3 Steps to Landing the Best Bookkeeping Clients
Want to learn how to get bookkeeping & accounting clients?
Stacy Kildal loved going to conferences to help grow her Bookkeeping practice, Kildal Services LLC, but she saw a glaring problem. All that was talked about was “marketing, marketing, marketing.”
Stacy knew the importance of landing the best bookkeeping clients, but what about AFTER you got all those clients? It was then, Stacy realized she could expand her influence, her reach, and her practice to help other bookkeepers with their onboarding and workflow.
“Once the client comes, I can show you how to knock it out of the park.”
Since she’s extended her empire beyond just bookkeeping, her business has grown fast. She’s added group Quickbooks training, a massive vault of content for everyday workflow, a podcast, speaking engagements and more.
She’s been recognized as “Top 100 Influential Person in Accounting” as well as a two-time “40 Under 40” Winner by CPA Practice Advisor.
In this interview with David Cristello, Stacy dives deep into:
- How she got her first clients when she started (and you can too)
- Her unique way of onboarding new clients to make sure they are the right fit
- How you can have a business partner WITHOUT giving up equity or control
- The QBO Show (Stacy’s podcast)
Stacy Falls in Love with Bookkeeping
Despite now being known as the “QB Queen” and known as one of the most “Influential Quickbooks Advisors” around the world, Stacy Kildal did not start off in bookkeeping. She attended school to become a pharmacist.
It was while taking an accounting class that she discovered her passion for it. One day her professor assigned all ‘odd number questions’ for homework, Stacy went ahead and completed all of the questions, even and odd, and wanted to learn more. Immediately, she ditched the idea of becoming a pharmacist and dove headfirst into bookkeeping and accounting.
It worked perfectly at the start. Her father owned a building company and needed a hand with the bookkeeping. During this time, Stacy worked as an administrator in a plumbing company and started her bookkeeping practice.
The Side Hustle as a Full-Time Employee, Mother & Business Owner:
Stacy realized quickly that working in a small, plumbing company was going to have its limitations in terms of career prospects. She already had kicked off her side hustle as a bookkeeper thanks to an old boss who referred her first employee.
One day while searching for ways to grow her practice faster, she stumbled upon the Quickbooks Proadvisor Program. Quickly, she signed up. It was tough times and had to borrow the registration fee payment from her parents! It opened up a new door of a couple leads a month from business owners looking for bookkeeping help.
For three years, Stacy juggled her side gig and a full-time job. At the same time, she had her daughter which made things more complicated.
The Leap to Full-time:
Stacy was stretched so much. At times, after getting home from work, she’ll have a quick dinner and then still go out to meet clients until 10-11pm at night.
It wasn’t sustainable.
One of her clients asked for more of Stacy’s time during the workday. At that point, she and her husband had to make the decision: “Can we make the leap?”
Stacy’s husband supported her and was onboard. It wasn’t until many years later he would tell her “it was the scariest time of my life.”
Even with a new contract with a client, Stacy still had to “hustle” to get business:
How Stacy got clients when she first started:
- Got certified on the Quickbooks Proadvisor site. She would get a few leads per month.
- Every Sunday, she would take the Sunday paper and spend 4-5 hours scouring want ads and calling the businesses offering to help
- She would attend multiple networking groups
- She would teach at the local community college to get her name out there
It shows, starting a practice can be tough during the first years as you book clients.
“Finding her Jam” and her Groove in the Bookkeeping Space:
Stacy spent time networking at conferences and local events. She would travel across the country to attend many conferences and noticed a trend:
Every conference focused mainly on Marketing your practice and not so much what you do when you get new clients i.e. onboarding, workflow, technical skills etc.
It was then Stacy launched her Academy to help make sure you get clients and keep those clients.
She encourages bookkeepers with her catchphrase “Find your jam!”
What does it mean?
“Figure out what you’re not good at and find someone who does JUST THAT.”
She encourages bookkeepers to find their niche and not waste time on things they don’t enjoy or are not good at. Her Academy helps lay out a map for bookkeepers and lets them take the reins and execute on the plan.
Stacy’s Unique Way to On-board ONLY the Clients You Want to Work With:
As Kildal Services grew, Stacy continued, like any entrepreneur, learning as she went. One of the major points she teaches others is On-boarding the Right Clients.
Signing up a new client seemed easy, but six to eight months into the engagement, Stacy realized some would not be a fit. Yet, it’s hard to tell a client you must part ways.
She also learned and practice the “old way” of doing “Free One-Hour Consultations” would result in:
The client gets free advice and leaves.
She decided to come up with a new way to onboard where she would:
- Find if they were a right fit right away
- Get paid to do so
This process took many years, but she’s mastered it.
How it works:
- Start with a “Quick Review” of the books. For this, charge $300.
- Next, tell the client the different points they need to “clean up.” Since the prospect already paid you the $300, they now have a better chance of just paying you to do the cleanup work.
- During this, work with the prospect on a “needs analysis” worksheet. Here, you are identifying their major problem points, finding where the “breakdown” occurs. A key question she asks is: “Who owns this part of the process?” If the answer is “No One” it’s a red flag they need help.
Stacy figures out, especially during the “analysis,” if the prospect would be a great fit or not.
Having a Partner WITHOUT “Having” One:
This unique process of onboarding was built by both Stacy and her “outside” partner Shannon. Finding that great partner is essential. Stacy and Shannon work together on clients, but Shannon works for just a percentage of the work.
They both realized they enjoyed running their own practices and didn’t necessarily have to “merge” to be partners. Many believe it’s a “You’re In or Out” scenario, but they both came up with the idea without a conflict.
It works. They both discuss potential clients and whether they’d be a great fit, but both get to still do what they love.
As you grow your practice, remember what Stacy recommends: Work on what you love and are good at, refer to what you aren’t good at to others who specialize in it.
Like Stacy, you’ll see massive growth in your business.