This subject is pretty interesting. So…what IS an ideal client?
If you are an avid networker, then you will know exactly what industry and who your ideal client is. If you do not do any networking for your bookkeeping business then you will probably have several variations on your ideal client. Most of which will probably work, however, the specifics of your ideal client need to be more defined and that way you will know what industry and what type of personality you are most comfortable working with. Once you get the hang of how this all works, then, I would suggest you venture out of your comfort zone and pick another industry and go from there.
We currently have 20 different industries that we do books for. Our new addition, another senior bookkeeper, mentioned the other day how great it was working here because we are so diverse and even though bookkeeping is essentially the same across platforms…the diversity enables challenges and makes you think.
It did take us quite sometime to develop our most ideal client, but not our only ideal client.
For us it is STRATA bookkeeping whether it be commercial or residential. STRATA books are our ideal client because, there is usually no assets to amortize or depreciate, there are no taxes to be filed at year end, although, you still need to file a return for the government, you balance out to zero at year end (usually after the AGM the “retained earnings” are dispersed either to the owners or the contingency fund). You must balance to the budget!!! We like this part as mistakes can be tracked quite quickly, at least WE found that to be true. You must do this on a monthly basis…you cannot lag behind.
Most STRATA owners do not know that they may have an independent professional bookkeeper do their books for them and they can get financial statements on a monthly basis if they wish, especially if there is a roofing project ongoing, or a paving project, or a painting project, it is in the STRATA Act for BC at least. In our experience, we have noticed that Property Management companies are more focused on the upkeep of the property instead of proper bookkeeping.
The second most ideal client is a business who needs forensic bookkeeping, usually for CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). We do like challenges and this is one of the most challenging tasks a bookkeeper will ever undertake. You are usually having to go through past years of messy, very messy, bookkeeping and accounting (yeah, accountants are very bad bookkeepers, this is a proven fact). It is amazing what you uncover!! The business owner is so grateful that they do not have to declare bankruptcy because that is where they were headed before they came to us. The only downside to this type of client is that you are usually under time constraints and you pretty much have to direct the time factor in these cases. Once you can determine that, then you are on your way to sniffing out the truth about what actually happened in this business…LOL…sounds like bookkeeping CSI.
The third ideal client would be restaurants. This is a rather interesting client. Like retail sellers, there is NO accounts receivable outstanding!! No collections! All income happens at Point of Sale which is usually immediate. Either by cash/debit or credit card. How kewl is that? Restaurants also have all kinds of interesting expenses going on, liquor purchases, food purchases, beverage purchases, stuff for the back of the house to run, stuff for the front of the house, etc . Then there is the question of the “tips” that the staff collect from the customers. How many know that “tips” are NOT taxable at source (no sales tax), however, they should be added to the income reported on the T4 slip for the employee who was paid the tip. Some restaurants record their food in inventory so they can track what is selling the most and what is not. We have found that smaller restaurants/bistros do not track inventory, although in my opinion, they should, especially if they are running a bar.
Those are three of our most ideal clients, define what your ideal client is and go out and get them, again, one industry at a time!! Happy hunting! That which grows slowly, endures!