While we are flexible in how we work with clients, the overall process is similar for all of our clients. Here is how we work:
1. Assess the client needs.
The first step is to determine what services are needed. Some clients know exactly what they need. Others know they need help, but are not sure what all services they need.
This step is usually handled either in person or on the phone after we have had a chance to review the client’s records and recordkeeping systems. For clients who already have accounting systems and/or personnel in place, we prefer to review the existing records during this phase.
2. Develop the plan.
We work with clients based on what works for their business. Every business is different.
This phase may be completed during the initial meeting or in a separate follow up meeting after we receive more information.
The plan allows us to prepare a customized quote and contract, so that the client understands what services are needed, what we will be doing, and what to expect.
3. Set up streamlined process for gathering info.
While we have some clients who prefer to provide information to us on paper, the days of mailing paper files or faxing records to the bookkeeper are gone. We use the latest technology to streamline the data gathering process. This allows us to gather most of the information automatically from third parties, such as banks, vendors, etc. This phase involves setting up these electronic systems and processes. In many cases, this phase may also be started during the initial meeting and we can complete the setup on our own after the meeting.
If the client prefers more manual processes, we can also set up a system for that too.
4. Get to work.
With a plan in place, we get to work. Depending on the services required, this may include setting up or modifying the chart of accounts, cleaning up the general ledger, entering bank and vendor data, reconciling data and making journal entries, paying bills, setting up invoicing, setting up payroll, preparing past and current tax and information filings, etc.
5. Ongoing client reporting and service.
The results and deliverables are provided to clients on an ongoing basis. Depending on the work, this may includes financial statements so client’s can assess how they are doing, advice for particular transactions or events, and tax and information returns that need to be submitted.