Ready for year-end? How to prepare your practice and clients

As bookkeepers and accountants know, year-end can be one of the most stressful times for you and your clients. In this article Jaime Rein advices on how best to get your practice and clients ready for year-end. Learn how to help your clients relieve bottlenecks while driving an efficient workflow in your own practice.

How to get your practice ready for year-end Set up a client workflow

Efficient time management in your practice is critical to success during year-end. Put together a checklist for each client that turns the required work each month into an easy to follow process. Having the following on hand for each client could save you countless hours:

Business owner’s contact information Preferred method and time of communication Business ID numbers Software/delivery requirements Payment method Industry specific deadlines Arrange engagement letters

This is a good time of year to review your engagement letters with your clients and get them to re-sign for next year. It’s an ideal time to secure future work because the value you have added recently to their business is fresh in their minds.

If you have convinced your client to upgrade to new accounting technologies in the year coming, the new letter of engagement should reflect the use of new technologies with clauses in place to protect you from any external problems, such as a data breach. Even if it is out of your control, your clients might have expectations that since you recommended the migration you would be responsible.

Know when to refer a client

As you get ready for year-end, tax season, or any relevant crunch times for the business segments you specialize in, it’s critical to know if you should accept, refuse, or refer potential new clients.

Depending on the size of your practice you might start to look at new client opportunities as worthwhile or not worthwhile. For example, if a prospective new client comes in with a shoebox full of receipts, are they going to be a long-term client or are they just looking to file taxes and never darken your door until next year? You should ask these questions before you consider taking them on:

Does this client’s industry fit your specialization or one you would like to service? Do you think you can add value to the client to move them on monthly or quarterly? Speaking with the client, do they have history of bouncing around to different bookkeepers? Are they passionate about their business? Do they have a viable business?

Remember, just because you have interviewed them doesn’t mean you have to take them on. Follow your instincts.

Beware of year-end burnout

You can only give clients good service if you have capacity on your client list and the energy to serve their business. This means you need to look after your own health and well-being so that you can do your job. As you get ready for year-end, decide now the hours and days that you are going to work and ensure they are realistic.

Whether you are taking weekends off or doing a four-day week, you need to balance your personal life with the workload. Inform your clients of your holiday hours with as much notice as possible to avoid potential disruptions or delays. As year-end to tax

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