New Client Process

Have you ever wondered what it is like to work with a Polymath bookkeeper?  Check out this video to see Ingrid and Penny discuss how the client on boarding process has changed.


Ingrid Edstrom: Hi I’m Ingrid Edstrom of Polymath bookkeeping.

Penny: Hi I’m Penny, from Penny’s Pies.

Ingrid Edstrom: It’s good to see you today Penny.

Penny: It’s good to see you today too Ingrid. I’ve been working with you for a while now and I really enjoy our relationship. I have a friend who’s starting a new business and I’m wondering how he can get setup with you as well.

Ingrid Edstrom: Well thanks so much for that referral Penny, I really appreciate that.

Penny: Yeah.

Ingrid Edstrom: So there’s a really great way to get your friend setup with us, on our website we have a new client questionnaire. By going and filling out our new client questionnaire, we can get some really important information from your friend before we actually meet with him.

Penny: Okay, I’ll let him know about that.

Ingrid Edstrom: So once your friend’s filled out the new client questionnaire, we will contact him to setup an appointment for an initial consultation.

Penny: Oh, I remember when we did our initial consultation.

[expand title=”Continue reading…”]So I call it a paper monster.

Ingrid Edstrom: Oh, my goodness, Penny this is, wow that’s pretty intense.

Penny: Yeah, it’s kind of got a life of its own.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah I can see that, well Polly the Paper Monster, I think we’re going to put you under the desk again so that Penny and I can talk like adults.

Yeah the initial consultation is a lot of fun sometimes and that’s an opportunity for us to get to know each other a little bit better to really see if we’re a good fit before we start working together. That’s why we offer that one hour initial consultation free to all of our brand new clients.

Penny: Oh, so is it the same thing that I did when we first met?

Ingrid Edstrom: It’s actually changed a little bit since then Penny, mostly because our business and your business has changed too.

Penny: Well of course.

Ingrid Edstrom: So the initial consultation is a really great opportunity for us to get to know you and your business and for you to get to know us so that we can see if it’s a good fit before we start working together.

Penny: Right, oh that’s good.

Ingrid Edstrom: So when you first come in for initial consultation we’ll give you our new client welcome packet which is a folder that has all kinds of fun documents in it. The first one of those documents introduces the Polymath team to our new clients.

Penny: Oh I love your team, they’re all so sweet and nice and helpful.

Ingrid Edstrom: I love my team too so it’s really important for our new clients to know that you’re working with Polymath you’re not working with just one person, you’ve got a team of people helping you out, making sure that we’re able to assist you in a timely fashion. So that if I’m in a meeting with another client and you call our office, somebody else can help you with your question.

Penny: That’s the best, so what else is in there?

Ingrid Edstrom: We also have a form, this one’s my favorite. It’s the “Who is on your team” form. So that’s the form that you fill out to let us know who else you’re playing with. As the business owner you’re the coach of the soccer team. We need to know who else is on your team so that we can play with those people to win. We want to know who’s your CPA, who’s your business coach, who is your business insurance agent, who’s your banker. All of those people work together to make sure that your business succeeds.

Penny: So what happens if I don’t have one of those?

Ingrid Edstrom: Then we might be able to recommend somebody to help fill in because worst thing we want to be doing is playing soccer without a goalie.

Penny: That’s so good.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah, the next form that we like to go through is the “Bookkeeping Roadmap.” That’s how we put together a bit of a timeline on how the relationship’s going to progress from there. That kind of varies a little bit client by client depending on what you’re coming to us with. If you’re been using a bookkeeper for a long time and you’re just looking to change things or maybe that bookkeeper’s not a good fit for you but everything’s pretty much cleaned up and up-to-date, we might be able to get you right into a package that will suit your needs for maintenance moving forward. Most of the time what we’ve noticed is that people come to us with a bit of a mess, like you did Penny.

Penny: Oh, I remember that.

Ingrid Edstrom: So if you’ve got a paper monster or if you’ve got months of catch up or sometimes even years of catch up to do we might need to start with getting some project done. So we like to start with what we call a “Discovery Phase” and a Discovery Phase is where we try to gather all of the information to try to find out where we’re staring with your business. That’s how we can get an idea of the scope of our agreement together. A lot of clients want to know in that very first appointment how much this is going to cost. Without this Discovery Phase, it’s really hard for us to tell a client how much a project’s going to cost. That’s like having a homeowner ask somebody how much it’s going to cost to clean their house when the house hasn’t been built yet.

Penny: Yeah I can remember when we first were working together, I really wanted a price at the beginning but I’m so glad that you did the discover first.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah the Discover Phase is really really important because we cannot give you a quote that’s not based on any information.

Penny: I learned so much about my own business from your work there.

Ingrid Edstrom: Exactly right, so with the Discovery Phase we’re working with layers of information. In the center, we have what we like to call the Known Knowns, the things that we know that we know about. Outside of the Known Knowns, we have the Known Unknowns, the things that we know that we don’t know yet. When we get done with the Known Unknowns, we get to the Unknown Unknowns, the things that we have absolutely no clue that we don’t know yet.

Penny: I’m glad you know this stuff because I have no clue.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah and outside of that there’s the Anybody’s Guess, because things can come up. Things might come up in that discovery period that who knew that that employee was going to end up sick for 3 weeks and cause a huge hiccup and be out of the office and that you were going to need extra support. There might be things that change the scope of our agreement and we can only base our agreement upon the things that we know or the things that know that we don’t know that we can make an educated guess about.

Penny: Right.

Ingrid Edstrom: So that’s what the Discovery Phase is for.

Penny: Okay.

Ingrid Edstrom: When we get done with the Discovery Phase we get to move into the Clean Up and Setup Phase, so this is the project piece.

Penny: That’s the fun stuff.

Ingrid Edstrom: Well, we think it’s fun, a lot of our clients don’t think it’s fun which is why they procrastinate it and then give it to us.

Penny: Which is why we have you do it.

Ingrid Edstrom: Exactly right. So that’s when we get you setup with your new Quickbooks file and go through the cleaning up of the data that came before that date. So if there’s thing in your old Quickbooks file or from a previous accounting software that needs to be cleaned up before we can even get you setup in Quickbooks online, then that’s the Clean Up and Setup Phase. The next phase after the Cleanup and Setup is the Catch-Up Phase. So once we get things to the point we can just get you into your new software, we might have months or depending on when the last time that you filed your taxes, even years of catching up your bookkeeping before you’re up-to-date. We want to make sure to get through all that project stuff before we put you on a maintenance package.

So the maintenance package is where things get really, really fun. We have a few different packages that we offer here at Polymath. The one that we offer that’s kind of the lowest one, you’re going to like this one Penny, it’s called our Penny Package.

Penny: Penny Package!

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah, that package is basically the bare bones, almost do it yourself, we’ll do the monthly reconciliations, we’ll make sure that you’ve got the right subscriptions for your needs and you’ll get your 2 hour annual year end review with one of our operators here at Polymath.

Penny: Oh yeah, okay.

Ingrid Edstrom: Other appointments and things outside of that aren’t included. Generally we do like to include unlimited phone and email support, so if you’ve got a question, call us. This is one of the reasons why we like to offer packages with a fixed price, rather than charging hourly so that you’re not afraid to call us because you think the clock’s running endlessly.

Penny: That has been very helpful.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah we want to encourage you to ask for help when you need it, that’s the whole point.

Penny: Every question I’ve asked you has saved me money in the end.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah that’s the whole idea. So the next package up from that is what we like to call the Practical Package.

Penny: Also nice.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah and that’s where we include LivePlan which is fantastic business planning software in with your subscription. So this software makes is so that you’ve got better tools to be able to strategize for the future of your business. A business plan is something that ever business center should have to help them make educated business decision every step along the way.

The final package is what we like to call the Power Package.

Penny: Power Package.

Ingrid Edstrom: That package is where we start focusing a lot more on visionary relationships with our clients. So that’s budgeting, strategy, interpreting key performance indicators, all kinds of really cool fancy stuff that we encourage business owners to get into. Last time I checked in with you Penny, you weren’t quite there yet.

Penny: No, I just like making pies.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah, well I’m going to encourage you to start working yourself up to that visionary place so that you can grow your business and get more done.

Penny: Some day I’d like to have 3 pie shops, maybe even in different cities.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah so that’s why it’s called the Power Package because in order to reach some of those lofty goals you need to be looking at some of these numbers with a little bit more strategy and continuation planning and LivePlan and some extra visionary meetings can really help you with that process.

Penny: So someday I’ll be ready for the Power Package.

Ingrid Edstrom: That’s exactly right.

Penny: Oh that makes sense.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah, so as we’re going through the different phases and then also the packages, that’s how we determine the price and that’s when we can start getting together a proposal for the client so that we’re on the same page. We can go through our client rights and responsibilities documents to make sure that the client has a really really good idea of what they can expect from us and what we expect from them.

Penny: Oh, okay.

Ingrid Edstrom: We really value communication here at Polymath and we want to make sure that we’ve got a solid relationship that’s got a good foundation of communication so that it’s constantly flowing back and forth between us and our clients.

Penny: I really value that too.

Ingrid Edstrom: One of our main goals here at Polymath is that we want to make sure that the value and the results of the services that we’re offering always exceed the price to our clients.

Penny: It’s been that way for me.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah.

Penny: I think I need to go to my friend and I’m going to tell him to go to your website and first fill out the new client questionnaire and then you’ll get in touch with him.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah, exactly right Penny.

Penny: You’ll figure out everything he needs to do to make his business perfect.

Ingrid Edstrom: Yeah and you know what, if we’re not the best fit for your friend, we’ll refer him to somebody that we think might be a better fit for him because it’s always about the best fit for the client, that’s very important.

Penny: That’s such high integrity Ingrid.

Ingrid Edstrom: Thanks Penny. If you have any other questions about bookkeeping, check us out at, thanks so much.

Penny: Bye.[/expand]

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Comments 1

  1. Nicely put. Thanks for outlining what an initial consultation in any high-quality bookkeeping firm might entail.

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