Three Must-Have Checklists for Your Business

Airplane pilots have checklists for just about everything they do.  Checklists promote performance consistency, make it easier to learn new procedures, and increase safety exponentially.  In accounting, we can learn from the airline industry and apply checklists to certain areas of our practices in order to reap similar benefits.   Here are three areas of your accounting practice that can benefit from checklists:

1 –  Client Service Development

The most obvious area to start is in client service.  Auditors live and die by checklists; they create their audit plan around the highest areas of risk.  We can do the same in other areas of accounting, such as taxes, consulting, bookkeeping, software installation, and training.

As you’re delivering each service, make a list of what you’d like to review or look at.  In QuickBooks consulting, here is a start:

  1. What product line and version of QuickBooks is client running?
  2. Does company file exist?  Is it caught up?
  3. How many users are there?
  4. What interfaces are being used?
  5. Operating system?
  6. Age of PC?
  7. QuickBooks file size?
  8. Date of last backup?
  9. General response time
  10. How customized does file look?  (sublist of opportunities)

When you market, you can say you go through a 50-point checklist.  The client will be impressed that you have a system; they may not even realize there are 50 things to check in a QuickBooks file.

Create a checklist for each service you offer.

2 – Marketing

There are plenty of opportunities for checklists in marketing.  You may have a monthly routine.  You may have routines for each marketing channel.  Here is a list of checklists you could make to help you in marketing:

  • Monthly web site updates
  • Steps to send out a newsletter and update your blog
  • Social media tasks
  • Tradeshow procedures
  • Networking event processes

Creating checklists for each of these areas will help you get organized and figure out what to do first.  In marketing, it will also help you keep the feeling of overwhelm down to a reasonable level.

3 –  New Client Onboarding

Although every client is different, there are many similar steps that you must take to set each client up when you first provide services for them.  This includes getting a signed contract, a W-9, files, user IDs and passwords, scheduling information, and much more.   A checklist will make you far more efficient in collecting this information.

In our Accountant’s Accelerator program, we teach going one step further and creating a form to collect all of the information.   We call this our client intake form, and we have one for each service line we offer.

A List of Checklists

Once you start making checklists, it will become addictive.  You’ll find the need for them everywhere in your business.  And when you get them completed, your business will run much smoother.