As per this article from Huffington Post, “When people don’t speak up about what they really think, that often ends up working against the common goal of the company’s success.” When you hire a bookkeeping firm to keep track of your money, you have to tell them what you want them to do. Plus, you also have to listen to their ideas and follow their suggestions. Communication is a two-way street and listening can be as important as speaking up. Here are a few tips to make sure that you get what you need:
Figure Out What You Want
When you get into a business relationship, you have to be clear about what you’re looking for. What exactly are the problems that you’re seeking to resolve by outsourcing bookkeeping services? Are you having trouble collecting money from clients? Are you unable to keep track of company expenses? Or are you just looking for a greater degree of organization when it comes to your money? Whatever your aims may be, it’s important to communicate them. If they know exactly what you’re looking for, they will be better able to fulfill your needs.
Keep in mind the words of Dr. John Lund, as expressed in this Forbes article: “Don’t communicate to be understood; rather, communicate so as not to be misunderstood.” Both, you and your bookkeeping firm, are going to enter the business relationship with certain preconceived notions in mind. You might be expecting certain things from them and they might be used to a different set of expectations from former clients. It’s important to sit down and be clear about your particular needs, as far as bookkeeping is concerned.
In the end, it's all about managing expectations. We found this comic strip highlighting how the experts manage expectations. We can all learn from it!
Keep in Touch
You can’t just hand over your books and then walk away completely. You have to keep in touch with them to make sure that things are being done the way you want them done. If you get monthly reports from them, look these over and get an idea of your expenses and income. This way, you’ll know exactly how much of a profit (or a loss) you’re making.
Sometimes, people prefer to bury their heads in the sand rather than look things in the face. However, once you are clear about where your money is coming from and where it’s going, you may feel more confident about things. It might also become easier for you to see where you need to cut back in order to make the kind of profit you want. When you’re clear about money matters, you’ll also be clear about the direction in which your company should move next.
Often, you might steer clear of asking too many questions because you’re afraid of coming across as ignorant about money matters. However, there’s no shame in trying to increase your knowledge. In fact, most bookkeeping firms will encourage you to know more about where your money is coming from and where it’s going. They want you to be more involved because this actually makes their job easier.
For example, your bookkeeping firm might suggest a certain way of taking care of petty cash or logging in company expenses. These are not big suggestions but they can make a lot of difference in the long-term. So it’s important to ask questions and listen to the suggestions that are made to you.
As this article from Entrepreneur points out, communication is 9% writing, 16% reading, 30% speaking and 45% listening. Work on your listening skills because they’ll make a huge difference in how you communicate. If you’re only concerned with getting your point across than hearing what the other party has to tell you, your business relationships might get strained.