In this month’s blog, “How to Work with a Bookkeeper,” we’re offering you some wise advice regarding the two-way street that is, or should be, your relationship with your bookkeeper.
The clue is in the first sentence:
For the connection to work well, we’d like to invite you to see it as a partnership. That is, your responsibility, as well as ours. Working together, we can manage your tax affairs as seamlessly as possible. Our aim is to free up your time to focus on the growth of your business. Plus, you’ll be able to review your financial performance on a regular basis. And, as a result, you can look forward to enjoying the things in life that matter the most. That is, your family and friends, and the fruits of your labour.
You’re paying Angel Bookkeeping as a supplier with constructive expertise and knowledge. Nevertheless, we’re keen for you to get the best value for money possible.
Where We Are
Are you on our “system”? With both parties connected with Sage (our primary accounting system, although we can work with Quickbooks, too), we’re up to speed, and can log in weekly. HMRC receives your accounts in plenty of time, with everything accounted for.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Snags and inefficiencies can start to creep in when we encounter the perform storm of a client managing his or her paperwork manually, getting back to important emails late, and failing to provide the information we need. Also – and this sounds harsh, but we need to say it, neglects to tell us about crucial things – see below – because it’s genuinely slipped their mind.
Let’s start with what NOT to do:
- It’s a cliché, but bringing in a bag or random receipts doesn’t fill us with unbridled joy. In addition to our fee for filing your accounts, if they’re in a mess, we’ll need to charge you extra to sort everything out into a semblance of normality.
- Further to the above, an abrupt incoming mountain of receipts must be processed – with great care and attention. And, we will most likely need to come back to you several times to clarify the information you provided us. Remember: compliance to HMRC is fundamental, enabling you to pay just the right amount of tax you owe, and no more. Life and work get in the way, so failing to respond promptly because you need to check things with a third-party spells Stress Central for your friendly local bookkeeper.
- Information that goes back and forth in dribs and drabs is like driving on a road with bumps and potholes for your hardworking bookkeepers; we proceed cautiously and more slowly than we should.
- Alternatively, and somewhat counter-intuitively, wanting everything to be ultra-automated could slow things down. For instance, linking Xero to PayPal (we’re not Xero bookkeepers, by the way), can create a VAT return of up to 80 pages, full of small transactions. This translates into a bookkeeping nightmare.
The reality is that it’s quicker and more efficient to match your processes with ours as much as possible. Why? Because it’s not always possible to automate everything. And, let’s not leave out:
- Forgetting things. There’s a saying: “to err is human”. To be fair, though, when you engaged us, Angel Bookkeeping will have let you know the information we need in advance. Therefore, having an “oh yes” moment when you realise that you’ve omitted to tell us about your rental income, dividends and your pension, for example, means that your figures will be inaccurate.
The above all add up to a degree of disorganisation, and a tendency to look the other way. Yes, we recognise that numbers and figures may not be the favourite element of your business administration, but we’re a friendly team here, and we’re happy to help. Here’s how to become our dream client:
HOW TO WORK WITH A BOOKKEEPER
1. Put Communication at the Top of Your Priorities
As with almost everything in business, communication is King.
We need information. When you receive an email asking for figures, dates, documents or any other data, we’d ask you to respond swiftly, and with precisely what we need. Delays your end are, not to put too fine a point on it, going to cause you stress that you don’t need, or deserve. Examples of excellent two-way communication could include:
- Answering emails from us within 24 hours, or earlier
- Letting us know about changes in your business that could affect your tax position
- Gets us the information we need in full
2. Get Organised
Ideally, you’ll be using Sage as your accounting system to streamline the exchange of information, but that may not always be the case.
So, getting us your figures and paperwork on time is critical. If anything, earlier than you need to. Why critical? Because deadlines have a habit of creeping up on us at the speed of light, and there may be follow-up questions to ask you further to receipt of what you send us. Getting organised may be all about:
- Keeping to the cut-off dates that we’ve asked you to meet
- Not leaving everything to the last minute
- Recognising the importance of all of the above!
3. Ask Us For Advice
As your bookkeeper, Angel Bookkeeping will be extremely aware of what’s going on in your business from a financial perspective. This knowledge is your gain.
With so many years of experience, we’d be happy to offer you our expertise about the accounting tools and processes that could make your working life easier. Likewise, given our broad client base, we’re your fresh eyes about what’s happening in your sector. In other words, we’re a valuable financial resource for you.
Our goal is to shine an illuminating light on your numbers, helping you to understand your financial situation, and adapt accordingly. There really is no such thing as a stupid question, so don’t be afraid to ask us anything you need.
Let us help you create and manage the best possible communication between the two of us, empowering you to transfer everything we need on a consistent schedule.
So, still wondering how to work with a bookkeeper? Don’t sit and wonder. Get in touch today. We’re at your service.