Beyond QuickBooks Set-up to Recurring Revenue

Apr 29th 2010
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When thinking about going into QuickBooks® Consulting Services as niche or new service line in your practice, it is important to develop each initial QuickBooks Set-up appointment into an ongoing client relationship to uncover additional revenue opportunities available.  Most business that call for QuickBooks help, actually need assistance in so many other areas of their business - bookkeeping, controllership, technology services, business process improvements, cash flow management, budgeting, tax planning/strategy and other advisory service – just to name a few! QuickBooks Clean-up or Set-up will get you in the door – the rest is up to you!   

To give you an example of how this relationship can grow from a small engagement to a long term recurring revenue client - one of my long time clients is a great story of how an engagement grew from QuickBooks Training to so much more!  When my client decided to start their own business they realized very quickly (like most do!) that managing a staff, running the operations, budgeting, forecasting and controlling financial decisions is a time-consuming and an overwhelming process. It is more important that they spend their time focusing on making the necessary strategic and marketing decisions for their company rather than getting bogged down with the day-to-day accounting tasks.
In an effort to improve productivity, this Client contacted my Company to help them with QuickBooks Training. At the time, they weren't aware of the other services that my business offered such as Fractional Controllership and Outsourced Bookkeeping services. The Client found that the Outsourced Bookkeeping service that was offered helped during the period of time when it wasn't necessary to have a full-time bookkeeper in their business. They were able to just pay for the data entry tasks they didn't want to do, as-needed, on an hourly basis. When the client was ready to make a leap and hire a full-time Bookkeeper, we were there to assist in reviewing job applications and identifying the right candidate for the bookkeeping position.
Our Company's role evolved from training on QuickBooks to Bookkeeping Services, and then serving as a Fractional Controller for the company. We not only informed the Client on how to improve their accounting system and processes, but we also educated them on how they can do it on their own (not keeping them in the dark - that is a novel idea, I know!) and seek solutions that would serve as a value-add for the future. Valuable models for sales projections were developed, inventory processes and procedures were implemented, along with comprehensive spreadsheets to improve budgeting and forecasting business operations so that it was more accurate . Now – that is the fun stuff (Only an Accountant would say that I know)! By educating them on the data entry so they were more comfortable with the day-to-day accounting and automating as much as they agreed to, we were eventually able to move away from the bookkeeping, and get involved in higher-end advisory services.
Another area of analysis that was needed was getting insight into how profitable each customer was.  This insight helped with making the necessary decisions on vendor relationships, cost control, and package pricing. We were able to later train the client in setting up QuickBooks to get the critical job costing data out of it to make these strategic decisions in their business and design customer promotions from analysis of the job profitability reporting. Inventory controls and processes were also implemented so that the Client could get a better handle on what was in stock, what needed to be ordered and what inventory parts were assembled together to cost it out properly to each job.
Because of this evolution beyond QuickBooks Set-up to the additional value-added services - I believe it would be very hard for this client to ever go anywhere else for this kind of help.  By Networking with other Professionals with services that you don’t offer, for example:  Tax Accountants, Auditors, Financial Advisors, Banks, etc - you develop trust with the client that even if you do not provide the service that they need, they will always come to you first for a referral!
So, where to start???  Start learning about QuickBooks - a deeper understanding than making Journal Entries and creating Financial Statements!  Understanding the differences between the products and how to properly advise your client on which product serves them best operationally is really important!  Also, understanding the resources available to help educate you and market your practice will get you pointed in the right direction to start promoting these services.  Watch for my future postings on these topics to help you launch this practice in your business!

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