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New client possibility - but book-keeping...?

New client possibility - but book-keeping...?

I have been asked to provide a book-keeping quote for a local hospitality industry client.  Although I offer book-keeping my rates are quite high as I prefer to outsource any book-keeping I get.  How do others in practice deal with the obvious question - why are you so much more expensive than my previous book-keeper?  I'm keen to have the meeting as I'd like to try and at least get the accounts & tax year end work. 


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30th Apr 2010 13:55

Seperate Bookkeeping Business

Amy - here are three options:

1) Offer free or a discounted price for year-end accounts when you do the books

2) Have a seperate bookkeeing business/brand set up with the appropriate resources and systems

3) Work with a strategic partner and don't get involved in bookkeeping

The seperate brand can be a good idea because this will:

Educate clients what is bookkeeping and what is accountingProtect your accounting resourcesAllow you to get under the radar of your competitionProtect your accounting brandAllow you to have different pricingHave a seperate business which is not dependant on you

Have a look at Crunchers Bookkeeping Franchise or one of the others on the market.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

Declaration - I am one of the founders of Crunchers.

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30th Apr 2010 14:04




I am ACCA qualified and have three years experience in practise. I have done vat, tax, bookeeping, accounts for all kind of small businesses. I know sage line 50 and QB. If you want to outsource you work to me. my rate is very reasonable and will be acceptable to you [email protected]. I can also provide you useful info about how outsourcing companies work. 

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30th Apr 2010 14:05

Pass it on!

I just tell them that I am an accountant and give them a choice of a couple of bookkeepers who I know will do a good job for them. These bookkeepers are greatful for the recommendation, won't steal my clients and will pass on my name to their clients who might be looking for an accountant. Everyone is happy!


I think you can over complicate business sometimes.

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By SteveOH
30th Apr 2010 14:19

I thought that Bob would beat me to it:)

I tend to agree with his 3 choices. But if it's a straight comparison between you and their previous bookkeeper, then the client will rarely be comparing like with like. Their previous bookkeeper would presumably have been an employee with additional costs to their basic salary - employer's nic, 3 or 4 weeks paid holiday, paid bank holidays, time off if sick etc. Plus all the employment legislation to deal with. You will be charging a straight fee - and that's it.

I know a little bit about Crunchers (I have no connection) and that may be a good road to go down.  If you used them for all bookkeeping outsourcing, then you could build a sort of brand within your own brand. Or you could try an online bookkeeping package and train your client to do some of their own bookkeeping. But make sure that your client/prospect understands that there is no comparison between their previous bookkeeper and the service that you are offering. Apples and oranges. They both might be fruit, but they are different.

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30th Apr 2010 15:16

I agree with Steve Holloway

It works for me and it obviously works for him too.


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By Anonymous
30th Apr 2010 16:21

Why turn away work

I used to share your view, but have changed over the past year or so.

Why not look at incorporating bookkeeping into your practice. If you get the bookkeeping right the accounts can be prepared so quickly and easily leaving you to concentrate on doing high value work.  Of course that wont work if you are a sole practitioner with no staff but otherwise I really wouldnt be so quick to dismiss it.

Think of all the time you waste trying to sort out messy bookkeeping having it under one roof has many advantages for you and your client.





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30th Apr 2010 17:02

As a sole practitioner with one part time assistant

"Think of all the time you waste trying to sort out messy bookkeeping having it under one roof has many advantages for you and your client" doesn't apply.

However, having a good relationship with a couple of really smart bookkeepers and introducing them to clients works wonderfully well for all concerned.


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30th Apr 2010 17:50


when did you realise that you really are Reggie

and how didnt you get where you are today without realising the sense in your commenst 

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By lenny
01st May 2010 22:28

To justify higher fees

Hi Amy,

To answer your question,

To justify your higher bookkeeping cost one comeback could be that as you are more efficient at this and as an accountant you are checking for errors as you go so in the end there is no corrective action needed, only accounts prep, or something along those lines.


Hope that helps




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02nd May 2010 11:03

Guarantees and packages

@Len - justifying a higher price because you are better is a strategy which can be backed up with guarantees like:

Year-end accounts will be completed faster and with less hassle – perhaps within 30 days of the year-end and with less than half a dozen questions for the client.All tax planning opportunities will be reviewed during the year including choosing the best VAT scheme, most advantageous way to claim for motorOnly fully allowable VAT will be claimed which will avoid hassle with a VAT inspection.Quarterly income/business tax estimates will be prepared to avoid unexpected tax bill

@Amy – I would encourage you to invest a little time developing a scalable and profitable strategy because the feedback I have been getting over the last few years is that more and more clients want a bookkeeping service. This is consistent with the personal outsourcing revolution.

Keep in mind that getting the bookkeeping sorted will have massive benefits for your accountancy/tax service. This could double or treble your effective recovery rates.

Probably the most effective way to deal with price comparisons like this is to steer clear of quoting hourly rates. Instead offer bespoke fixed price packages and make sure you bring out all the benefits and how they impact on the client.  

If you develop packages with the prospect off the back of a consultative sales meeting this will give you an opportunity to build value in what you do rather than letting the client think about the cost of using someone else.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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04th May 2010 10:10


I realised that I really am Reggie long before I was 46.


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05th May 2010 12:03

Bookkeeping Software

Introduce your client to bookkeeping software.  Using a web-based system like Fusion Accounts you will have real-time access to your clients data enabling you to support them remotely.  Within Fusion you can then export their financial reports to your required format, e.g. excel.

If you prefer to outsource the bookkeeping then grant the bookkeeper and the business real-time access to the data.


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