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Stand Out as a Bookkeeper: 10 Tips for Superior Communication Skills

Aug 3

Written by:
8/3/2012 8:09 AM  RssIcon

As a bookkeeper, you're providing essential bookkeeping services for a variety of businesses. But did you realize that you're also providing a communication service?

Many of the frustrations experienced between business owners and bookkeepers comes down to poor communication. Because bookkeeping is a critical part of any business, good communication skills are vital in this area. Important financial information needs to be presented properly to clients so that it makes sense, is useful and meaningful, they understand what is going on with their business, and allows them to make good decisions.

This could be your advantage. Your superior communication skills could make you stand out among your competition. This is an essential trait that potential clients are looking for and there's no doubt that referrals and word-of-mouth will bring more business your way.

Practice these 10 tips and let them be your competitive advantage:

1. A positive and respectful attitude.

Set the tone of your conversation. If you're having a bad day, if there's any negativity associated with the conversation, all of this should be put aside. For best communication, try to keep the emotions out of the way. When a negative confrontation is necessary, mix the negative news with positive news; start and end the conversation on a positive note. Do not speak when angry. When emotions are running high, it is best to postpone important conversations if possible.

2. Get to know your clients.

Find out what is important to them; this can help you improve your level of work and guide you in the services you provide. Give them the service they want and they will be satisfied.

3. Determine the preferred means of communication and when.

Some like email, some prefer a phone conversation. When you can, use their preferred method. If your client calls you, call them back. If they send you an email, reply to their email. Don't mix up the method of communication. Also, be respectful of sensitive information and decide the best method to maintain privacy. Finally, determine when to communicate. Are there certain times of the day that the client doesn't want to be disturbed? A restaurant owner won’t appreciate a phone call in the middle of their lunch rush. Equally, you have your own set work hours. Discuss contact times that work best ahead of time.

4. Sound professional.

How a person communicates impacts how others perceive that person professionally and personally. If you sound professional, your clients will see you and your work as professional. This applies to both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Verbal Communication:

  • Speak clearly. If people are asking you to repeat yourself, try to do a better job of articulating yourself in a better manner.
  • Avoid raising your voice. Some tend to yell when they are especially passionate about an issue or trying to get a point across.
  • Pronounce your words correctly. People will judge your competency through your vocabulary. If you aren’t sure of how to say a word, don’t use it.
  • Use the right words. If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, don’t use it. Avoid slang words.
  • Slow your speech down. People will perceive you as nervous and unsure of yourself if you talk too fast.

Nonverbal Communication:

This applies to all written words, such as emails, spreadsheets or reports. When structuring your written forms of communication, keep these in mind:

  • Decide what type of written correspondence is the best for the situation and decide who your audience is. This will determine the message, structure and tone.
  • Be aware that the tone of a conversation can often get lost in an email.
  • Break up your text so that it is easy to read. You want your recipient to be able to pick out the key information by just scanning the document. 
  • Brush up on your spelling and grammar skills. By providing your clients with proofed, error-free writing, they will see your professionalism in the project.
  • Proof-read and ensure the information that you are sending out is organized and mistake-free. 

5. Don't waste time.

Plan ahead and organize your message so it's clear and concise. Try to collate and deal with communications in one go, rather than making multiple requests with multiple conversations. Don't waste their time - or yours.

6. Show an interest.

Don't be distracted, show boredom or a lack of interest in the conversation. Do not constantly think about what will be said next or focus on other activities; make sure there is no competition for your attention like other people talking nearby. The client should feel as though they have your undivided attention. And do not interrupt when they are speaking. If you must say something, make a mental or quick written note and speak when they have finished speaking.

7. Listen. But really listen.

Active, effective listening is harder than you think. When you listen, you're understanding the message. And if you're not sure, ask and clarify. Clear your mind of all other thoughts and concerns and listen intently when others are speaking. 

8. Confirm the message.

If you were listening, you may think you have a thorough understanding of the message that was being presented. But to be on the safe side, paraphrase and repeat what the client has said to ensure understanding. They will have confidence in you if they know that you are understanding them and their needs. Show them that they and their business are at the top of your priority list.

9. Be accessible and responsive. Maintain regular contact.

Make it easy to communicate. Regular communication keeps you connected with your clients and lets them know you are on the job for them. Be sure to let them know when you have questions, and keep them informed. Respond to your clients soon as possible. If you can’t respond to requests within a reasonable time frame, then at least acknowledge the request. Let them know that you received their message, you're busy at the moment but will get back to them by a certain time. Don't leave them hanging with an unanswered message.

10. Be honest and build trust.

Mistrust can impede communication. Always tell the truth in your business dealings. Not only will it be easier when the truth is told, it improves the relationship with your clients. Establishing trust in business is an important aspect of being successful.

Your entire service is based on communication whether it's face-to-face, via email, over the phone, online, or through email. Let these tips guide you to become a highly respected, in demand, professional bookkeeper.

 

Copyright ©2012


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postheadericon Recent Comments

Re: 5 Tips on How to be a Good Client for Your Bookkeeper
I hope all clients see this article!! THANK YOU for putting these simple tips out there. I feel like sometimes I am not taken seriously enough.
Re: Bookkeeping Basics for the New Entrepreneur and the 5 Mistakes You Need To Avoid
Great blog post! I can agree with everything mentioned here. Every business, regardless of size, needs some kind of bookkeeping system, whether it's manual or digital. In addition, every bookkeeper needs to be trained by a certified bookkeeping trainer. Bookkeeping training is really important because of the skills and experience it provides to all the bookkeeping students. In turn, this minimizes the risk for all the mistakes mentioned in your blog and ensures smooth-sailing. I look forward to reading more from you.
Re: Bookkeeping Quotes - How to Communicate Clearly!
Hi Linda
We are about to launch the quote - Look for more information over the upcoming days.
Re: Bookkeeping Quotes - How to Communicate Clearly!
Is there any word on when the quoting tool will be available?
Tks, Linda
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