How Many Clients Can A Bookkeeper Handle?
Bookkeeping is all about numbers. The more clients, the more money, right? Well, that’s not always the case.
Just because a bookkeeper can take on more clients, it doesn’t mean they should. A good rule of thumb is only to take on as many clients as you can handle without sacrificing quality or customer service.
Here are a few things to consider when trying to determine how many clients are too many:
- How much time do you have?
- How much help do you have?
- What are your profit margins?
- How much can you realistically handle without sacrificing quality?
You see, clients will have different needs. Some will need more hand-holding, and others will be more demanding. It would be best if you considered all these things when figuring out how many clients you can comfortably handle.
So, how many clients does the average bookkeeper have?
Well, bookkeepers have between 10 to 40 clients, with 30 being the average. Some bookkeepers have more, and some have less. It depends on their business model, capacity, and profit margins.
How do you know when you have more clients than you can handle?
It’s tempting to take on as many bookkeeping clients as possible to make more money. But, this is often a recipe for disaster.
Here are telltale signs that you have more clients than you can handle:
- You’re constantly stressed
Bookkeeping is a lot of work. But, if you’re constantly stressed, it might be a sign that you have too many clients. Do you worry that you’re not meeting deadlines? Do you feel like you’re always playing catch-up? These are all signs that you might have too much on your plate.
- You don’t have enough time
Despite putting in long hours, you still don’t seem to get to everything. Although it’s a well-known fact that accountants and bookkeepers work extra hours during the tax season, if you’re staying late every day of the week, something might be off.
You need to have a life outside of work, and if you don’t, it can lead to burnout.
- You’re making mistakes
When you have too many clients, it’s easy to make mistakes. And while we all make mistakes occasionally, if you’re making more than usual, it might be a sign that you need to take on fewer clients. You simply can’t do an excellent job if you’re stretched too thin.
- You’re not making enough money
This one is tricky because, as we mentioned before, more clients don’t always mean more money. But if you’re not making enough money to cover your costs or take home a profit, it might be a sign that you need to raise your prices instead of taking on more clients.
- You’re short-handed
Upscaling is a good thing, but you need to have the staff to support your growth. If you’re short-handed, it will only lead to more stress and mistakes. Whether you’re a solo practice or have a team of bookkeepers, you need to ensure you’re not taking on more than you can handle.
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- Customer satisfaction is taking a dip
One of the main aims of any business is to keep its customers happy. If you find that your bookkeeping business is leaving clients dissatisfied, then it’s a sign that things are unraveling, and you need to take steps to fix the problem.
Unhappy clients will not hesitate to find someone else to do their bookkeeping, so customer satisfaction should always be a top priority.
How to increase the capacity of your bookkeeping business
What can you do when you get more clients than you can handle? How do you increase the capacity of your bookkeeping business to accommodate growth?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Hiring employees or contractors
This is probably the most obvious solution, but it’s also the most expensive. But if you’re bringing in more revenue, you can afford to hire someone to help with the bookkeeping.
With more employees, you can assign clients to each bookkeeper. This way, every bookkeeper is responsible for a manageable number of clients.
If you don’t want to hire another accountant, another option is to outsource some work. This could include things like payroll or tax preparation.
The beauty of outsourcing is that you don’t have bookkeepers on regular payroll. You only pay for their services when you need them. And plenty of companies offer these services at a reasonable price.
- Create a system
Take the time to map out your workflow and identify any areas that need improvement. You can then put systems and processes in place to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Also, establish processes and procedures for your accounting team to follow. Having set procedures in place can help your business run like a well-oiled machine, saving you a lot of time and money in the long run.
And technology can be a massive help in this regard. Take, for instance, Envoice.
You can use this program to streamline the expense management process. Employees don’t have to wait for ages before their expenses are approved. They only need to snap the receipt, the program uploads it, managers approve it, and funds are reimbursed.
By having a standardized workflow, you’ll be able to take on more clients without sacrificing the quality of your work.
- Raise your prices
If you’re constantly busy and don’t have time for anything else, it might be time to raise your prices. It will help weed out overly demanding clients only looking for the cheapest option.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to raise your prices for all of your clients. You can keep your rates the same for your regular clients and only raise them for new clients. This way, you won’t lose any business, but you’ll still be able to make more money.
- Upgrade your skills
There will always be a demand for bookkeepers. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you must constantly upgrade your skills. These new skills could help you refine your accounting skills and find easier and faster ways to complete tasks.
Upgrading could involve taking courses, attending seminars, or even reading bookkeeping books. The more knowledgeable you are, the more clients you’ll be able to take on. Plus, it will help you attract high-paying clients.
- Restructure your rates
Traditionally, bookkeeping services are always charged by the hour. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You could restructure your rates to benefit both you and your clients.
For example, you could charge a monthly retainer fee instead of an hourly rate. This would give you a regular income and give your clients peace of mind knowing they won’t be charged extra if the work takes longer than expected. Figure out what would work best for you and your clients.
- Automate as many processes as possible
By automating repetitive tasks, you’ll be able to free up your time to focus on more important things. Automation takes out the manual tasks allowing you to focus on the bigger picture and providing clients with valuable insights from their data. Plus, it’s so much cheaper than hiring more hands.
There are many different accounting software programs, so it’s essential to research and find one that would work best for your business. For instance, Quickbooks can help with automating invoices and tracking expenses.
How to attract new customers
1. Market your bookkeeping business
Most small business owners require bookkeeping services but don’t know where to look. That’s where marketing comes in.
There are a lot of different ways to market your businesses. You could start by setting up a website and ensuring it’s optimized for search engines. You should also make use of social media and local directories.
If done right, marketing can help you attract many new clients. It’s also a great way to build relationships with existing clients.
2. Get Referrals
Research shows that people are more likely to use a service if recommended by someone they know. This is why referrals are so valuable.
The best way to get trade referrals is to provide quality accounting services and build strong relationships with your clients. If you do this, they’ll be happy to recommend you to their friends and family.
You could also offer incentives, such as discounts or freebies. It would give people an extra incentive to recommend your bookkeeping business.
3. Attend networking events
Networking is still one of the best ways to grow your bookkeeping business. By attending local events, you’ll be able to meet new people and promote your services.
Make sure you have a good elevator pitch prepared before any networking events. You should also bring plenty of business cards to exchange contact information with potential clients.
Further Reading: How to Get More Accounting Clients – 5 Effective Strategies
So, how many clients can a bookkeeper handle? It depends on several factors, such as the business’s size, the work’s complexity, and the bookkeeper’s workflow.
The best way to find out is to research and experiment with different methods. By doing this, you’ll be able to find what works best for your business.
Tech can also help as automation can take a big chunk of the workload, allowing bookkeepers to take on more clients. Finally, don’t forget about marketing and networking. These are great ways to attract new clients and grow your bookkeeping business.
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