Updated: Aug 18, 2019
As Seth David from Nerd Enterprises would say, "To clean up your books we need documentation. "
I'm not the only bookkeeper out there that will ask you for this. Many of the below words are NOT my own. Many come from other great accountants out there such as Seth David and the like. So don't just take my word for it. This is universal.
If you want your books cleaned up then you MUST give us ALL the information we ask for.
Help us, Help you!
Let’s start with all bank and credit card statements (both PDF and CSV format).
· The PDF is what we reconcile to.
· The CSV is what we need to import or otherwise quickly find what’s missing.
We can’t sort or filter information in a PDF, but a CSV can be opened in Excel and organized to make it super fast and easy to find anything that is missing or off.
What’s the fastest way to provide all bank statements and CSV files to us?
Connect your bank accounts to HubDoc and let HubDoc import all this info FOR YOU!
Rather than spending half a day downloading all this yourself from your bank account, you can simply add your bank and credit card login info into HubDoc and answer a couple security codes and not only will your info be pulled in from up to 4 years in the past, but we also won’t have to bug you each month for this data as it will import itself automatically.
What if I already have all this info saved to a folder? Can’t I just upload it online?
Sure, if you have a bunch of info organized and saved nicely in a folder you can simply upload it to us either inside HubDoc once your account is activated OR simply upload it to our Sharefile account (for one time big uploads). The link can be found on our website on the Uploads tab.
What if I have all this an bunch of other info in paper format but I don’t have time to scan it all and upload it to you? Can I mail it?
Yes, you may mail your paperwork to us provided that you supply a cover letter that states your Company Name and a basic outline of the contents you are mailing us. We will scan everything within a week then we will upload this set of scanned items to your HubDoc file where you can view everything online. If you want your paperwork mailed back to you, the cost is usually between $30 to $50 to have it shipped back depending on the size of the envelope/box you send. We'll give you a quote on the price so you can decide. Otherwise, after the items are scanned they will be shredded a month later.
What we need to get and then keep your books clean is documentation.
It starts with the bank & credit card statements, but it goes on from there.
If you sent invoices to you customers this year, we need a list of ALL CUSTOMER INVOICES, preferably broken down by PAID verses UN-PAID status. REMEMBER, if you sent your clients an invoice last year that was still UN-PAID as of this year THOSE NEED TO BE INCLUDED as well. If your customer pays you this year for an invoice that was sent to them last year, then that MUST go into this years bookkeeping.
We have to get your Jan 1st AR Aging to show ALL open invoices as of the first day of this year in order to clean things up.
If you are not sure which ones are paid verse un-paid then at least just provide us with a list of all customer invoices you know of and we can work with your data to reach some fact based conclusions about what we think might be paid & Un-paid and review our finding with you.
Upload your list and any and ALL PDF copies of each and every individual customer invoice to either HubDoc or Sharefile.
No time to scan? Mail these to us. Also, with the new QuickBooks Online ADVANCED software you might even be able to have us IMPORT your customer invoices, so ask about that option as well! But when I say we need ALL customer invoices for the current period I mean ALL customer invoices.
Don't skip this step! CUSTOMER INVOICES ARE ONE OF THE MORE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS WE NEED TO CLEAN UP YOUR BOOKS!
Not sending us your customer invoices will delay the entire clean up process by weeks, months, even years! So don't delay. Work hard to get them all to us.
If you received BILLS from any vendors this year, we need a list of ALL VENDOR BILLS, preferably broken down by PAID verses UN-PAID status. If you are not sure which ones are paid verse un-paid then at least just provide us with a list of all vendor bills you know of and we can work with your data to reach some fact based conclusions about what we think might be paid & Un-paid and review our finding with you.
Upload your list and any and ALL PDF copies of each and every individual vendor bill.
No time to scan? Mail these to us.
Sames as with the customer invoices, if any bills were open last year but then paid this year, we need those too as they will shows as OPEN and UN-Paid on your AP Aging as of Jan 1st this year.
If you use an outside payroll service then we need the payroll reports (just provide us login access to your current payroll provider account online – this is the most efficient rather than trying to explain to you all the reports we need from their system – we know how to navigate these systems such as ADP, Paychex, WF payroll, ect, ect). This is almost always wrong on almost every set of books I look at. Then we can upload these to HubDoc for you. If you already have them all downloaded, feel free to upload them to Hubdoc for us to review.
If you have loans, we need loan statements, and the original loan agreement. This will help us confirm the loan amount, interest rate, and ultimately what the right loan balance due is as of today. it will also help us fine all the loan payments that have been made previous and split them out correct to principle and interest. It isn’t enough just to know what the balance is now. That will only help me get today’s books right. We need the entire history. Upload these to HubDoc for us.
If you bought a vehicle or other fixed asset this year, then we need a bill of sale with all of the terms. There is often a loan that goes along with this. We need that documentation too! Upload this info to HubDoc for us, or provide us login access to download ourselves for you.
We will never get your books right if we don’t have the complete documentation.
Then this same documentation is what makes the books bulletproof, because that’s how we prove our numbers are 100% accurate.
Not “good enough for government work.”
How far back do we need to go?
The basic rule is to go back to when the last return was filed.
This means we need the last filed return when we start, and then each year we need a copy of the return once filed. There are often little things that change, affecting the prior year so that by the time the return is filed there are differences from the books to taxes. The books SHOULD be closed once the tax preparer gets started. That’s how you prevent this
Regardless and no matter how careful we are, we always want to check this, and adjust the books as necessary to keep them in compliance with any filed returns.
From that point we will adjust the books to agree to that tax return. There is no point in going back further unless you plan to amend the returns.
Hey Business Owners!
When we ask for this kind of documentation it’s because we want to get your books right. And when you complain and ask us why we need all of this, it makes us not want to do the work for you.
You hired us to do the work and get the books right. Why would you then give us a hard time when we ask for the things we need to do the job you hired us for?
We need your cooperation, and we can’t bear to care about your business more than you do. We know you are busy. So are we. And we would rather focus on the ones who care about their businesses at least as much as we do.
The last thing we want to do is waste your time or ours.
Want to speed things up?
Give us the access. Yes logins. Most banks will allow you to give us read only.
Lots of bookkeepers don’t want more than that.
In all honesty we don’t care what access you give us. We just need the access so we can get the work done.
But I already connected everything in HubDoc, why do you need the logins too?
Only SOME banks will release extra’s like Deposit images to HubDoc. If your bank does not, then we’ll be bugging you for this info every week & month. Also, pending charges sometimes need to be reviewed in the bank. Finally, many times the connection needs to be redone. If you don’t wan your bookkeeping bottled necked by any of this, just give us our own read only login and we can handle all the above without bothering you or slowing us down.
But I have security concerns.
The security level of encryption that HubDoc & QuickBooks use is the same level as your bank.
So if you are ok with your banks online banking level of security, then, we could argue that, you are already ok with the security of HubDoc and QuickBooks, because it's the same level of security your bank already is using that you are ok with.
If you are still concerned, well, by all means, go full analog. Pull all your money out of your bank, put it under your mattress, and start doing handwritten bookkeeping...but I doubt your business will thrive in that environment.
Look. It's not the 60's anymore.
We live in the 2000's and we use computers and internet. If you have not come to peace with this yet, then you're taking bookkeeping and business advise from the wrong source. Maybe it's time to join the Amish. I don't know; but, for those of you who want to move forward in life and be successful in today's world, read on.
Listen, we are bookkeepers, we are not going to steal your money.
One, we have plenty of money of our own, and two, stealing yours would likely diminish or eliminate our capacity for earning more when we are caught and thrown in Jail.
In short. It just isn’t worth it. Plus, we're here to show you where all your money goes. So if we are taking it, we will have to show you that too.
The best way to prevent theft or wrong doing with your money is to keep it ORGANIZED and LOOK at your numbers REGULARLY.
This is the best line of defense that you have against fraud. Keep your books clean and look at your bank & credit card accounts often.
You can always call your bank or credit card to put in a stop payment or cancel a card if you suspect any foul play.
Your ability to trust us is our greatest asset. It helps us get the job done. And it helps you get peace of mind!
If you haven’t had a good look under the hood of your 2019 books yet this year, now is the time.
If you still aren’t ready with 2018, what are you waiting for?
Even with an extension your accountant will need a complete set of books by August 1, so they can prepare and file your returns by September 15.
Remember that it isn’t only your returns they are filing. They likely have a pile of returns waiting to be prepared all by Sept 15.
Many CPA’s are getting smart. They are sending notices that if they don’t have a properly compiled set of books by August 1, they cannot guarantee your returns will be filed on time. That leaves you on the hook for any late filing penalties etc…
So start now.
How do I start?
Simply, schedule a GoToMeeting on our calendar by clicking the like here and pick a date and time to get started.
Why do I have to schedule time to work together? Can't I just call you?
We don’t work “on call”.
We work in the background for you, A LOT, but if you need to ask a question over the phone, or review questions you have in your books, then that’s why we provide you with an easy way to schedule meetings with us.
We respect SCHEDULED time that has been carefully blocked out in advance.
How would you like it if we put you on hold 5 times during our call to take other peoples calls? How productive do you think our call would be? Also, how well do think we would be able to answer your question if we were taking your call while busy driving or away from our computers? Especially since the questions 90% of time are directly related to something that is in the QuickBooks full version software (not the phone app version). Trust us, it’s not very helpful and it usually just wastes everyone’s time.
Scheduled time solves this.
It means that we are 100% focused on you and your business books during that time. It also means that you are focused as well.
We generally can’t answer all your questions in a one hour meeting either, or a short email. You must understand that this is a journey, and as your initial questions are answered you’ll enviably have more (data begets data, just as answers produce more questions). We want to be with you for the long haul. This is a relationship and your full story will unfold over time.
So make sure you plan ahead and schedule your meetings in advance. Schedule re-occurring meetings to keep yourself in the game if needed. If you miss a session don’t worry, just book another one. You are not charged if you miss meetings, just re-schedule them. We will only stay in the meeting for 10 to 15 mins and if you don’t show we will just figure you are busy and will reschedule.
How come all my financials are not perfect yet?
You can’t pick the fruit the day you plant the seed.
Patience will be required and two way conversations will be needed to get everything cleaned up and in line. I can assure you, we will get there, if you stick with us and provide us with what we asked for and answer our questions.
With your, feedback, and most importantly, the DOCUMENTATION we asked for.
We are only as good as the information you give us and the time you spend with us.
But I thought you knew how to post that charge without me telling you?
We are not mind readers.
Sure, we can professionally GUESS about what a charge should be categorized as, but without your feedback and review, it is simply a guess.
Do you want guesses or hard answers on your numbers? I hope it would be answers not guesses. No one ever won in an IRS audit with the excuse, “that’s what my bookkeeper guessed it was for”. You must take responsibility for ALL numbers on your financials when you use them to do your tax return. So YOU need to review them to ensure they are posted accurately. You just don’t have to do all the work that is involved to manually enter all this info if you hire a bookkeeper. However, you STILL have to REVIEW IT for accuracy and UNDERSTAND your financials.
This is not something you can PASS OFF to another person. You are required as a business owner to understand your own income and expenses. That is why documentation is so important.
We will work in the background to do what we do best with this info, to input and build your financials so you don’t have to do this very labor intensive work (and perhaps do it all wrong).
Don’t take this work for granted or lightly.
We are experts in the software AND the bookkeeping. These are skills that take DECADES to master. Since you don’t have decades to learn this stuff you’ll be in good hands passing this info to us to enter everything CORRECTLY for you, on your behalf. It’s a huge waste for you to directly do this work.
We'll create the entire iceberg of your financial data for you, all you have to do is review the tip of the iceberg to make sure it is in line with your view.
So what do I have to do?
1) Upload the info we ask for to HubDoc
2) Wait for us to do your bookkeeping
3) Then, review the Monthly Reports you receive from us via Email and either:
a. Email us feedback on the Monthly or Weekly Reporting of all the transactions, cc HubDoc so the team can see your notes and make these changes in QuickBooks for you. Many clients like to simply print out the reports on paper, write notes and highlight certain transactions they have questions about then they simply take photos of the report with the notes and upload these to HubDoc or email to us. If you prefer an Excel version we can send you that too.
b. Book a GoToMeeting to Review the report and make changes with us in the call. Many times the uploads require ore of a conversation and other times it’s a simply one word response to re-categorize something.
Let US teach YOU how to read your Financial reports.
This will help you to understand how financial accounting works and why certain transactions hit certain accounts and financial reports. Many times transactions that you think might be MISSING are simply reported on a different report. Example, Owner Draws & Contributions (payments to the owner personally or deposits to the company from the owner personally) should NOT be on the P&L. These hit the Balance Sheet. We can explain why in our meetings and explain many other answers to questions like this you may have. That’s why we are here. To help you get the work done, and help you interpret it so we all can make sure it is accurate.
How does the paperwork flow? Generally?
You simply get any and all documents into HubDoc. Then we take it from there.
Once items are in HubDoc you just leave it to us. We will put everything into QuickBooks for you and link other programs as well such as Bill Pay & Payroll depending on the type of service you have chosen.
SCHEULE YOUR MONTHLY REVIEW
We will process the info you put into HubDoc into QuickBooks and do your financial reports.
Then once we feel we have done our best at getting the numbers is proper places in your financials your part comes back when you do your MONTHLY REVIEW of the financials we’ve sent you (or weekly if paying for Weekly service).
Things we will cover during a review:
-Uncategorized Income, Expenses, & Assets (we’ll need your help with these)
-Does total Income look accurate? (perhaps were missing some deposit images)
-Do your Expenses look accurate? (perhaps we were missing some receipts or bills)
-Is any information missing? (perhaps there’s a bank or cc not connected)
-What patterns look normal and abnormal month over month? (perhaps dates are off)
Why do I have to be so involved? I thought I hired you to do my books?
Think of the Monthly report, and your bookkeeping in general, this way.
Imagine you are a star college athlete. You have practice and games all day and night. You don’t have time to study or write your paper for your History class. However, your friend is really good at history and offers to help you write not just an outline but pretty nicely put together history paper that just needs some small tweaking to match the subject of history for the class you are taking.
Imagine that in your haste, you simply grab your friends outline and turn it in as your own History paper without taking any time to looking over it and make any adjustments to the subject or title of the paper.
You could likely imagine that the teacher would not be very impressed in this scenario and you’ll likely end up with a poor grade at best, or worse in the dean’s office for plagiarism. All because you were “too busy” to even look over the paper and make a few small tweaks to it to make it your own. You may even selfishly try to put the whole blame on your friend for making such a ‘bad’ paper for you…
In this story, the bookkeeper is your friend who tried to help you write the paper.
While bookkeepers will do the heavy lifting part for you, you still have the RESPONSIBILITY of reviewing the work to make sure it is correct for YOU before using the numbers on a tax return or bank loan. Just like the History paper, in the end it is YOUR grade, Your company, not the bookkeepers. Bookkeepers are not mind readers.
Bookkeepers can certainly help you, but you must also stay INVOLVED and give us feedback.