If you’re looking for a simple accounting proposal template which can easily customize for your firm, you’ve landed in the right place.
This article includes a free accounting proposal template, in addition to tips that’ll help you structure it in a way to win more business. We’ve also included a bonus download accounting firm owners will love.
What is an Accounting Proposal?
Unless you are responding to a request for proposals, an accounting proposal is usually not your first interaction with the potential client. You will usually have an initial phone call or meeting to discuss their business and identify pain points in their current accounting system.
Once you’ve gathered information on their needs, you put together a proposal outlining how your firm can meet their accounting needs and ease any bottlenecks in their current process. The accounting proposal will also include which services are being offered, pricing, and other conditions for establishing regular accounting services with your firm (such as view-only access to client financial accounts).
Free Accounting Proposal Template
To get you started, below is an accounting proposal template you can adapt for your firm and services. You can also access a Google Doc version of the template here.
(Insert Street Address)
(Insert City, State Zip Code)
(Insert Phone Number)
Dear (insert name),
Thank you for coming into the office last week to discuss moving your accounting to our firm. I appreciate your insight into the issues with your current firm and your expectations for the work going forward. We work with several clients in your industry and understand the unique challenges and demands of your field.
We pride ourselves on providing superb, reliable accounting support for our clients each month. We answer all phone calls and emails within 48 hours. You’ll never be left wondering what’s going on with your books.
We will access your QuickBooks account directly online and will set up view-only access for your financial accounts, so you won’t need to be involved in our data gathering. Management reports will be completed early each month, which means you’ll have nearly real-time insight into your business metrics.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding transitioning your work to our firm. We’ll do everything possible to make it a smooth transition.
Included in our initial proposal are the following services:
- Coordinating the transfer of files from your previous accountant
- Working with you to set up our access to your accountants
- Monthly accounting and financial statement preparation (includes balance sheet, profit and loss, and statement of cash flow)
- Handling client billing and collections
- Managing accounts payable and vendor management
- Tax preparation for your company
Initial Setup: $(insert here)
The initial setup includes coordination with your current accounting firm to gather necessary documents. We will review your books for the past two years. We will discuss any issues identified in your past two tax returns and make a plan to address any items found during the review. We will also discuss procedures regarding to accounts payable and accounts receivable processing.
Ongoing Monthly Fee: $(insert here)
The ongoing monthly fee includes monthly financial statement preparation, accounts payable management, and accounts receivable management. After 12-months we will assess our fees.
Additional Services: $(insert here)/hour
For services rendered outside of the items outlined above, we will bill at our standard hourly rate, which is listed above.
By signing below, you are accepting the terms and conditions outlined above. Any changes to this agreement must be in writing and accepted by both parties.
Accounting Service Start Date: (insert date here)
BONUS: 32 Other Free Templates for Accounting Firms
Once you’ve seen how much time you can save by having a standard accounting proposal template on hand, you should start looking for other areas of your practice that can be standardized. Most accounting tasks are repetitive and can use the same workflow each month.
Jetpack Workflow has created a set of 32 free accounting workflow templates. They include standardized steps for accounting tasks such as bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, audits, and tax preparation. The templates can be further customized based on your firm’s policies and procedures.
How to Structure Your Proposal to Win New Clients
In the initial section of your proposal, you want to point out the unique concerns brought up during conversations with your potential client. You want to address them from the very beginning to let the client know you understand not only their business but also their expectations for your working relationship.
The letter should not read as a generic letter you send to all potential clients. You’ll win far more business by taking the additional time to personalize the letter. Remember, a proposal is not only an agreement between you and your new client - it’s a piece of marketing material.
Accounting can be a significant expense for a small business, whether the business is taking the position in-house or using an outside accounting firm to manage its books. As an accounting firm, you need to make the case your services will save the client either time or money (or, ideally, both!).
While you don’t want to presume what their in-house expenses would have been, you should mention the efficiency with which your firm can complete tasks and the large knowledge base your firm possesses. You should mention any specialties or areas of practice your firm has.
Services Covered Under Proposal
The accounting proposal template should outline all services which will be included in your engagement with the client. You should spell out each service in detail to avoid future misunderstandings with the client. Additionally, a detailed set of services will allow the client to compare different proposals if they are comparing several different firms.
Initial Cost: Carefully consider how much time is invested in setting up a new client before pricing out the initial phase. If the client has several years of books to catch up on or has a piecemeal system and needs a professional set of books set up from scratch, that will take a significant amount of time. Keep in mind you want to establish a long-term relationship with this client, so you should consider the full picture when pricing the initial cost.
Recurring Cost: Once the client’s accounting system is set up, how much time is it going to take you to maintain it? After figuring out your hours and your billing rate, you’ll have a good idea of what the monthly cost should be.
Other Costs: To prevent future misunderstandings, it’s best practice for accounting professionals to include your policy for billing additional services outside the scope of the initial engagement. Usually, additional services are billed based on hourly rates. You can either list a specific hourly rate or state that additional services are billed in accordance with your standard rates.
Each proposal should include a timeline for each phase of the project. For the initial phase of the project, you’ll need to work with the client to understand the urgency of their initial financial statements. For ongoing work, you should set a date each month when the updated financials will be ready. Once these timelines have been created, it’s important you stick to them.
The proposal should include an area where each party can indicate their acceptance of the proposal and the start date for accounting services.
Need Help Managing New Accounting Client Projects?
In the best-case scenario, you land a new client. Once you’ve landed the client, how do you ensure you're doing your best work and nothing is falling through the cracks? You should have standardized workflow procedures within your firm that let you hit the ground running.
You could create your workflows using a piecemeal system of spreadsheets, to-do lists, and emails, or you could use a complete workflow management system like Jetpack Workflow, which was built with accounting firms in mind. Jetpack Workflow offers a free 14-day trial. You can test it out for your firm and see how much you can improve your efficiency (and profitability) through a workflow management system.