Thank you to all those who listened in to the Capitalise webinar. I’ll add a link here once they put it up on line for those who were unable to attend the live version.
There were a few questions sent through after the event which I thought I could answer here.
Q1. Hi, I am a one woman practice, offering all kinds of services at the moment (I set up my practice 1.5 years ago). How do you make accounts production as automated as you can? A lot of clients dont even know what information they need to keep, send statements in pdf, some numbers in excel spreadsheets, etc – way which are really time consuming for me at the moment.
A1. Hello, I know exactly the feeling. No matter how much you train clients some of them still don’t get it. Don’t be afraid to be firm with your clients and to help them to help themselves. Ultimately you need to decide if these are the kinds of clients that you want to be working with. But before you reach that stage here are a few things that we found useful with different clients:
- have a standard list of what you expect to receive from clients when you chase them soon after their year end
- chasing clients is not a technical task and can be done by a virtual PA for about £15ph which will free you up to do the technical work
- we started the bookkeeping and the Xero workshops to show clients how to keep their records properly. This was free to clients as we saved the time/money by having better records at the year end
- PDF statements are a pain. We used an online tool which converted PDF statements into CSV.
- make friends with a good bookkeeper who can help your clients to keep proper records throughout the year.
Q2. Did you use data extraction software such as AutoEntry or Receipt Bank? If so did you think it improved productivity?
A2. Yes, we used Receipt Bank for clients that were big enough to justify the cost. We found that we broke even at 16 invoices/receipts per month compared to the cost of manual data entry by a junior, even assuming no keying errors. You can then get the client to do the RB entry for you by putting the app on their phone (even older clients know how to take a photo of their grandchildren) and forwarding electronic invoices to their ‘special’ email address. This keeps the paperwork out of your office and save s the client postage or a visit.
See my answer to the first question above for how we used to convert PDF statements to CSV. Obviously use common sense for when it is more efficient to type a small statement manually into Excel
Q3. For engagement letters and sorting out all admin related things (such as AntiMoney Laundering regs), do you know if there is anything to make it more automated? Signing, chasing for AML docs, etc
A3. There is some great automation software out there for all these sorts of things. We used Signable for online signatures which were usually same day turnaround. I believe that Accountancy Manager can do the automatic chasing for you as can some other practice management packages.
See my answer to the first question above and remember that this admin task can easily be outsourced to a virtual PA.