Have you said any of these before?
- I’ve changed bookkeepers five times in the last three years
- I just can’t seem to get what I need
- Bookkeepers are all the same
Or, the story I hear most often from frustrated business owners. "I hired a new bookkeeper last month, and all he’s done for the last month is push papers and dig in the filing cabinets. I had to stop what I was doing to tell him to stop. I said “Just leave that. Putting all that paper in order is a waste of time. I hired you to fix my money problems, not file papers.”
Business owners tell me, "It’s always the same. Every time I hire a new bookkeeper all they want to do is organize my files and ask me questions about how I want a bill “coded”. I don’t even know what that means!"
"Nothing ever changes with my money situation and each new one isn’t any better than the last one. What’s the point?"
Does this conversation sound familiar to you? Have you said something similar to a fellow business owner and she absolutely knew where you were coming from?
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First, I totally get what you are saying. I hate filing too, even though I know how important it is when you need a document later. It feels like such a waste of time. I personally declared war on paper and filing several years ago and my company is now 100% paperless. We use digital document storage and my staff is never filing or digging through cabinets and we always have what we need at our fingertips. This includes how we work with our clients.
The real issue here is what you are focused on. You are focused on the bookkeeping tasks and not the results. You are focused on controlling the minutia and not on upgrading your systems and getting the information you need to grow your business. You are focused on managing your Bookkeeper’s workflow rather than business strategy that will increase your profitability and your market share.
I know you’ve heard this before, but I will say it again. If you really loved bookkeeping you would have trained for it and become a bookkeeper and the business you are currently working to build would be a bookkeeping business.
Another issue to draw attention to is the comment “I hired you to fix my money problems.”
When you are looking to hire accounting and bookkeeping services, be very clear on your expectations and the results you are looking for. For an example, I had a client that wanted us to help them smooth out their cash flow and help them budget the expenses. This seemed like a pretty straightforward request.
However, this client resisted all the systems we tried to set up for him that we know would work well. He continued to hand write checks without checking in with us for a cash balance update and spend on credit for items that were not budgeted for. For this client, the issue was not the bookkeeping services, but the client’s own behavior and lack of participation in his own success. He was focused on the minutia and the bookkeeping tasks instead of the results that solid accounting and bookkeeping services could provide for him. Oh wait! This sounds familiar! Yep – it seems we’ve come full circle in this story.