Workflow, Convenience, and the Value of Your Services

Workflow is something most of us want to improve. In fact, it's a buzzword in our profession right now. Why? Because done right, your workflow means you can get more done, consistently and more profitably. Good workflow makes it easier to scale your business, expand your workload capacity, or even take more time off, if that's what you're after.

But what does your workflow mean to your clients? Can good workflow help you attract new clients? The answer is, YES!

Here's an example that illustrates what I mean that happened just this past week in my own business…

I had a phone appointment with a potential new client that came through my website. When we started the call, the first thing out of his mouth was how impressed he was with my automated appointment setting system. He was delighted at how easy it was to use, how professional it was, and how convenient. Needless to say it started our conversation off on a high note where he viewed me as very professional and cutting edge in the services I offer as a virtual bookkeeper.

So your workflow is not just about getting your work done quickly and efficiently with your internal processes. It's also about how it affects your client when working with you. When you can make your client's experience a pleasant one (most clients hate dealing with the details of their financial records), your value as a bookkeeper soars in their eyes.

Automation + Convenience = Value

When considering improvements to your workflow, could you include automation too? Think about how it will affect your client's experience as well. Will it contribute to an impression of professional and high quality services?

Regarding my automated scheduling system, I put that in place a few years ago. The first reason was for my own convenience. It was much easier to use a simple link to my calendar rather than attempt the tedious and time-consuming back-and-forth of coordinating appointments and meetings via email. From there, I integrated the new system into my website to make it easier for potential clients to speak with me personally as well. So a win-win automated scheduling tool that integrated with Google Calendar was a good fit for my bookkeeping practice. (If you're dying to know which one it is, I use Schedule Once and am very pleased with it)

The lesson here is that when something is convenient, it is worth a lot, both to you and your clients. What part of your workflow that affects your clients could you make more convenient? Where could you remove any existing pain or friction?

This is an important point. If you want clients to view you as highly valuable, you need to make it easy for them to work with you. Clients hire us to remove the pain of keeping up-to-date and accurate financial records themselves. Making this easy for them so that they truly feel served is of very high value. That's value that will set you apart as a premium quality bookkeeper who deserves a premium level fee.

Oh, and yes, value goes both ways. I pay a monthly subscription price for that automated convenience in my appointment scheduling workflow. But I'm fine with that because it saves me time and frustration. The convenience and reliability contributes toward high quality relationships with existing and potential clients. In turn, that makes me more profitable. Those benefits are worth far more to me than the $19/mo I pay for the app.

So how can you use this idea in your bookkeeping business? It's not about whether or not you use a scheduling app. It's about thinking of the ways you interact with your clients, and how you can make it easier and more convenient for them to work with you to get the results they want most.

A great example of this is right at the front-end of your workflow. It's a real sore spot for most of us bookkeepers (and clients). That is, getting the information we need from clients on a consistent basis so we can get the bookkeeping done in a timely way!

If that's a sticking point for you in your bookkeeping workflow too, then join me this Tuesday, May 16th at 2:00 PM Eastern. I'll be running a new free webinar specifically surrounding this issue. “Front-End Workflow Automation for Bookkeepers“. Solving this problem is a fantastic first step in building a workflow that really works for both you and your clients!

Have you found other ways to improve your workflow and boost your value in your clients' eyes? Please share what's working for you so far.

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Bookkeeping Frustration #1 – Getting Client Info

Here's some good news about something that's probably driving you crazy.

From time to time I like to check in with you, my fellow freelance bookkeepers, to see what your biggest challenges are and what's working, and what's not. That's because even though I'm a freelance virtual bookkeeper myself, one person's experience certainly doesn't tell the full story.

There are a few familiar themes that I hear again and again. But one, especially for those of us who are working virtually, comes up consistently. Can you guess what the biggest frustration nearly everyone I ask says they have in running a bookkeeping business?

Yep, it's getting the info we need in a timely way (if at all) from our clients to complete the books. It's a major struggle!

So, as you've probably guessed by now, that's the topic we're going to take on in the new webinar I'm hosting next week entitled…

“Front-End Workflow Automation for Bookkeepers”

Finally learn how to save time and frustration by more easily getting your client information… on auto-pilot!

Register for the LIVE event here (it's free)

DATE: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

TIME: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern Time (New York)
(Use this link to convert to your time zone, if needed)

In this new webinar we continue the theme that we've focused on more generally… workflow…. but we'll zoom in specifically on how to drastically reduce and even solve the issue of getting the needed source information from our clients.

Here's just a taste of what we'll cover together on this new online class…

  • Why “workflow” is such a buzzword that we keep hearing, but how most of what we're being told just isn't helping us succeed…
  • What a defined bookkeeping workflow looks like, and you'll get a template for designing your own custom version quickly and easily…
  • A nuts-and-bolts walk-through of what you need to solve your front-end workflow headaches, using best practices and specific tools (free and low cost)
  • A very specific LIVE software demo of how you can use Hubdoc to actually implement – step by step – the first phase of your own front-end workflow automation to save time, frustration and remove client irritation at the same time.

Joining me for this special event is Yoseph West of Hubdoc who not only has a deep understanding of what we're up against as bookkeepers (unlike a lot of software folks who just don't get it), but he will also show us the latest automation short-cuts that front line virtual bookkeepers are using now.

Register for the free LIVE event:, and you'll walk away with what you need to immediately put what we cover together into action in your bookkeeping business. Yes, this is free.

Register for the LIVE event here

You'll notice that several of the webinars I'm running are focusing on building practical, implementable workflows and choosing the apps that really solve our challenges.

That's because I'm tired of all the noise, hype and theory I see being disguised as training. If we want to build successful bookkeeping services that truly serve our clients' needs and get results, we need to see the proof and be able to use it.

If you can't implement what you learn, what good is it?

On these webinars my hope is that you will walk away with more than knowledge. You'll have what you need to learn by doing what we show you immediately.

If that's what you want too, put us to the test and join us on this live online class Tuesday, May 16th, to see if we don't deliver on that promise. You have nothing to lose, except the frustration we all face trying to get what we need from our clients more easily!

Oh, and if you have any specific challenges you're facing in running your bookkeeping business related to workflow and / or apps, please let me know. My plan is to continue to dig deep into these issues, tear them apart, and solve them together.

THAT is a win-win mission, and I need your input to do it right.

Send me your input here.

Remember, together we are stronger. That's how we build our brand of win-win success. 🙂

Pricing: How Much Do You Charge for Bookkeeping?

Potential Client: How much do you charge?

Bookkeeper: What's it worth to you?

The Pricing Question

Answering the pricing question with this rather flippant boomerang question isn’t the usual way of setting bookkeeping fees. Most bookkeepers instead simply quote a generic hourly rate. Either the client accepts it, or not, and off you go.

But within this little question tossing game lies the seeds of a highly successful bookkeeping business… or working far too many hours for too low fees, and wondering why you are working so much harder than you ever did when you had a job working for someone else.

Charging too little is the biggest reason many of us end up creating a glorified work-at-home job that keeps us poor, frustrated, and with very few benefits. We simply don’t know that there’s a better way. A far better way, in fact. When it comes to running a truly successful bookkeeping business, it really comes down to how you’re pricing your services. If you don’t get that right, not much else matters. You’ll burn out.

Mark Wickersham, who is one of the top recognized experts on pricing in the accounting profession hit the nail on the head when he said, “The starting place has to be to get the pricing right in the first place.” You see, he’s an accountant and made the same mistakes when he started his accounting practice too. It’s the mistake most of us make.

Little more than a year ago I joined Mark’s group mentoring program that focuses on pricing. The results have been exciting and I’ve experienced double-digit growth in revenue this year, despite major shifts with a couple of my largest long-term clients that should have had a negative impact on my sales numbers.

In a recent mentoring session Mark clearly explained what we need to do to reach our true potential. He gave me permission to share this short video clip from that private mentoring meeting. Have a look. (it’s only a couple minutes)

Getting the Pricing Right

So, if the key to bookkeeping success is getting the pricing right, how do we do it?

Traditionally bookkeepers charge by the hour. That is actually the worst thing we can do in most cases. It virtually guarantees that you will make less money the longer you have a client. That’s because you’ll get more done in less time (the basis for your fees) as you get more efficient. To make matters worse, the loss of billing based on time is only amplified as you use automation tools. The client will be paying less and less for better results. That’s just not win-win.

Charging a flat fee is usually a welcome change from the client’s standpoint. But for us, it’s a scary concept. What if you underestimate how much work is involved when first taking on a client? What about all that “incidental” work that clients like to throw our way? How can you predict a flat fee? If you’ve tried this, you know that more often than not, bad estimating can put you out of business faster than charging by the hour! That is, unless you learn how to do it well very quickly. Pricing and packaging your services can definitely be tricky.

The other choice is value pricing. You heard Mark mention it in the video above. It's what he's known for. The idea of implementing value pricing is a very popular topic among bookkeepers and accountant. But the concepts can seem somewhat abstract to grasp, and actually putting it into practice even fuzzier. I can honestly say, though, after some intense focus, I’ve cracked the code on value pricing and been able to use it with great success consistently. What I’ve learned from Mark has helped a lot, and now he's come up with a method to shortcut the whole process.

That’s why I asked Mark to join me to concisely give us what we need to understand to move effectively toward more profitable pricing practices and do it quickly. That’s exactly what he did on the recorded webinar included with TFB Packaging & Pricing. On that bonus training (#3) he demonstrated in real time a very specific method for getting fast results that’s nothing short of brilliant!

You can learn how to access that highly popular training, along with related information on how to put your service packages together and the different pricing options available to you (even if you're not quite ready for value pricing). Click here for more info.

What's your opinion? Do you think we have a pricing problem as a profession?

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Video Article: 3 Questions Every Virtual Bookkeeper Needs to Know

Join us for this week's free live webinar training…

                                        “APP HAPPY”
The Simple 6-Step Process to Choose the Right Apps for You

Register here:

Yes, there will be a replay available if you can't make it live, but ONLY for those who register.

APP HAPPY – New Live Webinar on March 28

If you've been trying to figure out which third party apps will work best for you in your bookkeeping business, I've got some good news for you!

I'm running a brand new online training class this coming Tuesday, March 28 at 2:00 PM EDT (New York)

Not sure if you can attend live at that time? Check when it is in your time zone here.

                                         “APP HAPPY”
The Simple 6-Step Process to Choose the Right Apps for You

Register here:

On this interactive, online class I'll show you how to cut through the noise in the sea of third-party apps when trying to build a bookkeeping workflow process that saves you time (and headaches), and makes your business more scalable and profitable.

We'll cover together in this interactive live webinar session…

  • What you must have in place before you even think about integrating third party apps into your workflow (most everyone skips over this, and pays an expensive price for the mistake!)
  • My 6-step process for choosing the right app for your unique situation (because one size workflow does not fit everyone)
  • How to build your own customized ‘app stack' and cut down on the creeping costs of monthly subscriptions

And when you join us live on the webinar, you'll even walk away with a simple tool you can use to short-cut your app choosing process.

This is a free 60-minute training, and we will allow an additional 15 minutes (75-minute class total) for live Q&A so you can get the answers you need to take action right away.

Escape from app madness and join us on this free training.

This high-value class has been made possible by SmartVault as part of their mission to empower bookkeepers like you to succeed and leverage the power of technology and see the true value we bring to our clients.

Register for the LIVE event here (it's free):

Oh, and  if you can't make it live, be sure to register for the webinar anyway because the replay will only be provided to those who register for the live class, and only for a limited time.

Once you've saved your spot, feel free to share this announcement with any other bookkeepers you know who have been trying to find a way to cut through the confusion with online apps and find a process that works.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of everyone who is touched by what we do as bookkeepers.

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