Frequently businesses will offer customers a free checkup or screening. For example, auto repair companies suggest you bring your car in for a free 28 point inspection or HVAC companies offer a free inspection of your air conditioner or furnace or similar offers for a free checkup or screening for something. Accounting professionals, QuickBooks ProAdvisors, IT consultants and more can utilize this concept to help grow and expand your QuickBooks consulting services.
Accounting professionals, QuickBooks ProAdvisors and others are the primary focus of this article. However, this information can be very beneficial for QuickBooks users as well. You can perform a checkup on your own QuickBooks data file to monitor it and keep it ‘healthy’ to help minimize data integrity problems.
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The Need and Benefits
QuickBooks has been around since the mid to late 1990s and many small businesses have been using it for many years. Many of them now have large data files which are slow and frustrating. Additionally, some files may have a large number of data base fragments or other data integrity problems.
You can offer a checkup to assess the health and condition of the QuickBooks data file to existing and potential clients. This checkup would quickly review the size, fragments and list capacity only and would not assess the set up or accuracy of the accounting information (that may be an additional appointment they want to schedule with you as a follow up).
A checkup can be a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and enhance your relationship with existing or potential new clients. There is a good possibility that you will get new work (i.e. additional income) or referrals from the checkup either now or in the future.
Create Your Plan
First clarify and define your offer. Will it be a free checkup or not? I would recommend offering a free checkup since you will probably get a larger response. If you are going to offer a QuickBooks checkup for small businesses, how will you do the checkup and provide them with the information? Several options to consider include:
- Offer a 15 minute remote consult (or phone call) – this option is more time consuming but it is more personal allowing you to assess other needs or problems while you talk with them. You can let them know how you can help them solve their other problems or get more out of QuickBooks and schedule a follow up appointment.
- Create a short video – post it on YouTube, your blog or website and/or email it. You can use Jing to create short videos free and it is easy to use.
- Create a blog post or include it in your newsletter
- Record a webinar or podcast
In addition to offering the checkup to existing clients, consider how to target and reach other QuickBooks users (i.e. potential new clients). Do you want to target a specific industry? A certain size of business? How will you reach them? You may want to use ReferenceUSA to create your own mailing or contact list for free as explained in this article. To extend the offer to people, you could:
- Email or call existing clients
- Utilize social media – Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter
- Partner with a bank, Chamber, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or others – this helps them provide a useful benefit to their customers or members and helps you reach more potential clients
Regardless of how you plan to promote your offer, don’t forget to include a ‘call to action.’ You may want to make the offer for a limited time or number so they feel a sense of urgency to act now so they don’t miss out on the offer. Don’t forget to include information about how they can schedule or receive the information for their QuickBooks checkup.
Quick Checkup to Assess the Health
To perform the checkup, you want to look at the Product Information window as shown in the image below. If you are not able to see the information yourself, you can discuss it with the client (have them hit F2 to access it) or have them hit Print Screen, paste it into Word and email it to you.
A few key things to look at with general guidelines:
- File Size – for QuickBooks Pro or Premier, files around 150 MB may start to experience some problems. Definitely around 250 MB it may be time to consider starting a new data file. There are 3rd party programs to help create a new file and transfer lists, open balances and transactions or there are several people who provide this service.
- New in QuickBooks Accountant 2012 is the Period Copy (improved Condense) feature. It allows you to remove old data (replaced with summary entries) and significantly reduce the file size. Plus, this feature can remove accounts, customers, vendors, items, etc. which are now unused. Read this post about Creating a Period Copy File for more details.
Don’t forget to ask if they have other problems, questions or concerns about using QuickBooks and if they would like to schedule a appointment. Thank them and ask them to remember you in the future when they need assistance. Encourage them to let others know you are available and appreciate referrals! Good luck growing your business!
NOTE: This article has been updated from one originally published on The Sleeter Group’s QuickBooks and Beyond Blog.