#RecipeForSuccess: How to Assess a New QuickBooks Client
As a highly placed ProAdvisor® on the Find-A-ProAdvisor site and an energetic networker, I am blessed to get a consistent amount of inbound inquiries. My firm is always ready to help new clients, but before we start offering them solutions, we take the time to do a thorough assessment during what we call our “Assessment/Onboarding appointment.” Below is the #RecipeForSuccess that we use during those appointments, which are critical to our process because they help us truly understand our new clients’ needs.
What is a #RecipeforSuccess? It’s a campaign that provides key ingredients and steps for accounting pros and their small business clients to achieve success. Search “recipe” on this site for similar articles.
Master Chef: Jonathan Bello, One8 Solutions
- An existing QuickBooks® file
- A meeting or series of meetings with stakeholders including:
- The person doing the work (i.e. the bookkeeper, controller)
- The owner or the president of the company
- Others who rely on QuickBooks for making decisions
- A review of the current QuickBooks file for the top 10 mistakes
- A game plan or future actions
Step 1: Get your client’s basic/static information:
- Business type (sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, S or Corp)
- Calendar or fiscal year
- Owner(s) name
- Banking accounts
- Credit Card accounts
- Merchant Service accounts
- How long in business
- How long they’ve using QuickBooks (even though you might find this out from the data review – sometimes there is a story behind the current data file)
Step 2: Once you have all the basic info, move on to the dynamic info:
- Business Segments/Departments – for example
- Residential & Commercial
- Direct and Wholesale
- Marketing Activities
- Online (SEO, paid advertising)
- Email marketing
- Direct mail
- Networking (BNI, Chamber, Other)
- Cold calling/warm calling
- How are they tracking a lead>Prospect>Customer/Client/Patron?
- Are they using a CRM?
- Revenue Generation System:
- Estimate>Sales Order>Invoice
- Time and Materials Billing
- Project Billing
- Do they need job costing/how have they been doing it?
- Inventory tracking, if needed
- Work in Progress
- Assemblies/Bills of Materials
- Expense re-imbursement from the customer/client
- Employee expense re-imbursement
- Purchase Order system
- Approval system
- Time tracking for Payroll
- 1099 tracking
Step 3: Find out what your new client is not currently getting from their QuickBooks:
- What would make their life/job better?
Step 4: Do a comprehensive review of your client’s QuickBooks data:
- Review the settings
- Are they reconciling? Start with bank accounts because they are the backbone of a business
- Do they have old items on their reconciliations?
- Undeposited Funds – are there old items, or items that have never been deposited?
- Accounts Receivable & Payables
- Old items
- Unapplied Credits
- Zero balances showing up on summary aging’s
- Inventory – do they have negative quantities?
- Check the inventory valuation report against the inventory balance on the GL
- Payroll liabilities – do they have large balances in Payroll if they are using it?
- Sales Tax liabilities-large balances?
- Are 1099s set up correctly?
- Look at the balance sheet (I have found the balance sheet to be the dumping ground for incorrect usage of QuickBooks)
- Do Liabilities have debit balances? (i.e. payments but no credits)
- Do the liabilities accounts mentioned previously have large balances?
- Opening Balance Equity
- Then review the P&L for inconsistencies
- Too high or low Cost Of Goods Sold Percentage?
- Other expenses seem out of whack?
Step 5: As you are encountering any issues, start building a task list of what needs to be fixed/cleaned up. This will be part of your game plan that you will present to your client, along with the road map helping them get to their goals off a well-oiled QuickBooks environment.