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Should bookkeepers offer accounts payable and accounts receivable services?

Keeper of books. Protector of records. Guardian of the ledger. No title is enough to convey the importance of the bookkeeper's role to their clients. 

Bookkeepers provide their clients with a variety of financial services. Their mission is to keep their clients' records accurate and up-to-date: they record transactions, reconcile accounts, and provide up-to-date financial data about their clients' businesses. Bookkeepers also often give financial insights and advice and contribute to their clients' business strategies.

But many bookkeepers stop short of offering a service that their business clients usually really need and are also willing to pay for: accounts payable and receivable (AP/AR) management. 

If you're thinking, "Sure, I'd love to be able to offer more services but don’t have the time", this article has a solution that will let you do your clients' AP/AR in little to no time. So the answer to the question asked in the title is a resounding YES. Bookkeepers should offer AP/AR services to their clients.

But first:

What's accounts payable management?

Offering accounts payable management services means you'll:

  • handle paying your clients’ vendor and supplier invoices Ensure the invoices are accurate. 
  • Make sure bills are paid on time, not before they're due and not too late, to preserve cash flow.
  • Record all invoices and payments in the books.
  • Create payment approval workflows to maintain oversight and control over all payments. 

What's accounts receivable management?

Offering accounts receivable management means you'll:

  • Be in charge of invoicing your clients’ customers.
  • Make sure your clients’ customers pay their invoices on time and follow up on overdue payments.
  • Update the payments in the books. 
  • You may also want to offer advisory services on payment terms and cash flow management

What's in it for you?

Monetize on your clients’ demand for AP/AR services

There's expertise in managing AP/AR properly, and many small business owners don't have it or the time to develop it. Business owners have so much on their plate, and their focus is on the daily grind of running their business. 

As a result, they're either fumbling with their AP/AR, procrastinating with bill payments, missing due dates, or just being ineffective in their bill pay management. 

Small business owners want their dedicated bookkeeper to take financial responsibilities off their hands: A recent survey showed that 37% of small businesses expect their accountants and bookkeepers to help them with AP/AR. If you give them this service (and charge for it), you'll generate a new stream of revenue from your existing client base.

Offer a one-stop-shop bookkeeping service to gain a competitive edge

You're already providing bookkeeping services, so you have the tools and the know-how. Adding services to your core activity takes little cost and effort, but provides a better client experience. By adding AP/AR management services to your core activity, you can be a one-stop-shop, covering more of your clients' needs.

This competitive edge will help you stand out from other bookkeepers who only provide the basics to their clients. You'll be able to recruit more clients, get referrals from your existing clients and grow your practice. 

 

An opportunity to demonstrate your expertise as a bookkeeper

The accounts payable and receivable of a business impact its cash flow and financial health. Knowing how and when to pay the bills, choosing the best payment method, and raising red flags when payment terms can affect cash-flow - are all things that require expertise and experience.

Doing this for your clients will make a real difference for their success. It’ll help their growth in good times, keep them afloat in rougher times and make them better prepared for tax season. They'll notice the added value you bring to the table and thank you for it. And a happy client is the key to client retention.

The (not so) 'secret weapon' to efficiently manage AP/AR  

The days of manual bill pay are disappearing. With the right online solution, you can manage AP/AR for multiple clients online, with only a fraction of the time it used to take in the past. 

Melio's solution offers the best of all worlds for AP/AR management: one dashboard for all your clients, a simple interface, and integration with leading accounting software (QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, and FreshBooks). 

Melio has proven to reduce bill pay work time for bookkeepers substantially: for David Perry, the owner of Latitude Bookkeeping, it used to take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half to pay 10 bills per client. With Melio, it takes him only 5-10 minutes overall to handle the same scope.

Vendors insist on getting business checks? Melio will cut and send them for you

One of the most time-consuming chores for bookkeepers is handling checks for their clients. Melio teamed up with Evolve and SVB to rid you of it, once and for all: You can schedule an online payment with any payment method your client prefers - ACH, debit, or credit card, and the vendor will still get paid with a check issued by SVB or Evolve banks.

When you don't have to spend time cutting checks and reconciling accounts, you'll be able to add AP/AR management to your firm's services and boost your growth. If you're interested in knowing more about Melio's tailor-made service for bookkeepers, click right here.

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