How to be a Supportive Online Business Bookkeeper

The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of things for your online business bookkeeper clients. Businesses that previously solely managed things on-premises or in-person now have websites. Restaurants sell swag. Gyms have online memberships. All those moves online have one thing in common: a streamlined workflow for you if you support your clients.

Here are three ways you can support your clients as they move online, all while making your life as a bookkeeper a little bit easier.

1. Have conversations about online business revenue sources, early and often

When was the last time you met with your clients to discuss pandemic-related business changes? If it’s been a while, now’s a great time to be having those conversations. While this may be your busiest time of year, one 30-minute meeting may save you hours of work (and stress) down the road. 

Why? If one of your clients has made a significant shift during the last year and you aren’t aware, it’s going to be challenging to reconcile the books. If it’s been a while since you last met with your client, this is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the rapport between the two of you. It may even yield referrals down the line. (If you don’t have a regular meeting cadence with them, now’s the time to start.)

Holding a “state of the books” meeting with your customers as you help prepare them for tax season can help prevent that from happening. Here are a couple of questions to put on the agenda for that meeting when you have it:

  • What has changed for your business in the last year?
  • Who joined or left your team in the previous year?
  • Have there been changes to the client’s vision since last year? What about goals?
  • What changes might be in store for the upcoming year?

The last question on the list may seem slightly different since it’s focused on the coming year instead of the past–but that’s because a client meeting opens the doors for you to be a more vital advisor for the business, which is our second recommendation.

Want more? Read how to plan regular meetings with your clients.

2. Be an advisor during the pivot

Let’s say hypothetically that you have a client who owns a small barbecue restaurant chain. During your meeting with them, they mentioned that they are interested in selling bottles of their award-winning sauce online. They know they’ll need a website to do it, and perhaps even a different way to accept payment than what they have in store.

At this point, your client’s vision is more dreamlike than a measurable goal. You can make recommendations to them about ways that it will make both of your lives easier. For example, you could have a conversation about sales tax and what information you’ll need. Or, you can leverage your network as an online business bookkeeper. Find someone who has pivoted similarly and connect the two clients.

The conversation can also save you stress down the road. You can also recommend software systems that you are familiar with–especially if you’re an online business bookkeeper. You may have a preferred online store vendor or payment processor. Point your client in that direction by sharing your experience with supporting businesses on those platforms. That’s a win-win. It’s one less thing your client has to think about while they make a pivot, and you have one more client using a platform you love. 

(Or, it could also be because you know there are integrations between that platform and the business’s bookkeeping software, which is our third recommendation.)

Want more? Explore what a great bookkeeper does when supporting clients.

3. Lean on integrations

Let’s be honest: you play favorites. If someone came to you asking what bookkeeping software you recommended, you’d recommend your favorite. Or, by contrast, you’d potentially turn down a client if they used software you weren’t confident in. 

This situation is where integrations come in. If you have bookkeeping software that you love, you can find portals and platforms that can help connect it with other tools. With the help of integrations, you can cut down on the hours you spend tracking down records because they’ll automatically be sent to your client’s books (and you’ll be able to keep an eye on them in real-time.)

By finding winning integrations between platforms you love, you can help guide your client to great solutions as they add new business strategies or pivot to online sales, all while being protective of your time.

And, if you’re a small business bookkeeper with clients using Xero, you can feel confident recommending Shopify or Stripe to them. BankFeeds will connect their Shopify and Stripe accounts directly into their Xero account.

Ready for a more streamlined bookkeeping business?

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