082: Don't Piss Off the Bookkeeper

May 10, 2024

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082: Don't Piss Off the Bookkeeper

May 10, 2024

As a Fractional CFO, you're going to need a handful of things to have successful outcomes and a significant impact on your clients.

Chief among those are accurate and timely books. 

If you think about it, the bookkeeper, in many ways, controls your destiny and success as a Fractional CFO. 

➡️ If the books aren't finished on time, you can't get your CFO report out on time.
➡️ If the books are a hot mess, your CFO report will be inaccurate.
➡️ If the books keep changing after the month's close, you must keep updating your CFO report.

That's why it's imperative NOT to piss off the bookkeeper! 

In all seriousness, it's essential that the Fractional CFO and the client's bookkeeper have a robust and healthy relationship. 

I like to set the tone for that relationship via a Zoom call immediately after signing a new client. That call starts the relationship off on the right foot and helps ensure we align with the client's best interests. 

In today's edition, I will share three discussion points that I go over on that call to ensure everyone is set up for success. At the end, I will give you a very pointed reminder that I hope sticks with you through your career as a Fractional CFO.

Let's dive in.

Discussion Point 1: Scope of Work

"Great. My client just hired a Fractional CFO. It won't be long until they take over the bookkeeping, and I lose the client." 

-Your client's bookkeeper, probably. 

There are a lot of Fractional CFO firms that offer bookkeeping services. (My firm is not one of those, and I generally think it's a bad idea for Fractional CFOs to offer bookkeeping anyway.)

So it's easy (and fair) for the client's bookkeeper to be concerned that you're going to come in and steal the client away from them. 

That's why I like to cover what my firm does and what our scope of work is with the client. I let the bookkeeper know right out of the gate that we don't touch bookkeeping. 

Giving them the peace of mind that you're not trying to steal their client goes a long way in keeping things positive.

Discussion Point 2: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

After going over the scope of work, I like to discuss how the two of us can work together to make each other more successful and how we can make the client more successful. 

I ask the bookkeeper what we can do to make him/her successful. I ask about their frustrations with the client, the current processes, or anything else that might make their life easier.

I then let them know what we need to be successful. I talk about close-out processes and dates, significant journal entries, and other things we need to know to do our job well. 

Showing the bookkeeper that we're here to help significantly boosts our stock with them.

Discussion Point 3: How to Communicate

This sounds like common sense, but I have found it very helpful to discuss how the bookkeeper would like us to communicate back and forth. 

We'll often have questions about how and why they did certain things. The bookkeeper often has questions about the client or what we're trying to accomplish. But people get frustrated if you're not on the same page on the best way to communicate. 

What works best for you and the bookkeeper? 

It could be Slack, Teams, emails, or a quick monthly check-in call. 

Have that conversation and lay out expectations.

Don't Forget: You Aren't God's Gift

I hear from a LOT of bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs that too many Fractional CFOs act like they are God's gift to the accounting and finance industry. 

We are not. 

We're not above anyone else. 
We're not better than anyone else.
We're not more important than anyone else. 

Approach bookkeepers, accountants, CPAs, and everyone else with the same humility and respect you expect. 

They deserve that just as much as you and I do. 

Your Coach,

Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Join us at The CFO Accelerator Live in Dallas, TX from May 15-17. 2024 and learn how to get more clients, increase your pricing, and close more sales! Get your ticket here.
  2. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of over 200 Fractional CFOs.
  3. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out The CFO Report.

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