Caroline: Is it hard to convince clients to use QuickBooks Online if they’re already using another product?
Lielette: It usually comes down to two things: can QuickBooks do everything they need, and what’s the price? If they have complex payroll needs, then it’s a no-brainer – QuickBooks has the best payroll system because it’s backed by KeyPay.
Price-wise, with QuickBooks clients get up to 10 employees for $17.50 a month, depending on what my wholesale price is at the time. Although I build it all into the price, I’m only charging clients $17.50 for software rather than $80 or $130 which is what some of the other software providers’ products can cost.
Caroline: Can you tell me about a client whose business has been improved by moving to QuickBooks Online?
Lielette: I have a client that holds events all over Australia for the pet industry. They were using a traditional desktop accounting system and had an in-house bookkeeper who took days to get the management reports done. They needed everything broken down by all the different events and there were lots of accruals and pre-payments happening, but the size of the chart of accounts was about six pages long the way the bookkeeper had set it up. All the data was stored on one laptop, so if something happened to it they couldn’t retrieve it.
We quoted them on QuickBooks. We showed them what that would look like and what using Receipt Bank would look like, because we were going to work for them remotely. And they loved it. They realised that they needed to be in the twenty-first century, away from this desktop stuff.
We were able to produce their management reports in a day by running different P&Ls consolidated by class so they can see how each event is performing, what the profit is and how much they’ve spent on them. They now have control. We’re working collaboratively with them and they can ask us questions. QuickBooks has created a sense of engagement and cohesion between us and the client.
Caroline: Some bookkeepers worry that the accounting software packages are now so easy to use, many small businesses are doing their own books but without proper reconciliation or knowing what their reporting obligations are. What are your thoughts on that?
Lielette: I’m all for empowering small businesses to do what they can do themselves because God knows it’s tough out there! Why pay fees to someone if you can do it yourself, if you’re a bit tech savvy and you can do the integration? But small businesses are made to think it’s so easy – you just plug and play. Nothing is just plug and play! Numbers have to come from somewhere. Businesses don’t get that. Why doesn’t their bank account balance? Why do they have all these sales still outstanding?
As far as the day-to-day grunt stuff, I think we need to accept the fact that our jobs are on the line. Where we as bookkeepers can add value is in training small business owners to master their own financials. That’s the only way they are going to be successful. They can’t afford to have a full-time bookkeeper at their beck and call, so they need to know how to run their software in order to pull out data that they need.
Having said that, some small business owners don’t want to get involved in the day-to-day bookkeeping, and they outsource that. You’ll always have a percentage of those clients who really see the value and don’t look at it as a cost. It comes down to the mindset of how people value things.