Optimising your bookkeeping onboarding workflow for maximum efficiency
Onboarding can be defined as ‘the action or process of integrating a new employee into an organisation or familiarising a new customer or client with one's products or services.’
When it comes to this process, at The Savvy Bookkeeper we find that many of our clients either confuse the process of onboarding with lead generation or work through both concurrently. It is important to understand that these processes are completely different. ”Lead generation” defines the process of initiating new client interest, as opposed to “onboarding” which is working with a client who has already shown interest in a service.
Read ahead on our blog as we share our tips for optimising your onboarding workflow with an easy to follow five step process.
A process for optimising your onboarding workflow
The first step of the client onboarding process is the sales conversion and this should be almost 100% automated. The most important thing that should be done at this stage is capturing client information as efficiently and effectively as possible using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System, Customer Onboarding System or a software program such as Airtable or Excel.
Ensuring that all of the client data is captured and correct is crucial so the handover from Sales Representative to Bookkeeper is as smooth as possible. This step is all about internal communication.
The next step in the bookkeeping onboarding workflow is the ‘welcome pack’ and this is all about ensuring right from the very beginning of the business relationship, that your new client feels welcome and well looked after.
This begins with an email to the client straight after the ‘deal’ has been finalised, which formally welcomes your new client and the exciting new chapter or their business. In order to do this well, we suggest that you customise this step of the customer experience as much as possible – including what you know about their business and how you can uniquely help them to achieve what they want to achieve.
Many people automate a series of emails as part of their welcome pack, but it is important to remember to customise them as much as possible. While efficiency is great, doing a good job at this stage of the onboarding workflow process can be paramount to long term client retention and satisfaction. It’s all about making a lasting impression.
Collect necessary information
This next phase of the onboarding process involves collecting all of the important information from your client which is required to do your job.
Once the first welcome email has been sent to your client, you should immediately send through an efficient way for your client to provide all of the information you require which includes payment details, account access to any software programs and a compilation of new client forms. These forms can be provided as Google documents or in a program such as Airtable. Whichever you works best for you.
New software accounts will also need to be created at this stage – such as Receipt Bank or Hubdoc – as well as any authorisation documents to be completed and an introduction to the accountant. Ensuring that your client understands the technology you will be using to access their information is also crucial to do at this stage.
Onboarding kick off call
It’s now time to get the ball rolling! Once you have collected all of the information necessary from your client, it is now time for the onboarding kickoff call. At The Savvy Bookkeeper, we highly suggest that you book in a call with your new client which gives you the opportunity to officially meet or welcome them and discuss all expectations moving forward.
This call will also give both parties a chance to run through any lingering questions from the sales or welcome process. It may be a good idea during this call to set clear goals, plan for what success will look like and clarify any expectations so both you and your new client are on the same page from the very beginning. We highly recommend that you again, reinforce your value as their bookkeeper towards the end of the call.
Keep Communication consistent
Now that you have set up your client’s account, all goals have been discussed and expectations clarified, it’s all about keeping up the communication with your client and doing so consistently.
Keeping up regular communication within the first 60 to 90 days is of utmost importance because by this time, the ‘honeymoon’ period is usually over and your client will expect a seamless transition and implementation of you handling their books. To do so, always ensure you communicate in a steady and effective flow. This can be as simple as checking in with them and asking how their day is going.
Getting your onboarding workflow process right
Now that you are all over the five key steps for optimising your onboarding workflow, all you need to do now is carefully follow them and we are confident that you will have all the success in the future with your new clients. Just remember, a successful onboarding process isn’t completed overnight, it can take a lot of time to implement, sometimes up to 6 months. It’s also important to understand that not every client is going to have a perfect onboarding experience as are you as the bookkeeper. By reviewing your process on an ongoing basis, you can always improve and perfect the steps to suit your own way of implementing the workflow. It will take some time to figure out what works best for you and your client, but once you get there – it’ll be all worth it!
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