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The 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 line of business as one of your previous clients. They are, in fact, direct competitors. Because your current client knows this, he often asks 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?

Bookkeepers Dilemmas 1
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?

Bookkeepers Dilemmas 2
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?

Bookkeepers Dilemmas 3
The Right Way: OPTION 2

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.

Dilemma 4: Conflict Resolution

Your client always tells you that you are doing your job wrong, and then commands that you do it their way. From your professional experience, however, you know that what they want to do is incorrect. On the other hand, however, if you keep arguing then your client might fire you.

How do you handle this?

Bookkeepers Dilemmas 4
The Right Way: OPTION 2

It is important to acknowledge your client’s concerns, but you also have a professional duty to maintain a certain standard of work for your clients – despite what they might think is the best course of action. And if a client continues to be unmanageable, forcing you to compromise your professional integrity, then it might be time for you to fire them. Conflict with clients happens all the time. But like all kinds of conflict, it is how you deal with it that really matters. You should find a way to appease your client, and assure them that you have the experience and expertise to know what you are talking about

Dilemma 5: Working Yourself Out Of A Job

Your client is very disorganised. They don’t seem to have any system in place to organise their financial records. At the moment, they pay you an additional fee to sort everything out for them. You could, however, help them set up a system that would allow them to do the work themselves. But this might mean that they won’t need you for those services anymore.

How do you handle this?

Bookkeepers Dilemmas 05
The Right Way: OPTION 1

As a bookkeeper, it is your professional duty to perform your tasks to the best of your ability, even if this means that you eventually end up making some of your own work redundant.

Besides, if you can help them set up a good organising system that will save them time and money, you would be proving your worth as a top notch financial professional. Service like this leads to lasting professional relationships and the type of reputation that will potentially earn you new clients.

Learning About More Than Just Numbers

The basic skills you learn as a bookkeeper are important for starting a career in this profession. But as you can see, it is about more than just knowing which transactions to record in which columns of which ledger book.

A good bookkeeping or accounting course should teach you all about the ethical dimensions, client relations, and professional codes of conduct that make a bookkeeper a true professional.

Bookkeeping And Accounting Courses

To find out more about studying a Bookkeeping or Accounting Course at Oxbridge Academy, click here: 



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