Starting a new bookkeeping or accounting relationship with a client can be daunting for entrepreneurs. It’s important to have a checklist of items to go over when onboarding a new client in order to make the process as smooth as possible. This article provides an overview of the process and the specifics of items to be included on a new client intake form for bookkeeping and accounting businesses.
What Is the Process for New Client Onboarding for Bookkeeping and Accounting Businesses?
When onboarding a new client, bookkeepers, and accountants should take the following steps:
- Determine the scope of work. This includes understanding the client’s business, their bookkeeping and accounting needs, and what type of records they keep.
- Get all the necessary information from the client. This includes contact information, tax ID numbers, bank account information, and any other relevant documents.
- Set up the client’s account in your bookkeeping or accounting software. This step will vary depending on which software you use.
- Train the client on how to use the software. This ensures they can submit their records to you. This also indicates that they know how to properly use the software and can submit their records on time.
- Review the records and invoices submitted by the client. This allows you to catch any errors or discrepancies.
- Prepare and file the appropriate tax returns. This step will vary depending on the service you are offering to your client, the type of business the client has, and the legal entity of the business.
- Stay in communication with the client. This helps build a good rapport and keeps them updated on your progress.
What Should Be Included in a New Client Intake Form for Bookkeeping and Accounting Businesses?
When onboarding new clients, bookkeepers and accountants should have a new client intake form that includes the following information:
- Contact information for the primary point person at the client company. This should include name, title, email address, and phone number.
- Tax identification numbers for the client company. This should include the federal tax ID number (EIN) and any state or local tax ID numbers.
- Bank account information for the client company. This should include the name of the bank, ABA routing numbers, account type (checking or savings), and checking account number.
- A list of any relevant documents that the client needs to provide. This could include legal entity designation of the corporation, financial statements, tax returns, bank statements, or other records.
- A signed copy of the engagement letter. This outlines the scope of work and the terms of the agreement between the bookkeeper/accountant and the client.
What Are Some Questions that Entrepreneurs Should Ask When Starting a Bookkeeping or Accounting Business Relationship with a New Client?
When starting a bookkeeping or accounting business relationship with a new client, entrepreneurs should ask the following questions:
- What is the nature of your business? This will help the bookkeeper/accountant understand the client’s business and their bookkeeping and/or accounting needs.
- Do you have any existing financial records? This will help the bookkeeper/accountant determine what type of work needs to be done and how much time it will take.
- Do you use any accounting software? If so, which one? This will help the bookkeeper/accountant determine whether they need to train the client on how to use new software or if they can adopt the software already in use by the client.
- How often do you need financial reports? This will help the bookkeeper/accountant determine how much work will be required on an ongoing basis.
- Do you have any special requirements? This could include items such as multiple tax returns, overseas wire transfers, international partners, or other specific issues.
When onboarding new clients, bookkeepers and accountants should ask a number of questions related to the business of the new client. Basic information such as company contact information and tax identification is important to collect, as well as any special tax records or forms required for the client. Your new client Intake and checklists set the stage for the client relationship you’ll have, so you’ll want to have all your questions answered and all the primary information needed from your new client so that you can get to work!