4 Steps to Successful Bookkeeping Quality Managment
Step 1: Determine your firm's quality standards
First, determine your quality standards as a team. You’ll quickly realize that some complexity arises from different client standards for materiality, documentation, etc. The best method we’ve found for creating standards that work is to have both firm-wide standards that are applicable to all clients, and client-specific standards that change from client to client.
Last, use specific guidelines in this step instead of KPIs. We’ll include KPIs in the Quality Goals and KPIs section. To help you lock in these standards, we’ve included a template that works for most firms.Quality Standards Template
Step 2: Document the quality review process
Even the highest standards only work if you measure how well you follow them. However, your quality review process doesn’t need to be time consuming if it does a good job of evaluating adherence to your standards.
After each bookkeeper reviews his or her own work to ensure it has met your quality standards, we recommend a manager or partner review of each client’s books at month-end close. This review should roughly fit the following format, but you can adjust it to fit your needs:
- Run a new Scrutinize report for the period
- Check that all transactions are reconciled and categorized
- Check that the issues are within tolerance of your standards
Step 3: Set your quality goals and KPIs
Even in the most diligent firms, mistakes can happen. We're all human after all. In step 3, you’ll set realistic expectations for your team.
It’s important to have a clear goal for each team member, so that you have a straightforward resolution process for future issues.
We recommend these guidelines:
- Intentionally hiding mistakes or incomplete work
- Late closes without manager approval
- Unprofessional communication with a client
Limit rework to no more than...
- 10% of client books each month by any individual bookkeeper
- 3 months in a row due to the same recurring issue
- Challenging clients with complicated books or poor communication may raise rates. A manager or partner may approve separate goals or KPIs for these clients.
Step 4: Communicating quality to your clients
This final step is critical. Many bookkeepers expect that clients don’t value the effort we dedicate to quality, but that largely results from challenges clearly communicating that work and its results. Creating a clear plan for communicating quality to your clients in a consistent, well-defined process will add a significant value to your services.
To do so, first you’ll need to decide how to set your per client standards. Are these decided upon with the client, or by managers or partners internally?
Next, you’ll need to decide how to communicate your quality to clients. Some firms choose to share their quality standards with the client.
Regardless, we recommend including a quality report of some kind in your monthly reports to clients. We've attached a template below as a starting point. This simple report is designed to convey the effort, attention to detail, and reason behind your quality work.Quality Report Template
Putting a focus on quality will help your firm grow, improve, and deliver higher quality work to your clients. If you want to learn more about the Scrutinize platform, click the link below to learn about Scrutinize for month-end.Month-end With Scrutinize