Flourish in the finance field
Flourish in the finance field
Accounting courses icon

Bookkeepers’ Dilemmas: The Right and Wrong Ways to Work with Clients

A bookkeeper doesn’t just work with numbers. A large part of your job as a bookkeeper will revolve around working with people, observing certain laws and regulations, and adhering to a strict code of professional ethics. Not surprisingly, then, you may find yourself being confronted with professional dilemmas that don’t always balance out as easily as a client’s account.

Dilemma 1: Full Disclosure

You have a client who is in the same business as one of your previous clients. They are, in fact, direct competitors. Because your current client knows this, he often ask you to help him make business decisions based on what you know about his competitor’s (your previous client’s) finances.

How do you handle this?

The Right Way:

OPTION 2

Because you work with financial information that is central to the operations of your clients’ businesses, you always need to uphold a strict code of confidentiality. It is not only professionally ethical to do this, but you might also get into legal trouble if you share someone’s information with a third party without their consent.

Besides, how much do you think your current client is really going to trust you if they are led to believe that you don’t care about your previous clients’ confidentiality?

Dilemma 2: Layman’s Terms

Your client doesn’t understand anything about bookkeeping or accounts. When you do their books, it would be easier just to do it your way and make certain decisions without wasting your time trying to explain everything to your client first.

How do you handle this?

The Right Way:

OPTION 1

It is important that your client always knows what is going on in their books and that they remain in control of their finances. This is the best way to avoid conflict, to make sure your client’s wishes are directly executed, and that the work you are doing is exactly what they expect of you.

What’s more: withholding important information from a client might have disastrous consequences for you if anything goes wrong.

Dilemma 3: A White Lie

You’ve made a mistake in your client’s books! But, luckily, your client hasn’t noticed it and probably won’t notice it any time in the future either.

How do you handle this?

The Right Way:

OPTION 2

A bit of humility in admitting your mistakes might prevent eventual humiliation when your mistake is discovered by the client. Not only is it good for your rel