What’s My Type: The Ideal Client for Let’s Do the Books

It feels crazy to start my relationship with prospective clients being so direct about what it takes to make our collaboration successful. But after ten years in the business, I know what a high-service, low-friction bookkeeping relationship looks like.

(Let me also acknowledge that many prospective clients won’t meet these requirements and/or won’t be willing to adapt. I completely understand. I wouldn’t set these standards if I didn’t a) have a bunch of clients who do fit the description, and b) have ten years of frustration and friction working with clients who don’t fit the description. This isn’t coming from entitlement–it’s coming from experience.) 

My ideal client has: 

One or at most two to three dedicated business checking accounts… 

…at a bank that offers “bookkeeper’s access”…

…which only contains business-related transactions. 

If my client uses credit cards, they are business only. 

My ideal client doesn’t use Venmo in her business. 

Let’s take these one at a time. 

One checking account (or up to three in the right circumstances).

My ideal client does not need (and does not think she needs) a bunch of checking accounts. Yes, I’m familiar with Profit First. It’s great in theory. In practice, it seems to be pretty messy. So, my ideal client has one business checking account. If the accounts are easy to access, I can happily work with two or three.

A bank with “bookkeeper’s access”.

I have my own read-only login for the vast majority of my clients’ business checking accounts. “Read-only” means I can log in, see transactions, statements, and check images without any help from my client (such as temporary login security codes).

If you have a business checking account, the bank probably has this feature. If your bank doesn’t have this feature, I can’t be your bookkeeper unless you move your business checking to a more modern bank. 

Business transactions only (in checking and credit card accounts).

When clients use business accounts for personal transactions, bookkeeping takes much longer and is much less accurate. It’s just that simple. My clients have to be willing to keep business transactions and personal transactions separate. This includes credit cards and (especially) PayPal accounts. Business is business, personal is personal. 

No Venmo

Here’s why Venmo doesn’t work–there’s no way for a bookkeeper to access it without involving the client. I have to request (and wait for) the client to send me monthly Venmo statements. 

This means I’m always (and I mean always) waiting for at least one client’s Venmo statements. It creates a perpetual open loop in the business that prevents me from ever saying this month’s bookkeeping is DONEdone. So, I’m drawing a hard line: no Venmo.

Other Quirks and Exceptions

I have some gray-area preferences that may or may not apply to you. If a client is very responsive and collaborative, we can make some of the following work:

Do you travel a lot for the business, generating a bunch of travel-related transactions? 

Do you have many business meals out per month? Are you in the habit of saying “let’s let the business pay for this” when you go to lunch with a friend or your significant other?

Do you have your business card(s) connected to your Amazon account, resulting in a mix of business and personal transactions that have to be parsed?

Do you write many checks in your business? Could you be persuaded not to write checks in your business (because there are services like Zelle and PayPal that allow you to pay people digitally)?

Each of these habits carries a certain amount of bookkeeping overhead. None of them are deal-breakers (although, if you answered yes to all of the above, I definitely can not be your bookkeeper). 

If you answered yes to one or two, and if you’re collaborative and responsive, things will run smoothly. But if you answered yes and you’re the kind of client who has a hard time replying to email (no judgment, I get it), we’re going to struggle. 

I think you get the picture.

My best client is a life coach who works from home, has a dedicated business checking account with only business transactions in it, uses electronic payments to pay anyone who helps her out, travels occasionally but not a lot, has business meals occasionally but not a lot, buys some books and office supplies on Amazon here and there with her business card, pays for some software, some courses, some coaching, maybe a couple contractors (like a Virtual Assistant), writes a few checks per year…and that’s about it. 

Listen, I can’t believe I’m being this bold in describing my ideal client. But I know every other bookkeeper in the world would look at this description and wish they had the courage to collaborate this openly with their clients. 

I’m telling you, these are the issues that put bookkeepers out of business. And you, the client, would never know, because nobody brings you behind the scenes.

If I haven’t completely alienated you, I’m thrilled. You’ll get another message tomorrow that speaks to similar themes from a different angle, all in service of making this an easy yes or an easy no.

If you’ve made it this far and you think we might be a fit, go to https://letsdothebooks.com/signup. You’ll find a link to an intake form that kicks things off.