How to Get Bookkeeping ClientsJul 27, 2023
So, you want to get some bookkeeping clients? I’ve been working with all different types of accountants and bookkeepers for the past ten years of my twenty-year tenure as an accounting professional.
Some accountants seem to get more work than they know what to do with, while others struggle to get clients!
For the purposes of this article, let’s define a successful bookkeeper as someone who gets lots and lots of referrals. Clearly they know something about how to get bookkeeping clients.
As a matter of fact, almost every bookkeeper I talk to says they get most if not all of their business from referrals, a.k.a. word of mouth.
But they do not all do it the same way.
Some seem to do such an amazing job on their current clients, that those clients regularly serve up referrals.
Others do an amazing job of networking, but they don’t network in accounting groups, they network in groups with all kinds of business owners.
Then there are people like myself who choose to serve in high demand, short supply niches like eCommerce.
Let’s look at the ones who get consistent client referrals
Referrals are the most common method for how to get bookkeeping clients.
First, for this to work, you have to blow your clients away. Here’s a tip for how to be proactive at this.
Ask your clients the following question (in a Zoom or in person, not via email or other messaging app):
”Let’s fast forward and assume we’ve been working together consistently a year from now. What does success look like for you, in terms of what you hope to accomplish with me?”
Make sure you make very good notes of their answers. These are your goals for them, and you will want to lay out a plan for how to help them accomplish whatever they say success looks like.
Want to get them motivated? Make a note to schedule a call with them in a year to go over what they said their goals were, and how you’ve helped them to accomplish those goals.
Then you have to ask them the question again, as in, “okay, these were your goals a year ago, and we’ve accomplished them. Let’s raise the bar. Where do you want to be in another year?”
Now, let’s look at other ways to get referrals
Network with other accounting professionals
Referrals from other accounting professionals may be the best method for how to get bookkeeping clients.
Especially if you have nailed down a niche or specialty that you work in. As you get to know other professionals in the accounting community, they will come to know you as the “eCommerce” expert among them, or whatever niche you’ve chosen.
If you are just starting out and don’t have a niche, then the ideal referral for you would be the smaller clients who themselves may also be starting out. They need the help, you need the experience, and the more experienced accounting professionals are probably too expensive for those clients. Communicate that to your colleagues.
Make it easy for people to make referrals to you. First, ask them what is the easiest way. Next, if it’s easier for them, use a tool like Google Forms and give them a form that either they can fill out, or the prospect can fill out, so all they need to do is forward the link to anyone they want to refer. Make sure you can track who the referrals came from. The easiest way to do this is to create a form that’s unique to each referral source. It’s more work for you, but better than asking people to write in who referred them.
Out of sight is out of mind, and out of mind is out of money, honey.
- Mae West
Don’t assume they are thinking of you all the time. They probably aren’t, because they are likely up to their eyeballs. Make it a point to reach out to them regularly. You don’t want to do it so much that you’re annoying, but enough that they don’t forget you. Once a month is probably good, unless you are close with the person.
Pick a niche and start creating content
I know many of you are going to cringe at the thought of creating content, but if you want what I have, then you have to be willing to do what I’ve done.
In my experience, creating content is THE best method for how to get bookkeeping clients. It takes more work in the beginning, but over the long haul, you will have to work less and less to get new clients, because the internet will do the work for you.
Once you have a niche or two that you love to work on, you have acquired some knowledge about how to do the bookkeeping for that niche.
All you have to do now is share that knowledge with others. This can take on many forms:
- A blog
- A weekly email with valuable tips and information – not just BS and upcoming events, etc.
- A podcast
- An online community, which can be a very good way to share content and engage with others.
- And of course a YouTube channel, where you can upload video tutorials on how to do bookkeeping for your niche
The tendency is to be afraid to share these how to’s because, what do they need you for then? The reality is, most business owners will not want to do it themselves anyway, because their time is better spent doing what THEY do best. And if it’s your videos they’ve seen that helped them learn how to do it, you’re the one they will look to hire when they are ready.
Here’s what NOT to do
I’ve seen people who join a bunch of Facebook groups for accountants, and they will like and comment on many posts, but the comments don’t really add value. They are often complimentary which is nice, but it’s not how to get bookkeeping clients. If you want to use Facebook groups to get bookkeeping clients, the best way is to have your own (see above, “online community…”). If you do comment on others posts in other Facebook groups, add something of value. Start with something like, “here’s what works well for me…”
Never berate someone else’s answer. If anything, compliment them and then offer something “additional” or say, “here’s another way to do it that’s worked well for me.
Better still, if you have (or can write) a blog post and record a video that answers someone’s question, you can reply in Facebook, offer something of value in your reply, and then link to your blog post and say, “this blog post goes deeper on the subject if you want to learn more about it.” Don’t ever just link to your blog post – admins (like myself) hate it when people do that. It feels like you’re trying to hijack people from our Facebook group and swipe them over to your blog. Add value first, then link and we’re all good, because you added value to my community first.
Here’s your quick recap for how to get bookkeeping clients
There are many ways to get bookkeeping clients, and you’ll notice that none of these require any advertising or out of pocket expenses. If you need clients NOW, then start asking people straight up – “do you know of anyone who needs some bookkeeping help?” Notice I didn’t say to ask them if THEY needed help. Ask them if they know of anyone. If they need help, of course they’ll realize they’re included in that! If you only ask them if THEY need help, they may not think about if anyone they know does. Text, email, post on Facebook (not in someone else’s group), and ask everyone you talk to that question.
Someone is bound to have recently talked to someone else who said they are struggling with their bookkeeping. Start a Facebook group and invite people to come in and ask you bookkeeping questions.
P.S. Here’s a pro tip:
The one area where you should spend money and spare no expense is on your Number 1 revenue generating asset. Your computer. Make sure you have a really good computer (laptop so you can be mobile) and make sure you have a super fast internet connection. When you are working at home, you should be hard wired into your router for the best possible speed and experience.
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