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Getting the Information You Need from Your Clients with Smartsheet

Jun 7, 2017 | By Seth David | 0 Comments

Topics: Business Development

I have a mastermind group for other accountants and bookkeepers, where we discuss the things we need to do in order to grow our practices. We meet twice per week, and once in a while I can't make it, so my colleague Kristy takes over and runs it.

I listened to the replay of one of these recently, and I noticed a recurring theme. It stood out to me, because it's not the first time I've noticed this issue. I wonder if it is limited to accountants and bookkeepers, though? I suspect not.

When it comes to accounting and bookkeeping, there are many things we need our clients to provide us with. Either they provide these things to us, or provide us with the means to get them ourselves. What this often means is we need logins, so we can access the banking activity and statements. This goes for all bank accounts and all credit card accounts. There are often many other systems we need access to, so that we can get the work done.

When I service a client, I don't want to have to rely on the client to get me anything. I have a system for capturing the information that I need, so that the client empowers me to get what I need to get the job done.

When we rely on our clients to provide things, there are almost always problems. Most recently, I had a client with whom I reluctantly agreed to provide me with the statements I needed. I gave him a link to upload the documents to me using ShareFile. And then it started. I would get duplicates of things, and then not everything I needed. The logic to his file naming system didn't make sense to me. This meant that every time he would upload 5 or 10 documents, I had to go through each one and rename it, so that afterwards I could see what I had and then figure out what I needed. The time you have to spend on this adds up, and time is our most valuable resource -- especially when we're charging flat fees.

With Smartsheet I can easily create a checklist for the things I need, customized for each client, and there are several ways I can invite the client to upload / attach files so that I can get what I need from the client. The best use case, however, is for the client to provide me with the logins that I need to get everything that I need on my own, so that I never have to rely on the client for what I need in order to get my work done. Clients can be the number 1 productivity killer. It sounds funny, but it's true!

Watch the video to see how this works.

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