How to Grow Your Bookkeeping / Accounting Business



Will: I'm really excited about this particular topic and I think there's a few reasons why this topic really excites me. First let me start off by telling you that there are changes coming to our community. The only constant in life is change, so if we're going to continue to impact people's lives, we have to get better and we need to change the way we do things. So, I’m goint to talk about that, but I want to talk about today how to grow your bookkeeping and accounting business. But I think even before that why, why are we doing this, why am I doing this, right? That becomes really important. I think I have to bring you back for a second to when I was working on my undergraduate. When I was working on my undergraduate in accounting, theret was a professor, I totally remember him, Dr. Gotlieb. He was my accounting professor. I had an opportunity to intern at an accounting firm. He was someone who I would go to and talk to and I said I’ve got this oopportunity to intern, should I take it? He was like, don't take this opportunity. You need to actually work on your professional studies so that you can give back to the profession. So he felt that I was someone who could make a contribution to other accountants, to other CPAs, to other bookkeepers’ lives and he felt that what I should really do is focus on my studies. I remember those days and it's not until now that this is coming up for me that it is real. I think sometimes we don't understand our purpose in life until we look back. When he said that to me, now that I think about it, this is the pivot point where I'm at in my career.

The second thing that happened to me - that was one - but I didn't listen to him. I still took that internship and actually worked. I think it worked out really well for me because when I was actually in school I got an opportunity to intern at a CPA firm that was also a management consultant firm and I think the directors that were there were really poured into me and set the foundation of where I'm at today, so that was really great. But I remember Dr. Gottlieb’s words. The second thing, when I was working for a firm and the first time I went out to step out in the business, I got my first client. That first client, we came up with an agreement that he would actually pay my salary for the year and all I needed to work was one day a week. So the first time I stepped out in entrepreneurship, I had this client, client paid my salary, and I was working one day a week for him. So that was my start into entrepreneurship. The challenge happened in that I did not actually know how to really grow my business. I had this one client and it was great, but I didn’t know the next step to do this. I think for all you guys on the call, let me say this: You are in the right place if you’re a bookkeeper, you’re a CPA, or you’re an accountant. If you are another business owner that is outside, you’re probably in the wrong place today. I am not going to talk to you and I’m not probably going to talk to you for quite some time. I’m making a real shift here that I just really want to help accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs grow their business and this is what I’m transitioning to use this format for.

When I was working with this one client, I didn’t know how to grow the business. Someone just said, hey, make cold calls and I remember me calling someone, trying to ask for business and I remember them being like “blankety, blank, blank, blank. Don’t call back here again.” What happened to me? Totally abandoned entrepreneurship. That agreement that the client paid my salary for a year was coming to an end. That client is still a client to today, but the agreement was changing. Then I did something that most entrepreneurs do - I didn’t save enough money to pay the taxes that the client had paid me, so I was probably in a position where I was like, oh shucks, I need to go get a job because I can’t pay this tax liability and I don’t know how to get the next client. The problem was for me, I was an introvert. And because I was an introvert, I was afraid to talk to people. I think most accountants are introverts, we are very calculated, we are very precise, we are very concise with what we do, but when it comes to relationship building, we don’t know how to do that. The reason why I’m telling you this - this is the transition we need to make here and I want to help you guys build your bookkeeper or accounting business and that’s what we’re talking about today.

I’m going to share my slides with you guys. Sylvia are there any questions that you guys have around this topic? A lot of people who have shown up to these calls before were asking me questions related to QuickBooks. I’m happy to take those questions as well, but I’m really looking to service that person who wants to build a bookkeeping or accounting business and some type of consultant business.

Today, we are talking about how to grow your bookkeeping and accounting business. The first thing that we’re going to kick off is how to get your free subscription to QuickBooks, how to organize the work, and how to market yourself. First things first. If we’re going to actually build a business utilizing QuickBooks, we need to begin to understand their tools. I think it was someone who said they just passed their exam. Sylvia, who was that who just passed the exam?

Sylvia: Tammy.

Will: Right. So Tammy basically passed the ProAdvisor exam, which is great. Now she is not just a ProAdvisor, she is actually certified. The road to mastering QuickBooks is all about how are you getting the software and how do you use the software. The first think I want you guys to do, if you’re aspiring to be a bookkeeper or you’re aspiring to be an accountant and you’re like, hey, I want to actually begin to sell services, make sure that you sign up to be a ProAdvisor. That subscription is actually free. In order to get that, all you need to do to get your free subscription is just go to Google. You guys use Google, I’m not going to give you the web link. Just put in “become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor.” Or you can go to and on that page there will be a link there that you can actually just fill out the information they ask you for to become a ProAdvisor and then you will have a working file of QuickBooks that you can use, either for your own business or you can use it as a practice environment when you demonstrate QuickBooks to your clients. Use it any way that you want to, but it is a real live QuickBooks subscription that you can use. The portion that you are getting is actually Advanced that you get now with ProAdvisor, well that’s what my subscription is. So it is either going to be Plus or Advanced. Go and do that if you have not done that. Make sure that you have a subscription that you can use for yourself, totally free, or you can use that to kind of practice and demonstrate to your clients. The one thing that you want to move towards after getting that QuickBooks subscription is that you want to be able to work on your knowledge, how well you know QuickBooks, and level up your game to get better at QuickBooks so that you can consult with other people about QuickBooks and how to actually use the platform, do bookkeeping for them, whatever your service is going to be. That is the first thing that I wanted to talk about is how to get that free QuickBooks subscription.

In business I feel it is all about execution, looking to execute. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. We are going to get results. If we’re going to move with lightning speed, we want to take this action. Desktop is totally different that QuickBooks online and does not have a free subscription. QuickBooks makes you pay for it. If you don’t have QuickBooks Online, take a look at it, get it, you can play with it. If you don’t like it, guess what, it won’t cost you anything until QuickBooks changes. There are a lot of things that happen at Intuit and new things come down the pike. Maybe this subscription won’t be free in another few months, so while it is, I urge you guys to go and take advantage of it now.

Number 2, what we’re talking about here - how to organize the work. I want to talk about this for a minute. For you guys that are in business and you guys that have been servicing clients, this is a really big deal. When I say that it’s a big deal, most of you guys can’t actually grow your business because the work is not organized. Because the work is not organized, you’re having challenging probably getting information from your client to do the work, and then it takes so much time just to get the information out of them, which actually makes your service not good. I’m going to share with you a personal story. In my beginning years when I was doing this and we were doing bookkeeping for other clients, there were clients that fired me. Why did those clients fire me? Those clients fired me because they weren’t able to get me the information that I needed to do their work, right? Pretty interesting how you can get fired from that. We had clients that wouldn’t send us the stuff and then when they needed something that was like next day, the whole challenge of getting it to them the next day - you didn’t send me your stuff, so how can I do your work? I can’t turn it around if you’re not getting it to me. You’ve got to be able to organize the work. I want to show you two things here today, two tools that you can actually use to begin to organize the work.

We use a tool here that I love. Sylvia might hate it, right? Sylvia is a people person. Sylvia might hate this stuff, but I love it. Some of my team members like it, they think it’s okay, but I actually love it. If i’m going to organize the work, here’s the tool that we use. We use Asana. Guys, there is a free version to Asana. This is Asana free basic. It costs you $0. It allows us to actually organize the work. I’m going to show you a sample of this and how we use this.

In our Asana, we create templates. This is our bookkeeping template that we use in Asana. Basically what it does, this is the workflow of how we start the work, that we go all the way through. If you guys are not familiar, when I talk about organizing the work, I really mean organizing the work. What does CSC mean? CSC is our Client Service Coordinator. This is the person who is ultimately responsible for going out and getting the information that is needed to start the work. Then after that person gets the work - we would list down all of the accounts we have, checking accounts, credit cards. This person will go and gather that stuff before we start the work. That person’s role and responsibility is to get the work and make sure the project moves along. They then take that and they give it to the Preparer. The Preparer goes and does the work and then we have a review process that the Reviewer reviews the Preparer work. Then down here we’re tracking the time on our engagement. This is critically important for every engagement that we have. You need to be able to organize your work so that you have this. Later I’ll talk to you about how you can get access to all of our templates so that you can organize your work. Some of you guys may be on the call and be like, ah, you know what, Asana - another piece of technology for me to use, maybe that’s not your thing.

I want to show you one other tool that again is free that you can use. By all means, you can use any one that works for you. That one comes inside of QuickBooks. That QBOA account that I told you to actually get and sign up for, if you sign up for that, QuickBooks does have a tool inside its platform, only for ProAdvisors, to help them organize the work. So what you want to do is use that tool. QuickBooks, just the whole login thing, has been just unreal that the only time I can get into QuickBooks is if I send a verification code to my phone, so let me just put this code in and I’ll show you guys what I’m looking at here. Once you actually get that free account that I’m talking about, you have to do this with the free account, not with a regular QuickBooks. People who just sign up for QuickBooks do not have this access, okay? This is only for a free account. I am in my real QuickBooks file. In here, you have your clients, you have your team, you have your ProAdvisor, you have your work. This tab under Your Practice is your work. What does it do? It organizes all your work and saying when it's due. I’m going to actually turn this off because it is pulling from QuickBooks. But what I can basically do, I can set up templates of how the work moves along. This way, the same thing that I’m using in Asana to organize our work, you could actually do that in QuickBooks. This becomes the task management system for QuickBooks. You can create new projects. QuickBooks has templates in here already, so if you run biweekly payroll or you do a client onboarding or monthly bookkeeping, yearly taxes, you can actually start with one of these templates and pull that up, give it a client name. I’ll call this Webinar and say this is our project. I can select any of my clients to attach this to. I’ll just select our firm for now and the due date, assigned to who, and hit save. Even if this is going to be a project to repeat, I can put the repeat on. But what I’m basically doing in here is that I can actually organize the work.

The work becomes organized of where it’s at, what needs to be done on it. This way, it gives you all these steps. Meet with new client and sign contract, gather new client data and documents, create new QuickBooks Online subscription, set up company. So QuickBooks has done some heavy lifting to give you a template so that you can organize your work. If you guys have not organized the work, I can guarantee you guys are going to be like me and you’re going to get fired from clients. The best thing that you can do is organize the work. If you can organize the work, then you can outsource responsibilities. If you can’t outsource the work, you’re never going to be able to grow your business. It’s always going to be you. So if it’s you now and you plan for it to always be you, hey, do what you do, you have it all in your head, I totally get it, I totally understand, but if your team is going to evolve to be more than you one day, think about how do you organize the work. It is a better experience for the client and it’s going to be a better experience for you. So that’s all about organizing the work.

Let me bring up my slide deck, because this is my most favorite topic that I love to talk about, if anybody knows this about me. How to market yourself. I actually want to see you guys face to face when I talk to you about this. I’m going to tell you guys something and don’t get upset at me. Your posts that you’re posting on social media are not going to build your bookkeeping and accounting business and I’m going to tell you why. I’ve learned this and I know this and I know what it is. The business that you have is a trust-based business. What does that mean? Our business is not selling shoes. We’re not selling socks. We are looking at people’s money. I’m so glad Sylvia is on this call. Sylvia is the money person. Sylvia is actually having an event tomorrow. Sylvia, you didn’t even announce your event to these people. Go ahead and put the link in the chat about the event that we’re having. The Money Talks event tomorrow that you’re going to help people overcome their money challenges. The reason why I saw that social media doesn’t work guys, when you guys are talking to people, you’re going to see their money. You’re going to see their books. You’re going to see everything about them. When I look at people’s books, I know their life. I know what they do, I know their bad habits, I know their good habits. I know it all because you could actually understand a person if you know their money spending habits. When you get a bookkeeping client or an accounting client, it is a trust factor. Social media can warm people up, but you are not going to convert someone to do business with you immediately. The only way I’ve converted business on social media is if people saw me and I have a previous relationship or people saw me and they came to an event. Then after they begin to understand me and understand that I wasn’t this crazy guy that was losing my mind, I was a real person, there was a trust factor and eventually we do business. If you guys are believing the stories that people said, your business is different. I know this personally. You are in a trust-based business, so social media is not going to work for you. What does work?

What works is you building credibility. I’ve got to be able to build my credibility. I’ve got to be able to talk to people, and I know some of you guys are like, oh my goodness, I’ve got to talk to people to get clients? Yes. The only way you’re going to get a client is if you have a conversation. If you don’t have a conversation, you won’t get a client. Let me give you guys a simple how we evolved to this place and what has happened in our business, real talk, no fake talk. Let’s talk real talk. I had a person who made an introduction for me at a community school. All you guys on this call, you’ve got these community schools probably in your area. There’s a school, there’s a college that they send out these books that talk about how to learn something. You guys should be thinking about how do I actually teach a course, teaching business owners something about QuickBooks. You leverage that with someone who is in the market that is pretty big. That’s the thing - what would you teach about QuickBooks? There was a QuickBooks demo class. This was probably before COVID. These webinars happened because I was doing those in person in community schools, teaching people how to do QuickBooks and it just transitioned to online. But what did I figure out there? When I was actually teaching, there were people that were coming to class that were business owners or they were leaders of other companies. Some of our great clients that we have today came down that route. Why am I telling you this? You have to be able to show your expertise. You have to make people confident in what you’re doing.

What else works for these bookkeepers and accountants? Networking. But you’ve got to do it consistently and some of you guys are actually scared to network. You shouldn’t be afraid when you go into a group of people and then you can network with them. If there’s anybody who is on this call who is a bookkeeper that ever wants to join me on a Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m., I’m part of a BNI group. There are 50 people around the table on Zoom, sometimes 60. Today’s meeting was 60. It’s free, you can come as my guest. You can give a commercial and say, I do bookkeeping services, and people will refer you business. You’ve got to do things that you’re touching people and you’re nurturing business. What should you be doing to market yourself? You should be making yourself stand out from the crowd by saying that I can do this and I do this niche focus.

Here’s another problem that bookkeepers and accountants make. They go after everyone. That doesn’t work. I understand you do bookkeeping, I understand everyone needs bookkeeping. It is different when I saw I do bookkeeping for attorneys. I do bookkeeping for financial advisors. I do bookkeeping for non-profits. What happens there, that person on the other end says, ah, you are talking directly to me and it changes the dynamics. So if you are going to market yourself, the best advice I can give you: 1) if you get a client, you do everything in your power, even if the client is not paying you for services you deliver, to learn that client, get better at that client, make that client a raving fan and guess what happens? That client goes and tells other people about you and you don’t have to pay for marketing, you don’t have to pay for advertising. You need to work on you and get really clear on who your target is. I can speak for days on this topic of how to actually market yourself, but you’ll get to the point of when you’ll take corporate deals and people will want to bring you in to do venture capitalist deals over all of their clients. So the biggest advice I can give you, you need to build your credibility. People need to like you. I don’t know if I can stress that enough. Some people just don’t like you. Why? Because of your habits, your attitudes, you don’t keep commitments. I’m in a trust-based business. Every promise I break, someone says, oh, I don’t trust this person. I’m not going to give you a referral if I don’t trust you. So we need to work on those things, but there is a way we can do that and we can target that. If you do that and continue to do that and you get better and better, you will grow your business. I want to stress to you guys how to market yourself, work on yourself.

I’m going to wrap this up in 5 minutes and then we will open up for Q&A. Usually on Q&A, like I said, you guys are a bunch of CPAs and accountants on the call, happy to answer any questions that you have about anything with Quickbooks. I’m going to share with you guys this and just go over the changes that are coming to the community. We have been running this community probably for about 2 years?

Sylvia: Yeah, it’s going on 2 years.

Will: So I think I said on the beginning of the call, the only constant in life is the change to get better. We’ve been doing these events, we did these events every single month. Once a month we would definitely have a webinar. When we first started off, we were actually doing them weekly and we actually scaled back to be monthly. One of the things that I’ve actually noticed is there were multiple people coming to these events, not just bookkeepers, not just CPAs and accountants, there was a mix of business owners. That actually changes today. So the person that I really want to begin to help is someone who is building a bookkeeping or accounting business. So that is the big change that happens here. I am going to open up office hours for anyone who is actually interested in joining. So now moving forward, there will be every Tuesday from 12:30 to 1:30, there will be office hours. I do need to take a week off to catch my breath and come back. In the weeks where there are 4 weeks, there will be 3 meetings, and the weeks that there are 5 weeks, there will be 4 meetings. But the last week of Tuesday will be an off week so I can catch up and catch my breath here and make sure that we have content to deliver to you. What’s going to happen in these office hours? Primarily two things: My team is going to join me from a technical standpoint and they’re going to share technical things and technical changes to QuickBooks and the best use to do that. I am going to fill that advisory role. How to have conversations with clients, what you should be doing from a marketing standpoint, what you should be working on in your business and how to actually create those things. So those will start happening as soon as next week Tuesday at 12:30, I will be open. Will they be recorded? Yes, they need to be recorded. There is an online portal that you will be able to get anything that you actually missed. What am I building? I’m building a community. Why am I building a community? Because we don’t grow in isolation. Just like Tammy said today, Tammy was able to say that, hey, if you don’t do this by October 31st, it’s gone. It’s just not about me. We’ve been in this format of doing webinars. No more webinars. We are going to Zoom Meetings. Why do I want to go to meetings? Because I want to see everybody who is part of this community face to face so that we can join and we can talk about how do we really get any results in growing your business. That’s office hours that start next week.

I want to talk about the subscriptions and how this changes now. Now, going forward option 1: What you will have is the ability to come to office hours. You’ll have access to our online portal where we have all of our trainings actually recorded. These will be on demand for you, but the weekly office hours will be going over and reviewing whatever you went over to actually grow your business. That is $49 a month. So that’s about $13 a week for months where we meet 3 times. It’s really your investment. If you can’t actually afford $13 a week to build yourself, build your business and grow your business, this is definitely not the right thing for you, but I will be there. I will have team there to actually support you in what we’re talking about that week. This way, we can help you grow your business.

I’m going to show you some other options, but you cannot get these others options until you start here first. It gets much more powerful than this. I run mastermind groups. Right now I have a group that meets on Wednesdays and I have a group that meets on Fridays, and probably next week we will be starting another new group because the groups are filling up faster than we can actually build them out. What is a mastermind? So you get the first option with this option. You get access to the portal, you get all the on-demand stuff, but you’re coming into a group that is intimate, 6 people. No more than 6. So 6 participants for an hour and a half on a weekly basis and what are we doing? We are talking about growing your business. We are sharing with you what works, what doesn’t work, so that you can actually grow your business and develop. Once again, you have to qualify to be here. I do not want people in a mastermind group that they’re supposed to work on something for their business, like for instance, all you guys that are on the call that just said hey, I don’t have the Quickbooks QBOA and I said to get it, when next week came if you wanted to be in our first group, next week came and you said hey I want to be in this mastermind, I will tell you no if you didn’t take that first step. Why? This is about execution. I don’t really care about your money. I want you to actually get results and the only way people get results is if they take action. I understand I’m very high powered, I speak very fast, maybe you think I’m too fast. I totally understand, but I need to get you results. This is really where it’s at. Now if you come to the first one and you say, I want more, I want to be in a group that there’s only 6, then this would be the option 2 for you. You get everything in option 1, plus this.

Then the last option that some people need, some people said I want your weekly group, I want the mastermind, but I also want to meet with you one-on-one once a month, right? So I can advise you what works, what doesn’t work, and get right down to it. Those are the three options, but there is only one option today. I showed you what is to come next, but no one on this call can get into this. Now, if you are in one of my mastermind groups now, everything I said you will get. You do not need to pay again. I just want to make that clear. I want to show you quickly what we’ve built out so you have an idea of what I’m talking about. I think over the last I want to say 7 years, we have created or have gotten access to things to build a business for bookkeepers and accountants. You guys have challenges growing a business, maybe you have challenges of how to actually charge pricing and give your pricing up front. How do we get paid in advance from clients? We have a course on that. Some of you guys have sales issues and you need to work on your sales. These are workbooks that you can actually come into the program and utilize so that you can execute that. Some of you guys don’t have all the answers for your business, but if I can take all my resources that I have that we’ve built, how to build a championship team. If Sylvia could come into that meeting and show you what she is doing on Strength Finders, how she’s actually coaching the team members to be better. If I can bring Lisa on my team to come in and say, hey, the new things that she has found out from QuickBooks and how that’s working to build the business. If I can share with you different positions that you will need to hire for so you don’t have to make it up. We have already done it. It’s there, we have it. If you need to do strategic planning, what needs to happen? The roles of your firm, how to do those. How to build your confidence so you offer services. How to master the language. There’s so much in here that I’m willing to share with you guys if you guys are willing to make a commitment to me. So the commitment here is how do we go and grow our businesses together. That’s what I want to help you with and I will end off by showing you this and we will open up for Q&A.

Thanks so much for this. I’m going to go back here to Option 1, the only option you can actually come through right now, $49. We will meet on a weekly basis. We kick off next week. We will give you all the details on the onboarding call tomorrow how this works, what this looks like, but there is a meeting that happens every week except for the last week. You will get access to the online portal where all of these courses will be, everything will be recorded so if you can’t make it. What time is it? It is the same times as this, 12:30 to 1:30 on a Tuesday. Option 2 you will be able to upgrade to if you qualify to upgrade to it, and then Option 3 as well if we feel that we are the right fit. Just as a testimony from Laureen, Laureen says “I’ve always learned something new and very useful in Will’s trainings. I certainly don’t want to miss any event where he is so willing to share his knowledge.” Michelle Turner says, “Will, I’m grateful for you. Your guidance yesterday was extremely valuable, understanding how to lead those initial discussions will be a game changer. Thank you.” And then from Wendy, “Thanks so much for all your help. It has really taken the stress off the unknown and uncertainty of me growing my business. I sleep much better at night.”

That is it for today. What I want you to do now if this is something that is interesting for you, I’m going to drop the $49 link into the chat and then sign up there. For those who actually sign up, you will get a link being invited to the group that will actually kick off next week.