Hello, lovely empire builder! I’m coming to you today with the 5 things that go into your meeting with a strategic bookkeeper. You see a bookkeeper can be more than just a person simply delivering you financial statements. When I work with clients, I love to include the going over specific needs but overall explain the income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows, budget, and cash flow management.
I’m an extreme introvert but I love to chat one on one.
I like to talk to my clients.
No, I love talking to my clients. Borderline annoying but it’s all love.
I like to make sure we’re on the same page from the beginning, and more importantly, I have all of the information to accurately do my work. I talked previously about why entrepreneurs should hire a bookkeeper. We can definitely be your accountability partner.
I’m not your average bookkeeper either. We talk more about just your financial statements. We really dig into financial coaching where we talk about better ways to manage cash and set goals for improvement.
When working with a strategic bookkeeper, you want to make sure their services are pretty all-inclusive.
Before my journey of becoming a bookkeeper I had an array of administrative positions.
I used to be a medical scribe running around ER doctors making sure their documentation was up to standard. I graduated with a degree in Healthcare Management - you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t going to be a CFO at a major hospital.
But life happened. Instead of immediately going back to school for accounting, I had a newborn. While I was home with my daughter, I became a foster mom to special needs adults. I then used blogging as a creative outlet.
It finally clicked that there was a need for financial support to women in online business. I saw some lovely ladies freaking out about finances and all I wanted to do was give them a virtual hug.
So I began my business and virtually hug my clients. We celebrate wins, have accountability for overspending, and ensure we’re following goals.
My brief stint in the medical field where I learned medical terminology like the back of my hand, makes me think of other things in life as if I was still working side by side with a doctor.
Taking a trip down memory lane, let’s turn your finances as if you’re a scribe in the ER.
- Physical exam income statement
- Running labs or Xrays - balance sheet
- Consulting other physicians/comparing other lab work and digging deeper - statement of cash flows
- Preparing a plan for referrals and discharge paperwork - budget and advice for cash flow management
- Sending weekly reports - you’ll now be with your internist following up with your primary doctor on making sure you maintain your health.
THE INCOME STATEMENT
Back to our example as a med scribe. Let me paint the picture.
I work with one doctor per shift and we assess the clients. Determine who we’ll see first. Of course, it will be the one who needs our attention first.
The income statement is just like the physical exam. We check the eyes, ears, nose, mouth. Palpate the stomach. Use the stethoscope for breath and bowel sounds. Ask specific questions regarding their overall health.
The doctor dictates to me some findings. She tells the patient the next steps - the plan of action from the results that were found.
As we exit the room, the doctor looks at me and lets me know we’re digging a little deeper. See, we both know a physical exam wouldn’t suffice. She then tells our nurse that we’ll order labs and a chest x-ray.
When working with a strategic bookkeeper, the path we go to understanding your finances is similar.
We go from the head - understanding where your revenues come from.
Go to the direct source of complaint - the direct costs in your business (subcontractors, cost of goods sold, etc)
Then understand your operating expenses - the rest of your body, talk about how you’re feeling psychologically, etc..
Finally down to the net profit - The findings, what the next steps should be for the patient.
Any good doctor knows that there’s more to meet the eye than a physical exam.
A good bookkeeper will do the same. We’ll go further into the next phase of financial statements.
THE BALANCE SHEET
Back in the ER, we will now run labs and get an X-ray for the patient. This is to dig a little deeper and ensure that the patient is balanced within or if they will need a procedure done.
As a bookkeeper, I help my clients understand if their finances are balanced. The balance sheet gives you your financial balance.
It tells you how much you own, owe, and what’s left over.
- Assets - what you owe
- Liabilities - what you own
- Equity - what’s left over
Your balance sheet is like your lab report that tells you what’s going on in your business. The balance sheet makes sure your finances are balanced.
A strategic bookkeeper will look at the balance sheet and help you understand how you can improve.
We can gauge if you’re doing well with getting payment from clients. This is by assessing how large your accounts receivable is. I also share better ways to improve your invoicing process.
It tells you if you’re not paying your bills on time - Accounts payable.
And it tells you how much you’re paying yourself in business with the movements in your equity. Are you paying yourself a little too much that you don’t have cash to pay your bills?
Back to our patient, the results are back.
The X-ray shows
The lab shows.
The doctor has some idea of what’s going on with the patient but she wants to move on to a CT scan.
The bookkeeper wants to move on to the statement of cash flows
THE STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS
Now you can still be profitable but have little cash. That’s a major problem with small businesses. Having little cash can stop entrepreneurs from doing the following:
- Paying themselves
- Growing their team
- Saving money for tax savings
When you look at the statement of cash flows you’re going to determine how much cash clients pay you, how much you pay to operate your business through software subscriptions, etc.
You see the cash movement. Is the cash that left the business more than what’s came in? What is the ending balance of cash for the entire business?!
Now the specialist has come to the ER and our doctor is talking to him about all of the findings. The results ultimately aren’t fatal for the patient but there is a strict regimen the doctor will prescribe.
Now the doctor could end it here with discharge paperwork or go a bit further.
The same as a bookkeeper. They can summarize all of the statements and be about their day.
For my clients, I give them the option of the depth they’d like to go in their business.
Just the Books is everything we’ve been through thus far.
THE BUDGET AND DETAILED CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT
But my favorite is The Bookkeeping Standard. It includes the budget, cash flow management, the diagnosis, and the plan to make your overall financial health better.
One thing I do like to put a focus on for my bookkeeping standing clients is making sure they’re paying themselves and putting over money for tax savings.
If you’ve experienced paying your taxes in bulk this year, your strategic bookkeeper will make sure that you’re putting some money over every month so you won’t miss it when it’s time to pay taxes.
Their accountant will assess if it too much or too little and we make necessary adjustments for the rest of the quarters.
Now the talk about paying yourself. The way my family is set up - we cannot afford for me to not to pay us from my business.
Having a strategic bookkeeper will allow you to place certain amounts of cash to certain places while creating a roadmap to success - AKA - your budget.
This budget and proper cash flow management will let you know how much you can afford to grow and pay your team (I talk about team building in my facebook group). I also share with clients a better way to price their services so they can have more flexibility with their cash flow.
I follow up with this budget like your primary doctor will. I give you weekly updates on your budget and how much cash you’re spending in your business. So if your own clients are taking longer to pay you and we accounted for cash to pay other bills, I will prompt how to reach out to ensure payment or explain better ways to invoice.
So as you see, hiring a strategic bookkeeper is like an accountability partner, business consultant, and counselor all in one.
If you’re having trouble understanding the financial health of your business and want to know the next move (or diagnosis and action plan), book your strategy session now!
If you want to understand how to be profitable, download this meeting agenda for assessing your business health on a monthly basis or what you’ll talk about with your spouse, business partner, team, or even your own bookkeeper.