How to Find a Kickass Bookkeeper

Where to look & Pricing

Finding a bookkeeper can be tough if you don't know where to look, but I'm going to give you some tips and tricks to find the perfect bookkeeper for you.

The first thing to keep in mind is that bookkeepers are much like any other service-based businesses in regards to pricing. 

$ Cheap labor

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A cheap bookkeeper does the minimum required and will likely make mistakes often. We've had clients come to us from cheap bookkeepers and I can't wrap my head around how they managed to mess up someone's books so badly!

If you're looking for cheap labor, your best bet is to look on freelance sites like UpWork, Freelancer, or Peopleperhour. You can easily post a job description with your desired price range and watch as the applicants roll in.

$$ Mid-Priced

A mid-priced bookkeeper does a good job of the books. Some of these bookkeepers get your work delivered on time, others will always stay months behind even if you ask to stay up to date. You may or may not be able to get ahold of this bookkeeper easily, but either way they will answer your questions about bookkeeping, but will NOT offer advice on your finances because they are just worried with the data entry.

If you're just looking for the basics done right, you should find the mid-bookkeeper is probably what you need. You can find these bookkeepers in business themed Facebook groups answering questions about bookkeeping.

$$$ Kickass Bookkeeper

Now the kickass bookkeeper is entirely different. They will be on top of your books, keep lines of communication open, and always be looking for patterns in your numbers or ways they can advise you to improve your profitability!

Kickass bookkeepers can be a little harder to find...with good reason - there are very few of them (like an endangered species). Luck for you, you've stumbled onto a group of them by accident at The Smart Keep!

But if we aren't your cup of tea, you can ask business friends for referrals or look through your accounting software's directory for a reputable company who has what you're looking for.

Niche VS Generalized

In most businesses niching is simply a preference or a marketing tactic. In bookkeeping, this can mean the difference in a crappy or kickass bookkeeper.

The bookkeeper willing to take anyone and everyone will never learn any business well. On the other hand, the bookkeeper that works exclusively with your type of business will be much more knowledgeable about your needs and the places you spend your money.

For example, we only work with online entrepreneurs so we know that you likely have a home office, hire contractors rather than employees, have payment processing fees each time you get paid from clients or customers, and may need help learning to invoice your clients. We'll recognize ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ClickFunnels, SquareSpace, and Stripe where a general bookkeeper will be like...

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What will they do for you?

In most cases bookkeepers see their job as only compiling data, categorizing it, and creating financials.

While that's definitely an important part of the job, but just handing over financials occasionally isn't very helpful if you don't how to read the reports.

A kickass bookkeeper will make sure you are trained on how to not only read your financial reports, but also use that information to make important business decisions. They'll be available when you have questions and be constantly learning about your industry and ways to help make you more successful.

The kickass bookkeeper is less of a commodity and more of a secret weapon!

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MIA

I can't figure out why, but the number one complaint we hear about bookkeepers is that they are terrible communicators, leaving clients with unanswered questions for weeks or months!

This can be frustrating for you when you want to see what's going on financially and finally get your reports two months late!

It's important going in, to establish the expectations of communication on both sides so everyone stays happy. In terms of bookkeeping, which is not life threatening, having a contact time of up to 2-3 business days is ok.

It's important though that you also not fall off the face of the earth! If you aren't communicating with your bookkeeper they can't do their job!

Looking for a kickass bookkeeper?

If the looking and sifting seems like too big a task, look no further! We are a group of kickass bookkeepers who care about our clients' success.

We take bookkeeping to the next level by pulling the important information from your financial reports into an easy to read report that will help you see what's really going on in your business called your Financial Story.

We prefer to use Xero software, but also take clients using Quickbooks Online and Wave Accounting.

And last, because we care so much about our clients 💛, we love to talk to them! We include monthly calls and unlimited communication with the team on Trello.

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What Bookkeeping Tasks Need to be Done + When

Weekly

Check Bank Balances

It's a good idea to always be aware of your bank balances. You'll know if you are getting low or sitting ok. Looking weekly also helps you see trends in your monthly finances. When do you have the most money in the bank? When do you get paid by most clients? When do most of your bills go out?

A bookkeeping checklist for female entrepreneurs with an online business. Perfect for coaches, designers, marketers, and virtual assistants.

Mark Client Payments on Invoices

If client payments are marked automatically by your bookkeeping software, be sure to mark them weekly.

An example of how this can be a problem if you don't mark payments. Let's say you send out two invoices in two weeks. The client pays the first, but you don't mark it paid. When they get the second invoice it will show they owe the 1st and 2nd invoices. This could cause the client to get upset that their previous payment wasn't recorded.

Pay Any Bills Due & Mark as Paid

Always stay up to date on bills to make sure you aren't charged late fees. Again, mark these as paid so you don't accidently pay a bill twice.

Save & Organize Receipts

Your bank statement won't cut it for the IRS if you are audited. Do yourself a favor and save every receipt for your business.

>>>Not sure where to start? Check out our post Why & How to File Business Receipts

Send Invoices

Amazingly many business owners fail to send invoices! They do the work, deliver, and then move on without invoicing the client. Meanwhile the client keeps wondering when the invoice is coming!

If you don't send an invoice, you can't get paid!

Categorize Transactions in Bookkeeping Software

I know, bookkeeping blah! But it's so important to stay up to date on your bookkeeping. Imagine you spent $43.47 at a Office Depot. When it comes through your bank statement/feed it says $43.47 - Thank you for payment!

What in the world was that charge?! Well hopefully you kept the receipt and OH, that's what it was! But what if you threw it away? And now instead of trying to remember what you spent on a week ago, let's say you got behind 6 months! Do you really think you'll remember what that $43.47 was spent on? Probably not.

>>>Wondering what I mean by categorizing transactions? Check out What is Bookkeeping?

Move Money to Savings

You should be moving money to a savings account for taxes at the very least for money you received that week. You may wish to do this every other week, but do not wait until the end of the month! There won't be any money left to move!

It's also a good idea to put money aside for profit and any other large expenses you have coming up over the next year.

Monthly

A bookkeeping checklist for female entrepreneurs with an online business. Perfect for coaches, designers, marketers, and virtual assistants.

Follow-up on Unpaid Invoices

Hey, sometimes clients forget to pay an invoice. Don't get your panties in bunch and freak out!

The best thing to do is calmly send an email saying, "Hey your invoice of $xx was due on this date. Just sending a reminder :)"

Pay Contractors

A lot of contractors get paid on a monthly basis. And just like you freak out when you don't get paid, they freak out when you don't pay them. So set a schedule and keep to it!

Pay Yourself

That's right! You are your BEST employee! You worry and care about the business, lose sleep, see the vision, and frankly work your ass off for the business. So if you aren't the best paid person on your team...well, that's a problem!

Reconcile Bank Balances

Big scary word alert! Straight up though, this just means make sure the balance of your accounts in your bookkeeping software matches your bank, credit cards, and loan statements. No big ;)

Pull Income Statements, Balance Sheets, + Any Other Reports You Like to Look At

I see you! On that odd month you actually do get your books up to date, you then move on as quickly as you can. Financial reports? HAHAHA just no!

But wait! These reports are full of valuable information. Even if you aren't 100% sure what you're looking at, still take a minute to look. Over time it will start to make more sense!

A bookkeeping checklist for female entrepreneurs with an online business. Perfect for coaches, designers, marketers, and virtual assistants.

Quarterly

Make Estimated Income Tax Payments

These are NOT due on perfect 3 month quarters. Instead, mark your calendar for the due dates:

  • April 15 (for January - March)
  • June 15 (for April - May)
  • September 15 (for June - August)
  • January 15 (for September - December)

A lot of people simply pay 100% or 110% of what they paid the previous year. Others pay 30-35% of their net income. And others will send their reports to their accountant to get a more accurate estimate. No way is wrong and this is more of an art than science!

Review Prior Quarter's Goals to Actuals

Three months / 12 weeks / 90 days is a great amount of time to set goals for. It's not too long, but not too short to make a difference.

But a goal is useless if you don't focus on it and then see how you actually did. If you succeeded, just missed it, or fell way short.

Set Next Quarter Goals

Now that you know how you did the previous quarter, you can re-aim this quarter to hit your new goals.

Set an income goal and then figure out how you're going to make it happen. Break it down piece by piece into bite-size tasks.

Follow-Up on Unpaid Invoices, Give Up, or Send to Collections

Once you've followed up nicely, at some point you have to drop the friendly demeanor and let them know you mean business. Some people add interest to unpaid invoices, others feel like it's not worth the effort and count it as a loss (if they are on accrual basis), and others will send the invoice to collections to try to collect at least a portion of the original total.

A bookkeeping checklist for female entrepreneurs with an online business. Perfect for coaches, designers, marketers, and virtual assistants.

Profit Party

If you've been putting money aside for profit each week, each quarter it's time to take a withdrawal from that account. DON'T take all of the profit!! Just a portion of it so it can keep accumulating.

Then spend this money on some seriously awesome thing you've been salivating over. Don't put it back into your business. You need to spend it on something that will uplevel your success mindset!

>>>I first learned about this idea from reading Profit First.

Annual

Pull Reports Requested from Accountant

These will usually include your Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Statement of Cash Flows. They may also ask for your General Ledger, Aged Receivables, Aged Payables, and a list of contractors and how much they were paid.

Every accountant is SO VERY DIFFERENT! You need to ask yours what they need from you.

Review Annual Reports Against Goals

Again, like you did with the quarterly goals, you need to do the same thing for annual goals. See if you hit your mark!

Set New Year Goals

Deciding what you will be shooting for the next year is a big step. You need to push yourself without overwhelming yourself.

But I will say by doing this, I was able to double my revenue in a year! So I definitely recommend it!

Reassess Your Salary, Profit, Tax Savings, and Expenses

Did you overspend in the previous year? Figure out how to cut expenses to raise your profit. Did you underpay in taxes? Raise the percentage you pay this year. Did you barely pay yourself anything? Figure out how to raise your paycheck!

Planning these out is how you reach financial health. If left to sort itself out, your finances will not fall in place like you hope!


Are Client Gifts Deductible? + Gift Guide!

We work so hard to get new clients. Wooing those who follow us. Speaking to their needs. Putting time into saying the right things. Sales pages just right. Social media on point.

But what about when they jump in?

Do you have a plan in place to keep them happy and feeling appreciated?

If not, I've got just the thing!

GIFTS

Oh yes, gifts. Don't you just love getting something out of the blue in the mail?

A small package addressed to you. The anticipation and curiosity.

Are gifts for clients tax deductible? Find out here and get the female entrepreneur gift guide!

Imagine what this does for a client! It creates an immediate sense of loyalty and pleasure that you were thinking of them.

But are these costs deductible?

Up to $25, yes!

And I know what you're thinking, "Can I possibly get a great gift for so little? Won't it look like I'm being cheap?"

Well that's something you have to decide for your business and brand.

If you have a luxury brand and you send a $5 gift, that may seem cheap. On the other hand, if you work closely with your clients and have a close relationship, a personally picked $10-15 gift might be perfect.

If you are that luxury brand and decide that your clients need a $100 purse, you just need to be prepared to eat part some extra costs. $75 of that purchase won't be deductible, so you'll be responsible for that extra $75 of taxable income.

Need help finding the perfect gift under $25?

I got you girl ;)

 

💼 Office Nerd 💼

 
 

🔮 Witchy 🔮


 Cuss Like a Sailor


🛁 Self Care 🛁


🌎 Earthy / Traveler 🌎


👶 Moms 👶



Are gifts for clients tax deductible? Find out here and get the female entrepreneur gift guide!

Have a product under $25

that could be given as a client gift?

Pop it in the comments section so others can find you!


How I’m Using a Bra Purchase to Uplevel my Money Mindset

How I'm using a bra purchase to uplevel my money mindset. How coaches and online entrepreneurs can treat themselves to receive more money.

So…I have big boobs.

Like BIG BIG BOOBS.

The kind you can’t just go into a store and buy a bra for.

Nope, my bras cost at least $60, but can run all the way up to $120 if I want to buy the pretty ones 😟

Even a sports bra that will support these tatas will run me $66.

And just recently I realized how bad I’ve been at feeling luxurious in this department. I frequently put off buying new bras and say to myself, “Oh they're just too expensive to have a drawer full. I’ll buy some later when I make more.”

You know what? Every time my income increases do you think I go buy a bra?

Nope! I still say, “Oh they’re just too expensive to have a drawer full. I’ll buy some later when I make more.”

But today marks the day!

I’m buying that $66 sports bra that’s going to hold my girls in place so I can work towards strongman status without getting hit in the face.

How I'm using a bra purchase to uplevel my money mindset. How coaches and online entrepreneurs can treat themselves to receive more money.

I’m not putting this shit off anymore. It HURTS my money mindset every time I do because I’m reiterating to my subconscious that I don’t have enough money and I never will. And then my subconscious will use that information to sabotage me right when I start to move into a new phase of growth.

So who’s with me? Is there something you’ve been putting off buying because “it’s too expensive,” but you actually do have the money for?

Let’s raise our money mindset and get the goods!

Callie

p.s. I’ve been doing this with a massage too. Scheduling that for next week too 😏


Use Your Eyes to Break Through Tough Money Mindsets in One Week

I feel like no one wants to admit they go to therapy. Or maybe that’s changing lately?

We all want to pretend we’re perfect, so that’s exactly what we show the world. But the truth is, we’ve all got baggage; in particular money baggage.

Many ladies in business are having their eyes opened to the fact that their money mindset stinks. Everyone’s talking about ‘working on it’ and you might be wondering if that just means writing 100 times on a chalk board:

Procrastination Repels Money

The pressure was on. My 10 page lab paper was due the next day and there I was with only an outline, not even one page finished.

But I thrived under that pressure…with a looming due date.

I was unstoppable.

I sat on my tiny dorm bed with my laptop on my lap and I powered through that paper. I think it actually only took me an hour or two - which is funny considering the level of stress I’d allowed this paper to create for me. 

What is Bookkeeping?

I hear people say they're afraid of their bookkeeping and finances and that makes me sad.

With the right knowledge, understanding your books and finances can make a huge difference in how you do business and help you make more informed money decisions.

But if I'm being honest, there was a time, just a few years ago, that I didn't have a clue what bookkeeping was either.

I didn't care what its advantages were. Hell, I wouldn't have cared even if someone told me it would make me more money.

All I cared about was the fact that it was confusing and everywhere I turned for answers I found boring ass answers with explanations that didn't make much sense.

I don't want you to suffer that same fate, so here goes...my simplest explanation of what bookkeeping is.

How to know when you're ready for a bookkeeper

Bookkeeping has a rap for being one of those nightmare tasks on an entrepreneur's to do list.

In fact, I just did a poll and found that the vast majority of those who answered were actually just ignoring the whole issue. Pretending it isn't a necessary part of business.

Unfortunately bookkeeping is much like dirty laundry. The longer we ignore it the more it piles up. #NoCleanUndies=LaundryTime

But in all seriousness, maybe you've been putting this off, or maybe you've been half-assing it, or maybe you've been giving it your all and you're just getting tired of it.

You're not alone. All of these are totally normal.

But it's also a sign you're ready to get a bookkeeper!

Wave Accounting Review: Free Bookkeeping Software for your online business

When brand new online entrepreneurs come my way asking which software is best for them, I used to point them in the direction of Xero because I thought having a system that would grow infinitely with them was the best option.

But I've since changed my stance.

Now I recommend Wave for service entrepreneurs just starting out.

Wave has really come a long way over the past year. They've worked out some bugs and speed issues that used to exist.

Bookkeeper vs. Accountant: What's the difference?

Do you ever have those brain dead moments where you think everyone knows you and what you do and then someone asks, "So what does a/an [insert your profession here] do anyway?"

BAM! You come back to reality and realize you aren't the center of the universe and in fact most people are confused by what you do to make money...am I right coaches/marketers/social media managers/brand designers/basically every online business ever?

Well this happened to me recently. Except for me it's a little different. People know bookkeepers do the books, but they're often confused about where the line between books and taxes is drawn.

"So what does a bookkeeper do exactly? Or I mean, what's the difference between a bookkeeper and accountant?"

I'm going to break it down for you here so you never have to wonder again ;)

The simple answer is bookkeepers do your bookkeeping, accountants do your taxes.

And while that seems like an easy answer...there's a lot of blur in between those lines!

Why Profit is a Better Marker of Success than Revenue

Today we are going to be talking about why profit is queen and revenue is irrelevant. 

(Okay so I lied.)

Revenue is relevant but only in terms of how much profit it can produce. For instance, you cannot have $2,000 in profit, if you aren’t making more than $2,000 in revenue and that is the only reason why revenue would matter.

I see a lot of coaches on social media, especially on Facebook, who are always talking about hitting a $5,000 month and how you can too (or a $10,00 or a $15,000, whatever it is)! They’re so excited and they get so pumped up about hitting that big milestone or revenue but they never even talk about the expenses or the profitability of their business-

Profitability

Profitability is huge! It’s just never even mentioned! I think that by just going off of revenue and never seeing what their profit is, they're missing part of the story. There’s no way to possibly know if your business is healthy or if it’s something you even want to emulate without knowing if it’s actually profitable.

You don't know if they actually get to have the financial lifestyle they want to have, if they’re saving for taxes, paying for taxes, what tax bill they have at the end of the year (overpaying, not paying enough) 

It's too many things you don't know just by looking at their revenue.

How to make steady income with repeat clients who love your business

Do you ever find yourself in the feast or famine game of entrepreneurship?

I'm sure it doesn't feel like a game, but I hear this problem all the time! Entrepreneurs, especially freelancers still selling time for money, not knowing if they will make enough to cover expenses this month.

There are a couple different ways of coping with this, but the one we will be talking about today is having a continuous stream of income through return clients.

You likely started your business because you wanted freedom - freedom from the 9 to 5, freedom from a small paycheck, freedom to do a job you love, and freedom to pick which jobs you take and which ones you deny. The sad truth is, many entrepreneurs jump in without a plan or simply a plan to get all the clients they can and charge what they're worth!

There are some problems with this.

A client base takes time to build. You can't just jump in and expect to have a full-time continuous stream of clients all at once. Even within 6 months is difficult, especially if what you do is a one & done offering.

Business Photoshoot: Deductions

There is nothing quite like a grainy, unprofessional photo of a business owner on their website to turn you off in a big way! For this reason, one of my first investments in my business was a photoshoot. 

I think this is an incredibly smart investment for your business! Good photos of you displayed proudly on your website instills trust in your potential clients that you are legit and not some faceless scammer behind a pretty website.

With that said, I don't think you need to go out and book a $2,000 shoot if you only have $200 in the bank. Yes, the photos will be amazing, but you have to trust the process and not jump for big ticket items before they make sense for you business. If you don't have enough to afford a high-end photographer, try looking instead for a smaller studio that does head shots. You'll at least have a clear image on your website that shows your pretty smile and warms the hearts of your potentials ;)

A question I've been asked and see around social is..

Business Receipts: Why and how you need to file them for your creative business

There is the long running joke about the business owner who "files" their receipts in a shoebox. We laugh about it, but while technology is continuing to automate business some entrepreneurs still stash receipts to worry about later.

What I find far more common among online entrepreneurs is not gathering receipts at all.

Why is this the case? Online entrepreneurs have a lot of online expenses and some of these online providers don't send receipts out. That means the already swamped entrepreneur has to go sign into all of their accounts and manually pull these receipts and save them or in most cases they just don't do it all.

separate your business and personal expenses (get a business bank account!)

Ask any bookkeeper or accountant what the most important first step is in setting up their business finances and books is, 9 times out of 10 (maybe even 10/10) they will tell you to set up a separate bank account just for your business.

Why is this so important?

Well there are three reasons really.

1. For an LLC or Corporation, this keeps your barrier from liability intact.

These business entities set you up for certain protections in the case of your business being sued. Whether or not you maintain that invisible barrier is up to you.

Treating your business like a personal piggy bank is called piercing the veil and it is more than enough reason for you to lose your protection from liability.

2. You aren't perfect; expenses are bound to fall through the cracks.

Sure, you could comb through each personal bank statement five times just to make sure you didn't miss anything, but who's got time for that?

Doing your books this way is a faulty system. There will be breakdowns in the system. Expenses that could be used as tax deductions will be missed.