Knowing the right questions to ask your bookkeeper is the first step in skilling yourself in financial matters that are important to your business.
Last week, we covered two of the four fundamental questions you should be asking your accountant. Here are questions three and four:
3. How can I grow my customer base?
Those small-business owners surveyed by First Class Accounts cited new business generation as the most challenging part of running their business. Small-business owners should be tapping into the insight bookkeepers have about their business and asking them about systems and procedures that can help them streamline their business to help grow their customer base.
If you are using cloud-based accounting software, you can integrate customer relationship management (CRM) and job management software packages that will give you an insight into your current customer base – what and how much they buy from you, how often and why you are contacting them (are you contacting them to provide customer service or chase up unpaid invoices?). This also gives you a solid base for planning marketing initiatives to grow your business.
4. How can I improve my financial literacy?
This is all about having an honest conversation with your bookkeeper. In order for them to tailor information to your individual level of financial knowledge and business needs, you must be honest about what you do and don’t know and what you need to know.
For some small-business owners, knowing who their top customers are is important, while for others, advice about things like reducing their overheads may be critical. Let your bookkeeper know what kind of information you need to help you understand your business more thoroughly.
The bottom line is – financial illiteracy will ultimately impact the performance of your business. You’re paying for the services of your bookkeeper, so use them to your full advantage. Negotiate the type of service relationship you want to have with them. While a traditional per hour contract may work for some small-business owners, others may benefit from a monthly package which allows them to know how much it will cost upfront, gives them access to their bookkeeper throughout the month and can include a monthly session to go through the financial reports.
Victoria Wilkinson, Owner & Manager, First Class Accounts bookkeeping franchise