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How better bookkeeping improves client relations

3rd Jun 2024
Brought to you by
coconut logo
Coconut’s simple bookkeeping and tax app is specifically designed for sole traders, helping them...
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Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Bookkeeping is the most common touchpoint for accountants and their clients – as businesses generate expenses and invoices, their advisors are on hand to make sure those are recorded properly. The first stage of every accounting process, from advisory to compliance, bookkeeping is the backbone of every other service. For that reason, the bookkeeping you experience is one of the most important elements of your client relationships.

Better bookkeeping can significantly enhance client satisfaction, reduce stress during tax season, and provide more opportunities for meaningful advisory services – and saving you time and money on day-to-day manual processes. Here’s how the right tools, technology and modern bookkeeping practices can transform bookkeeping into your client-retention secret weapon.

Why bookkeeping falls short

All firms know that accurate and timely bookkeeping is crucial for maintaining a clear financial picture – it’s the first step in making sure clients can make informed decisions, stay compliant and avoid penalties. However, none of this changes the fact that many clients find bookkeeping pretty tedious, making it easy to fall behind, leading to last-minute rushes and errors.

The impact of  the challenges firms face in getting clients to maintain their books regularly is widespread:

  • Late or incomplete records get in the way of preparing financial statements and tax returns.
  • Manual processes drive up client hours, either increasing workload or client bills.
  • Rushed work increases the chance of errors on client returns

This issue becomes especially acute during the tax season, where the pressure to meet deadlines is immense and time is short. Many firms say ‘never again’, only to fall into the same trap next year. But there is a better way.

A roadmap to better bookkeeping

Cloud accounting opens the door to changing bookkeeping from a once-a-year scramble into a little-and-often task that adds genuine value for firms and their clients. The key is to make the process one that clients actively want to engage with, by making it easier and obviously valuable. And that’s where Coconut comes in.

  • Real-Time Expense Tracking: Coconut allows clients to capture receipts and record expenses instantly with their phone. No more scrambling to find lost receipts – everything is stored safely in one place.
  • Automatic Categorisation: Transactions are automatically categorised, helping clients see where their money is going at a glance, making budgeting simpler and clearer.
  • Real-time Tax: The app provides real-time tax estimates based on clients’ current transactions, helping them set aside the right amount for their tax bill and manage their cash on the go.
  • Seamless Invoicing: Clients can create and send professional invoices directly from the app. Coconut also tracks these invoices and displays reminders for overdue payments, helping them get paid faster without the hassle of follow-ups.
  • Flexible Bank Integration: Coconut connects with over 30 UK bank accounts, allowing clients to import and categorise transactions automatically, reducing need for manual entry, saving you time and effort.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Designed to be intuitive and straightforward, Coconut's interface is easy to navigate even for non tech-savvy clients.

Building bookkeeping into your client relationships

With a streamlined document capture, data input and analysis process in place, accountants can use bookkeeping as a new route to value in working with clients.

  • Improved Communication: With real-time data to hand, accountants can provide clients with regular updates on their financial status, building trust and reassuring clients that their finances are being managed on a regular basis.
  • Reducing Client Stress: Coconut’s smart automation means clients no longer need to worry about losing receipts or missing transactions. Everything is recorded and categorised instantly, making the process smoother and less stressful come tax season​​.
  • Providing Value-Added Services: With the time saved on manual bookkeeping and reliable data, accountants can focus on providing value-added services such as financial planning, tax advice, and business consulting. 

How to make the change

It’s essential to make clients part of your digital transition and not a roadblock.

  • Provide them with resources, tutorials, and ongoing support to ensure they are comfortable using the tools available to them. (Coconut’s easy onboarding processes gets them set up in minutes)
  • Schedule regular check-ins with clients to review their financial data and address any issues promptly – leaving the door open to offering strategic advice.
  • Link to systems they already use – Coconut not only automates bookkeeping tasks but also allows clients to link their bank accounts, making it easier to track transactions and manage finances.

Make client relationships work for you

The experience you provide your clients is what keeps them coming back – so start by focusing on the tasks they face every day. With tools like Coconut, accountants can provide more accurate, timely, and stress-free financial management for clients, while also saving money in their own practice.

Find out how much time you could save today with a free trial of Coconut or book a demo with a member of our team.