When a client starts working with a bookkeeper, there are a lot of details they need to know in order to get the job done right. The client should be aware of and understand everything that is expected of them so that the bookkeeper can do the job in a timely manner. Communication plays a key role in making sure that financial information is updated correctly in order to best represent the company’s standing. Here are the top seven things that the bookkeeper will need in order to stay on schedule and best serve the client.
First, the bookkeeper needs to confirm the terms with the client so that they are both on the same page. This ensures that the client is aware of the services which are provided by the bookkeeper and to help keep each other accountable. With the contract in place, the work can be done in an attitude of trust, the bookkeeper working with direct permission from the client. There is far less confusion for both the client and bookkeeper when expectations are clear from the start.
Second, the bookkeeper should have a good phone number, email address and mailing address for the client. When the bookkeeping takes place, oftentimes the bookkeeper needs to reach out to the client and confirm details such as expenses or invoices from the current accounting period. This helps the process go smoothly and helps the client receive the best services possible.
Third, the client should grant access to previous accounting records such as paper ledgers spreadsheets or Quickbooks. This will help the bookkeeper know how to categorize the expenses and income that come through on the bank statements. When the bookkeeper doesn’t recognize a vendor name, for example, then they can refer to previous records and review what the client has recorded in the past.
Fourth, the client should give access to accounts with financial institutions, such as credit cards or checking/savings accounts. This will aid the bookkeeper in getting statements as soon as they are available from the bank, helping reduce the amount of time it takes for the project to be completed. In turn, the client can get reports of the previous month’s financial data and determine the health of the business more quickly.
Fifth, any invoices from the client’s business that have been sent out during the previous accounting period should be kept on record. These can help document the business’s income, showing both amounts and dates. Depending on the terms of the invoices, the bank statements may not accurately reflect the true number of sales or income within the company. The bookkeeper should understand this information when it is received and can relay the right details to the client. With the bookkeeper’s help, the client will know when invoices are paid and if there remain any outstanding balances.
Sixth, the bookkeeper should have either physical or digital copies of receipt from the client. This is to be input into the company’s books and reconciled with the bank to best determine how each transaction is to be categorized. If, for example, a vendor name is obscured on a bank statement because of payment system use or other discrepancies, then the bookkeeper can check with the receipt of the same day and amount to get an idea of what that money went towards. The more information the bookkeeper has, the less back and forth is required in emails, phone calls or meetings to get the job done correctly and efficiently.
Seventh, the client should provide prior year tax returns to show how the business is set up and determine what changes have been made to the company. When assets are bought or sold, liabilities paid off, or new bank accounts, then the bookkeeper will be able to ask more effective questions to know how to best meet the needs of the client. These can also provide insights about the growth and health of a business over a longer term.
For small to medium business (SMB) owners that need bookkeeping services, let JTC CPAs help provide solutions to each business. Regardless of industry or time doing business, the team at JTC CPAs loves helping clients get to know their business from an accounting perspective. After all, the language of business is accounting. When SMB owners are ready to experience peak-performance, they can “endeavor to grow” with JTC, feel free to reach out today!
Disclaimer: This article is for purely informational purposes. Bookkeepers may require more or less information from their clients than described above according to the terms of the bookkeeping services. In order to fully understand the scope of what is involved, we recommend a consultation with one of our bookkeeping specialists to more fully understand what is needed.