, rules and expectations, and let them know when they can expect regular reports.
This is vital in the relationship. If you start making changes to accommodate clients who can’t get their information to you on time but still want their reports on time, you will soon find yourself in trouble. Stress how the sheet of expectations keeps the work experience effective for both the client and you over a period of time.
Get the help you need before you go virtual
Work with the virtual software you will be using and time yourself on various tasks so you get a realistic expectation of how many clients you can handle on your own. Plan your virtual strategy and be ready to get help when your client load exceeds what you can handle on your own.
Ensure that you also set up a system to take payments on line or via e-transfer so that you do not get mired into doing work for clients who do not pay promptly. Nothing strains a client relationship more than repeatedly asking for money.
The bookkeeping industry is changing, as is everything else with the age of technology, and the boundaries of our business keep expanding. As we become adept at using technology, we find new ways to share and organize data and grow new and lasting relationships with clients far outside of our geographic area.
Thank you for reading this post. Until next time take good care.
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