Wednesday, October 31, 2007

2007 Review of Client Write-Up Systems

Write-Up And Sanity Are Not Mutually Exclusive Service Makes a Comeback as Technologies Improve Productivity

Write-up services have long been one of the core offerings of year-round accounting firms. Whether performed monthly, quarterly or periodically, client write-up is not an exact process, per se, but often includes entering transactions like bills, invoices, periodic expenses, bank reconciliation and asset treatments, with the end-goal of producing financial statements that explain the fiscal health of the entity. Write-up is often joined by other periodic but technically independent tasks such as after-the-fact payroll, sales tax compliance and other issues. As such, it is an excellent way to keep in contact with clients, which can lead to additional services and revenues.

But write-up has fluctuated in popularity among accountants over the past few years, especially since the boom of self-service accounting software in the later 1990s. The reason why is pretty easy to figure out, too: Many SMB products made it easy for clients to royally mess up their books, so write-up turned into a form of forensic accounting. Gone are the days when the work was basically after-the-fact accounting and clients would just bring in their boxes of receipts, their check ledgers, bills and bank statements. With clients entering transactions themselves, and sometimes editing them without an audit trail, or posting incorrectly and making other errors, the software would give them incorrect feedback on the financial condition of their business.

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