Think bookkeeping has to be boring? Think again! Stacy Kildal of Kildal Services, LLC in Waterford, Michigan has been in the bookkeeping business for the past seven years and knows QuickBooks inside and out. Kildal works with a variety of small businesses to help them clean up ledgers, generate income statements, and manage cash flow more efficiently. She’s also an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a member of the Intuit Trainer/Writer network, and a GoPayment customer.
We asked Kildal about going paperless, finding new clients, and more.
GoPayment: How has GoPayment improved your business?
Kildal: I use it in my classes, because people pay any material fees directly to me. If I’m out at a client’s, payment is due at the time of service, and with GoPayment I get paid before I walk out the door. Whether I scan a card or just key in the number, I always get paid.
If a client calls to pay their bill, I can drop what I’m doing and take their payment. With GoPayment, I don’t have to chase money. I have one client who still pays with paper checks, and I usually scan them and turn them into e-checks, so I never have to go to the bank to make deposits.
Are you encouraging your clients to go paperless as well?
I’m trying to get them to convert because it’s a lot easier, but some of them still have clients or customers who want to write checks. For example, the volume of checks at one client’s medical offices makes it infeasible to go paperless. But they’re doing an online storefront to encourage patients to make electronic payments.
I have another client that I’m getting off the ground. The company installs window treatments, so I pointed out that GoPayment is a really nice option. The installers can go out, and they don’t have to leave an invoice or manually write the card number down, and when a customer calls, someone can take their deposit over the phone. She’s ecstatic about it.
What bookkeeping mistakes do you see your small-business clients making?
Most small-business owners are small-business owners because they’re headstrong, but they don’t always do things the way that they’re supposed to. I had someone who wanted me to do her books, but she didn’t have separate business and personal checking accounts, so I wouldn’t keep her books until she had separate accounts.
Some clients still use their business account like a personal checking account. I tell them about the liability issues, but when it comes from an attorney they listen. I know a tax attorney who is also a CPA, so I’ll ask, “What are the ramifications of them continuing to do this?” The answer is that if you’re an LLC and something happens and you get sued, the person who’s suing you can subpoena your business records, and they’ll see that you’re treating your business like a personal checking account. The protection you had as an LLC is gone.
Yikes! On a lighter note, how do you find new clients?
I get a lot of clients through word of mouth, but 80 percent of my referrals come from the QuickBooks expert database. I also use Google Ads and post in forums, where I answer people’s questions. I’ve gotten many, many clients because they’ve seen something I’ve posted.
Do you find that people in forums try to pump you for free advice? How do you transition them into paying clients?
If it’s something I can answer quickly, I don’t have a problem with giving free advice. But if it’s more involved, I say, “I can’t answer this right away. Do you want to schedule an appointment? Here are my hours.” As a consultant, as somebody who doesn’t have a tangible product to sell, your value is your knowledge and experience, so if you don’t nip it in the bud, they’ll continue to take advantage of you.
There are times when I’ve answered a question very quickly and I’ve ended up being on the phone with someone for half an hour, not necessarily giving them information, just chit-chatting. That has ended up turning into a client down the road. If you say, “This isn’t something I can do quickly, here are my rates,” that’s the best way to handle it, up front and honestly.