Outsourcing rake or 9 mistakes when opening an accounting business that any startup needs to know

    imageWhen we launched the innovative Finguru accounting service , our start was not perfect. But we managed to learn from our mistakes and want to share with you information about "how not to start a business." This is an honest post not only for other accounting services (who want to develop themselves or express a desire to cooperate with us), but also for all young IT companies.

    Mistake 1. "Paper Monster" that eats your time

    Working with documents is a responsibility. In our case, in general, the entire business is built on working with client documents - payments, bills, contracts. At first, we kept the client’s paper documents as the apple of his eye in his office, until this caused serious inconvenience. Firstly, the more papers, the more time is required to find the necessary information in them. Secondly, we took on an additional function - the archive function, which did not bring any additional money. Simply put, paper ate the company's main resource - employee time.
    The lesson we learned is to kill the "paper monster." In the 21st century, paper reduces productivity, but the use of electronic document management systems increases your productivity and helps the client.
    Example:by the nature of our activity, we constantly have to request certain documents from a client during a certain period of time. Of course, no one wants to go to the accountant several times a month to take the payment. But to send it in electronic form is a matter of 2 minutes. Thus, the client does not put off your requests in a long box and you do not have rumors. Conclusion: encourage your customers to switch to electronic document management systems!

    Error 2. "Bird's tongue", which is understandable only to your circle

    We are all specialists in our field. And the customers are in their own. And just as we do not understand the professional terminology from the production of brass bushings, just like the client is not aware of most of the terms from the accounting department.
    Lesson we learned: Talk to the client in simple human language, explain the processes in clear words.
    Example: when our managers told clients about Z-reports or quarterly VAT, clients started ... feeling uncomfortable)). And this is understandable: they want to do business, and all the “accounting things” have been transferred to us. Then we began to say easier: “Our specialist will calculate the amount of cash at your cash desk at the end of the day” or “We will send you how much tax you will have to pay this month.”

    Error 3. Pathos advertising that does not work

    Like many young companies, we got burned at the very beginning on expensive and ineffective advertising. We spent a lot of money on billboards, advertising on vehicles and other "outdoor advertising". All these "investments" turned into zilch. The best advertising is still a satisfied client (so do your job well), but in order to get the first client, choose non-expensive communication channels. Here's what we recommend:
    1. Advertise in your area through the Google and Yandex Display Network and get hot customers. Make extremely clear announcements that explain what you are offering.
    2. Do not trust social networks too much (direct advertising is expensive there, and contests and sweepstakes do not create sales).
    3. Look for close-minded partners with whom you can exchange information, from business cards and flyers in the office to banners on the site.
    4. Write useful articles, press releases, in general - share with other news and knowledge.

    Mistake 4. The tone of communication that can set the client against you

    After you have attracted a client, you need to keep him. And no matter how beautiful your service may be, only one word spoken in an inappropriate tone can spoil the relationship.
    Example:we have chosen an open, friendly tone in communication with clients. We did not want to be a strict, bureaucratic, conservative company. We spoke in plain language and sent polite letters about late payments to customers. But once we tightened the tone of the letter and even wrote a warning to one of the clients with SUCH LETTERS. As a result, they received an angry letter from him: “Do not shout at me!” The next time we did not write warnings with capslocs, but still reminded us of late payments and referred to clauses of the signed agreement and legislative acts. It was polite and at the same time justified, without unnecessary emotions.
    The lesson we learned:Do not change the tone of communication with the client. Moreover, create a single tone of communication for your company - it should be the same in the submission of information on the site, and in advertising, and in e-mails, and in the communication of the client manager with customers.
    The second lesson we learned: find balance in friendly communication. Make sure that the friendly tone does not become friendly-familiar. From this - a step to familiarity relations, which will only harm your business.

    Error 5. Trying to solve the problem at a different level, or give an opportunity to answer the head

    Encourage managers to delegate some of their client issues to a senior officer. There are times when a customer turns to a client manager with a seemingly simple question, but the one is not ready for an answer right now. Or is it generally outside his area of ​​competence. But driven by the desire to help the client, the employee begins an independent search for this answer in Google, asking for the opinions of colleagues instead of directly contacting his supervisor. As a result, the time of both the client and the manager is lost, and not the fact that the “google” answer will be correct.
    Another situation where you need to involve the leader is customer complaints. Firstly, this way you will understand where the company has “failures”, and secondly, make it clear to the client that he is important to the company. A good algorithm for working with an angry client is the following:
    1. Ask him to state the essence of the claim in writing for the leader. As a rule, 70% of problems are solved even at this level, since there is nothing special to write about: in fact, the service was rendered with high quality.
    2. Transfer to the management the claims of those 30% who found gaps in the work of the company and do not forget to thank them for the “audit”.
    3. The manager’s response will show the client that his problem is important, that it has been accepted into the work and that such and such actions have been taken.

    Mistake 6. Incomprehensible pricing

    In the service of services it is not always clear what the price is made up of. Your task is to explain to the client as accurately and in detail as possible how much it costs and why. Better yet, give him the opportunity to calculate the cost himself.
    The lesson we learned: if the customer did not immediately have an unambiguous interpretation of the cost of services, then no matter how you work well, he will sincerely believe that he was "cheated" somewhere.

    Error 7. Undefined game rules

    This item follows from the previous one. Specify immediately the list of services that is included in the tariff. But what to do when work requires close interaction with the client or his training, and your tariff does not imply this? Answer: give the client the necessary tools and explain how to use them.
    Example: cooperation with us implies that the client should be able to use our electronic services. We solve this problem simply: we send e-mail links to video tutorials in which all step-by-step instructions are given, then we contact him and analyze the moments that he did not understand. Here the rule “it’s better to lose a day, then fly in 5 minutes” works.

    Mistake 8. We are shy to demand money

    This is a disease of all young companies. The company is so much afraid of losing customers that it allows them a long delay in payments. We were like that too, and at one point, we accumulated too much receivables.
    The lesson we learned is: if you are not ashamed of the service you provided, why should you be shy to ask for money for it? In the end, you are not a charitable organization, but a commercial one, and a client who does not pay your bills slows down your business.
    How to solve the problem: after several cases of delay, we introduced a more stringent payment system, and also stopped being shy about invoicing from a fine. The situation with payment has improved significantly.

    Error 9. Lack of long feedback

    Check the end result. For example, we submit tax reports of company “A” to the tax office. But our final result is not the reports submitted to the inspection, but the information brought to the client that the documents were accepted by this authority.
    The lesson we learned: do not lose touch with the client, always keep him updated on the work on the project. We had cases when we worked closely on the documents of customers, but did not inform them of the progress of work (we planned to inform you of the reports submitted and accepted), as a result of which clients began to call with the question “Have you forgotten about us”?
    Inform your customers how things are going. And if there are no intermediate results, tell them how your business works from the inside: unobtrusive letters and videos will make it clear that you have not forgotten about anyone.
    The Finguru service wishes you to learn from the mistakes of others and to make your own less. Good luck to everyone!

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