Be a First-Time Resolver

What does it mean to be a first-time resolver? It means that you successfully handle clients’ requests or complaints on the first call. By solving a client’s problems on the first call, you build an image of authority for yourself. To make yourself absolutely indespensible to your clients, build confidence that when they come to you, you will either know the answer or will at least know in what direction to point them for answers. When they approach you with a problem, give them the confidence that you will follow through on the issue. You want your clients to feel dependent upon you and your experience.

One Contact = One Solved Problem

Studies have shown that first-time resolution is extremely important to clients. Their time is short. When they call, they want their needs to be fulfilled as quickly as possible. In addition, it’s annoying to clients when they have to phone you repeatedly on a matter. You have other paying clients to service, so getting issues resolved the first time will make your day more productive and your business more profitable.

Become a First-Time Resolver

Here’s how you can prepare yourself to be a first-time resolver:

  • Stay current on all accounting and tax information so that you can provide speedy answers.
  • Keep their financial information handy at all times. That way, you won’t have to go look something up and call clients back.
  • Make the most of training. Read training materials carefully so that you’re up to date on all the latest practices and policies.

Finally, know to whom you should contact or refer your client to. Clients expect you to handle their situation. However, studies have shown that clients’ satisfaction is not diminished when you refer them immediately to people who have the information they’re seeking. You simply don’t have to be the expert on everything. Your clients do not have that expectation either, so don’t feel bad if you need to refer them to someone better suited to the issue at hand.Above all, though, don’t abandon their issue when you don’t feel that it is your area of expertise. When your clients feel that you and your questions are important to them, they will stick with you and recommend their friends to you. Referrals are the easiest way to find new clients and they will only happen when your current clients have confidence in your ability as a solution provider.

Show that You Know

As demonstrated above, the clients that you service must have confidence that you know Accounting and Bookkeeping for them to refer others to your service. Especially when you are first starting your Accounting and Bookkeeping service, knowing how to market yourself to potential clients and to instill in them peace that you can solve their problems can be key.When you enroll as a student in the Professional Bookkeeper program, you have an unfair advantage over your competition that will really make you shine in your clients’ eyes. Even after completing the Professional Bookkeeper program, you have ready access to coaches, accountants, and CPA’s at the Universal Accounting Center. Just call or email to get answers to even the toughest Accounting and Bookkeeping problems. The combined experience of many Accounting professionals comes as just one unique feature of the Professional Bookkeeper program. Even if you never need the support (and most of our graduates never need it after completing the PB program), you will grow in confidence in dealing with your clients, knowing that answers are just a phone call or email away.Businesses recognize the Professional Bookkeeper (PB) designation as validation that you have mastered the concepts of small business Accounting and Bookkeeping. Even if you already have an Accounting degree, additional certification in the specifics of preparing books for a small business will give you an edge over those without the PB designation. The Professional Bookkeeper designation gives you confidence in your abilities and demonstrates to your clients what you already know, that “you can do this!Learn How Becoming a Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Sets You Apart

It Was Really John&Paul – Networking

Ringo sang the song. But John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this Marketing Masterpiece. Why do I call it a marketing masterpiece? Simple… Ringo sang about networking.In the world of marketing, networking is more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. It’s your Man-of-Steel. From finding a job to building your client list, networking… works.

The Real Truth About Networking

It isn’t new, and it’s not what you think. In the past, networking happened informaly and at random. Today, networking has become systematic and structured. You don’t have to be a skilled negotiator or speaker to network. I’d like to share with you some successful techniques that will help you improve your network of potential clients and your networking abilities.

We are All Surrounded by a Potentially Powerful Network

The next time you’re in a room with 12 of your closest friends, make a list of all the different people you all collectively know. You might be surprised at what names turn up. Peter Vogt, a MonsterTRAK Career Coach says, “You’ll be amazed at who the people in your everyday life know – and by the additional people those people know. But you’ll never discover any of them until you abandon the ‘I don’t know anyone good’ mentality and replace it with the ‘I’ll start with the people around me and go from there’ philosophy…”I’ve watched my oldest son “network” for years. He started his network as a boy. It provided him with employment, a college schollarship and opportunities to see and do things that I haven’t done.With an average speaking ability, in his own charming way he builds his “network” every time he meets somebody new. Of course, you know you’re being networked, but it’s okay. If you become a part of his network, you can expect that he will be a part of yours. This mutually beneficial network of his works both ways. In fact, I’ve even found myself a part of it from time to time.

How Do I Start an effective network?

Use a formal and systematic approach to working your network. Organization and a plan for keeping track of your network and information is critical. Don’t forget, networking is about relationships. A good networking relationship will be mutually beneficial.The following link to a Microsoft Word document can help you organize your networking contacts and your communications with them. Remember, use any format to keep track of this information. You certainly don’t have to use my form, just so long as you get started.Download the Networking Contact Organization Sheet

“The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with the First Step”Lao Tsu

It all starts with a little action. The first step. Allen Bostrom, President of Universal Accounting and Networking Guru to hundreds of graduates says, “Your own network is the final outcome of all your networking activities and… forms a vital part of your total marketing effort. With this in mind, it is something that should always be [foremost in our thoughts].”Universal Accounting offers the finest curriculum on not only how to start a profitable and rewarding business as a professional bookkeeper and accountant, but also offers training on how to best market your business to multiply your profits. With just a click of the mouse, find out just how profitable a career in small business bookkeeping and accounting can be for you.Show Me the First Step. Show Me More About Starting My Own Professional Bookkeeping and Accounting Business

It’s Raining Referrals

It’s always a lot easier to ask for a referral when you’re prepared for the question.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Before you ask the question, it’s prudent to probe the likelihood of success in obtaining a referral or, better still, a number of referrals.

Has your client given you the indication that he or she is really happy with your bookkeeping and accounting services and have you established a strong foundation for an on-going relationship with that client?

These indications will generally be expressed orally but the body language could also be all you need to go on.

As with many business issues, the timing of the referral question is of critical importance and this depends upon the quality of the relationship that you’ve established with your business client.

The logical time to ask about referrals is when your service has been successfully implemented and the client is in an excellent position to judge the quality of service that you have provided. This is also the optimum time to ask for a testimonial.

As a matter of course, it’s better to ask for referrals on a face-to-face basis rather than over the telephone or by e-mail because of the personal nature of your request.

When you’ve judged that the time is right and your request for referrals is a reasonable one considering the client’s appreciation of your services, make the request while indicating how much you enjoy your relationship with the client and making clear that you desire to grow your business. Simply ask if he or she knows of anyone that could appreciate your services the way he or she does.

Module 4 of our Professional Bookkeeper program, entitled “Building a Successful Accounting Service” describes other marketing methods to make your Accounting or Bookkeeping service grow!To see an overview of marketing concepts that the Professional Bookkeeper course will teach you Click HERE.

Other sections from this week’s newsletter:

  • Extended Follow-Up Support
  • Do Your Letters Help You Grow Your Bookkeeping Service?
  • Be a State of the Art Accounting Service Provider

Jack of All Trades

Small Business Owners

How to Be the Jack of All Trades

A picture of many hats.At the onset of their venture, small business owners generally can’t afford to hire support staff. This requires they wear many hats in order to manage all the necessary business functions. It’s important that you beware of all these functions so you avoid neglecting key business tasks that enable your practice to run more efficiently. While there are some services you should outsource to trusted professionals (for example, lawyers), other functions you’ll have to manage yourself. So until you can hire help, here are 5 priority tasks you should become proficient at:

Marketing Specialist

We continually stress the importance of marketing. While it’s nice to imagine otherwise, clients are not magnetically drawn to your office. They need to hear about your services before they can request them. That’s why your marketing efforts can make or break your business. From the promotions you publicize on your website to your yellow page listing, all of it speaks of the value of your services. Your marketing efforts will build a stronger accounting practice. If you’re interested in learning more about proven-marketing strategies, visit our Universal Practice Builder site.

Copywriter

Related to marketing, copywriting is the process of writing the text associated with all marketing efforts. This includes the text on your website, in your brochures, on your fliers, and even the newsletters you distribute. While you can hire a copywriter to do this for you, until you have enough money to do that, you’re the best person for the job. And who better knows just how valuable your services are?

Collections Manager

Billing your clients is important, but collecting is even more important. While you should do all you can to ensure your clients have good credit before you add them to your roster, there’s always the chance they’ll delay payment, jeopardizing the vitality of your business. So until you can outsource this task you must do it yourself. Devise a system whereby you can track payments and notify clients when their accounts are outstanding. And once they are you should discontinue your services until they become current.

Administrative Assistant

Okay, so you aren’t flush enough to hire your own secretary. That’s okay-doing this job will help you better connect with your clients. This function may require you to have a routine To Do list which you follow in order to ensure you accomplish everything that must be done. From filing invoices to scheduling appointments to ordering supplies, you must have a system of managing all these tasks so that nothing crucial is forgotten.

Technology Expert

Now when your business only has one computer this generally isn’t a problem. But consider those clients you work with. If their accounting software fails or they encounter a problem tracking financial information, you must know enough to either help them solve the problem or refer them to someone who can. This may require you to do a little research and keep up on significant software trends. If you’re interested in learning how to master QuickBooks, the leading accounting software used by small business owners, visit our QuickBooks training site.You probably anticipated working overtime for your business the first few years. You may not have anticipated working countless jobs in the process. But until you can afford to hire help you’ll have to do much of this yourself. The good news is you’ll become even more knowledgeable about your business in the process; in fact, you’ll become your own Profit Expert which will enable you to be even more valuable to your own clients.

James Bond Accounting

I’ll have mine Shaken… not stirred.

Most small business owners will agree it’s really hard to make a decision without all the important information. Just like James Bond, the bookkeeperaccountant in any small business is the key to finding the right intelligence. Proper business intelligence is often the difference between survival and business failure or a thriving, healthy business.The truth is… the bookkeeper/accountant is one of the most important players in any successful business.Mr. Bostrom says, “A professional bookkeeper and professional tax preparer can be very beneficial to you as a business operator or department manager in helping you retrieve and analyze information.”There are a number of software applications available to help business owners analyze their important information each month, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult and expensive process. In his book, In the Black, Allen Bostrom suggests a number of items that any small business owner should be considering on a monthly basis.

  • What are our sales totals?
  • How much cash is available?
  • What are accounts receivable and how old are they?
  • What are the monthly payable numbers?
  • What products are selling?
  • Where does the profit come from?
  • Is our inventory current or obsolete?
  • What are the major expenses for the business? How much are they?
  • What are overhead expenses?
  • How does business compare to last year at this time? Last Month? Last Quarter?
  • What are the most important numbers you would like to see on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?
  • What is working well in the business? What needs to be improved?
  • How is our customer service working?

I’m sure you’ll agree, as we look at this list, the bookkeeper/accountant is critical to the success of any business. You may also see that there may be some information that is unique or of special consideration to your business, so don’t feel like this list is all inclusive, it’s just a place to start.

How do I watch all these things on a monthly basis?

There are a number of tools available to track the important, even critical numbers that any business owner will want to have at his/her fingertips. Let’s take just a few minutes and talk about “Score-Carding”.Score-Carding is a term used to describe the process of evaluating important information to get a feeling for how the business is doing now and how it will be doing in the near future. Allen calls these numbers “the key leading indicators of the business.” If they are in synch, then the rest of the numbers that follow during the month should be okay.

What should I do to start Score-Carding in my business?

On page 72 of his book, In the Black, Allen has created a sample Score-Card. This is only an example of some of the information taken from the company’s accounting system that would be valuable to a business owner or manager, but I’ve reproduced it here so we can better see how valuable this tool could be.

Description Target Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Marketing Leads Generation

10

4

2

1

2

Sales Closed

8

2

2

1

2

Production Completed

20

8

2

6

4

Customer Returns

0

0

0

1

0

Cash on Hand

10M

4M

8M

8M

8M

By studying the table above, you can see how one entry relates to another. Leads Generation and Sales have a corresponding relationship to each other. By keeping track of the “key leading indicators” of any small business, the business owner or department head is in a position to make decisions based on solid business intelligence rather than by the seat of his/her pantsMr. Bostrom recommends regular monitoring. Every time a decision is made, it’s essential to evaluate the impact of that decision on the Income Statement and Balance Sheet. Mr. Bond, the bookkeeper/accountant, just became one of the most important people in any small business.For a more detailed description of how score carding can effect the bottom line, Allen Bostrom’s book, In the Black, is a perfect place to start.

Universal Accounting has the answers to the tough questions.

There has never been a better time to begin a career as a Professional Bookkeeper or Tax Preparer than right now. With literally millions of small businesses all over the country who need the skills and knowledge of a professional bookkeeper/accountant, you may not be able to rescue the free world, but you will be able to have a wonderful impact on your clients businesses and your own career. A new career in accounting is only a click or two away.Show me more. I’m interested in a business opportunity in Accounting and Tax Preparation.

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