I say it to our team all the time:
We are a customer service business that does accounting.
And I truly believe it.
When you look at the businesses you continually buy from what do they have in common? In addition to great products or services that you want or need I guarantee most of them have outstanding customer service.
How nice is it when you buy something from Amazon or Zappos and it is just not perfect so you return it and there are no questions or hassles? What about when you get instantaneous support and problems solved through a web chat or phone call where you didn't have to wait?
You will continually support businesses that offer great customer service.
The accounting industry is not different. We are in the service industry and therefore need to offer outstanding service.
Let me explain how we have designed the customer experience and service at SLC Bookkeeping so you can understand what makes us different and what you can expect working with us.
A Sales Process
We won't take you on as a customer unless we can help.
Wait SLC Bookkeeping doesn't work with any business that asks? Heck no. If you are working with every prospect that approaches you then you are doing a disservice to both you and them.
I guarantee that we will do an initial call and bookkeeping consultation for free. If we are not a good fit we will still do our best to help you. That may be a referral to another provider or just some general advice on how to set up your bookkeeping system.
If we can help you with your bookkeeping you will get clear expectations on the cost of our service, our role, and how we will support you on an ongoing basis.
Work With A Team, Not Just One Individual
Some, but not all bookkeeping services lack a good organizational structure. What that means is that often they try and take on too many different roles and inevitably the customer service and experience suffer.
I'm a big fan of creating a strong organizational structure so that our customers have the best experience that we can provide.
As you can see from our team page, we are not a massive company. However, I think we are big enough to provide you with an excellent small business accounting experience. Many bookkeeping services that market themselves as a business service are just one individual. Or sometimes they have a small team consisting of a part-time employee and a few external contractors.
We only hire full-time, in-house, US-based employees that receive a W-2. That way our employees are committed to our business as well as our customers.
When you are a client of ours you will always have at least two points of contact on the operations team and also a customer success contact. That is intentional so that people can be out sick or go on vacation and your business bookkeeping needs are still maintained. We don't want your business to suffer just because one of your contacts is on vacation. That is what happens when you work with an individual, when they are sick or on vacation, your bookkeeping stops.
Another benefit of working with a bookkeeping service provider over an individual is the continuity of your bookkeeping system. Have you ever hired a full-time in-house accountant for your business? If they were good I bet the accounting was outstanding and you never had to worry about it right? What happened when the accountant retired, quit, or had to resign due to a personal reason? I'm guessing it didn't go well.
Most accountants are great at accounting and bookkeeping but may not take the time to think about scalability, repeatability, and the importance of process development. I bet there wasn't a guide or job description for the accounting position when they left? I bet it was a pain that you never want to experience again.
Response Time And Ongoing Support
One of the most common complaints I hear from customers inquiring about our service is that their accountant never gets back to them. They call and email and don't get a timely response.
If your accountant doesn't get back to you it probably means one of two things:
1. They don't think you are important enough.
...but more than likely...
2. They are spread too thin.
I heard this complaint over and over so many times that I figured out a way to address it with customers, proactively before it became a problem. I make customers agree to a response time policy. It goes something like this:
"The following question is something I ask everybody before taking them on as a client to get the expectation in place.
We hold ourselves accountable to a 48 hour response time for client questions and requests. We ask the same of our clients when we have questions or requests for you.
Does this work for you?"
Seems fair, doesn't it? Expectation in place = problem solved.
When you reach out to us with a question or urgent need we will respond within 48 hours. However, we typically get back to customers within 1 day.
We are proud to offer unlimited ongoing support as needed.
Think of us as part-time accountants with a full-time presence.
Financial Review and Q&A
After we have reconciled the books we may have some questions. We can ask those questions through email or phone but prefer to do a videoconference so that we can review your books with you via a screen share.
We run through our questions to make sure we have everything coded correctly in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
We then review your financial reports with you and run you through your performance. We may make some observations of items we noticed but mostly just want to put meaningful information in front of you to see if you have any questions or comments.
Our goal is to provide you with a bookkeeping system and service that allows you to make better strategic decisions to move your business forward in the right direction.
Forecasting, Budgeting, and CFO Advisory
The last optional service that we offer is financial forecasting. All forecasts are developed by our in-house actuary. Our actuary will take your historical financial performance and blend it with your feedback and comments about future expected events in your business (large expenditures, investments, external funding, etc.) to develop a financial forecast for your business.
We will then review your actual performance versus your forecasted expectations on a monthly or quarterly basis. This allows you to get more insight into your business' financials, understand cash flow, and make smart pivots in your business to keep on track with your goals.
Want to see how SLC Bookkeeping can add value to your business through our customer service?