OrganizeAs an accountant, you’ve likely had a client show up at your office with all their disorganized receipts in a shoebox.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, according to a Consumer Reports National Research Center poll, only 40% of Americans said that they could find a document at a moment’s notice. And, American Express Spending and Savings Tracker showed that 43 percent of Americans keep their savings under their mattress.

These stats show that some of your clients might not take organization as seriously as you do. When clients come in with this type of bookkeeping mess, it’s up to you to figure out how to clean it up. Here are a few ways to help your clients get and stay organized, making expense tracking easier for both of you:

Educate Clients

The first step to organization is communication. Communicate exactly what you need from your clients so that they know what documents to collect. Provide new clients with an orientation or overview of your accounting procedures, and their role in helping manage it with you.

Include a summary of what documents are important for bookkeeping and tax reporting. Explain the financial and tax implications of these documents and the potential consequences of not keeping them organized. Knowledge is power, and having information like this can motivate clients to stay organized.

A good way to communicate this information is to prepare an introductory video and manual for new clients to review.

Improve Procedures

To help your clients put your organizational advice to practice, provide them with a to-do list detailing what steps they can take. Include an itemized checklist of what documents they should collect, as well as instructions for how to organize these documents, how often they should share them with you, how they should transmit them to you and how long they should save certain records.

Automate

Cloud accounting software solutions, such as QuickBooks®, are the most efficient way to process bookkeeping. But, according to a Yodle survey, only half of small businesses use any type of accounting software. Get your clients on board with cloud accounting. The switch can save both of you significant time and hassle, especially during tax season.


Share Collection Tools

The more your clients do digitally, the less paper they’ll need to collect, and the fewer shoeboxes you’ll have to sort through. Let your clients know about automated record collection and processing tools to make their bookkeeping easier.

For instance, if a client uses QuickBooks and a business card from American Express OPEN, they can enroll in Connect to QuickBooks, which automatically sends their employees’ Business Card transactions, and their own, to the client’s QuickBooks, so that expenses can be managed in one place.

Organization makes accounting and tax preparation easier for both you and your clients. Educate, automate and share your procedures for better communication and thorough documentation.

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