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Six Essential KPIs For Efficient Cloud Bookkeeping

GUEST BLOG FROM RECEIPT BANK

Do you know what is really going on in your firm?

Accounting firms have tracked KPIs internally by measuring financial data related to revenues and expenses. However, new technology and processes give bookkeepers the chance to focus on new information.

This data can reveal actionable KPIs that can be constantly improved. And marginal gains in these areas lead to real results for your bottom line. They can also be adapted to the specific goals of your firm.

Here we reveal the six KPIs you can’t afford not to track.

 

  1. Bookkeeper to Client Ratio

The advent of cloud software means that it is now possible for bookkeepers to service a greater number of clients with ease.

Previously the number of clients serviced by each bookkeeper was fixed. Now, however, automation software such as Receipt Bank means that bookkeepers are able to take on a growing number of clients. The number of clients per bookkeeper then becomes a measure of how effectively they are working with the technology.

How It Helps:

Giving members of your bookkeeping team a target metric for the number of clients to service provides a best practice target. It also increases competition to increased productivity further.

This also enables you to measure the cost of servicing each client and the value of your bookkeepers.

Bookkeepers increasing the number of clients they handle will boost revenue by generating more fees with the same amount of fixed staffing and overhead costs.

How To Track And Optimise:

Record and measure the number of clients per bookkeeper on a month by month basis.

For maximum efficiency we recommend fees generated from bookkeeping staff should be 3 times their direct costs.

For example:

  1. Your average client generates £400 in fees per month.
  2. Your direct staff and overhead costs per bookkeeper is £3,000.
  3. Each bookkeeper needs to generate revenues of at least £9,000.

At £400 per client, you can see the ideal ratio needs to be 1:23

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Ibeo, a Dutch accounting firm, have been able to optimise this metric with great success, and serve over 500 clients with a team of just 16, a bookkeeper to client ratio of 1:31.

  1.  Monthly Recurring Revenue

When clients are billed on a fixed-fee structure rather than timesheets, it creates a steady revenue stream that can be both counted upon, and optimised.

How It Helps:

As well as allowing firm to better forecast future monthly revenues by creating a smooth pattern of fee generation, fixed fee pricing makes it easier to track the effect of internal efficiency gains.

Reducing the production time for each client can increase monthly recurring revenue by giving bookkeepers more resource to service additional clients.

How To Track And Optimise:

Including a monthly bookkeeping revenue category within your management accounts and consider adoption of prepaid monthly direct debits with GoCardless.

If a bookkeeper’s client ratio is not high enough, monthly fees for clients may not be set at the right level.

This should be in line with the bookkeeper to client ratio, aim for monthly recurring revenues to be three times fixed costs.

  1. Average Revenue / Bookkeeper

To get the most out of team members it is important to track their individual productivity and profitability.

Measuring the average revenue per bookkeeper allows you to:

  • Assess whether they are all operating to the designated company standard.
  • Highlights star performers who may be able to provide insight into best practice
  • Identifies team members who require further development

How It Helps:

Reducing the time spent on each client by a bookkeeper can be used to service more clients, which will increase revenues.

Setting targets for team members creates a clear goal for them to aim for and increases accountability.

How To Track And Optimise:

Within management information keep a monthly record of which clients are assigned to which staff member, and their associated fees generated.

You can also motivate staff by offering bonuses and incentives to bookkeepers who meet and exceed targets.

  1. Average Production Cost / Client

Tracking the average production cost per client enables you to assess whether your pricing is set accurately by considering whether the fees charged to clients meet your profit expectations.

This can be worked out by dividing the total staff cost by the number of clients.

How It Helps:

The average production cost per client provides a rough basis for pricing client engagements.

This will reveal the profile of a “typical” client, and will help identify those who take up more resource and time and may need to have their fees tweaked accordingly.

How To Track And Optimise:

Work out your total bookkeeping staff costs and divide that by the number of bookkeeping clients.

If clients are taking up additional bookkeeper resource consider ways to service them more efficiently or increase their fees.

We recommend that clients should be charged 3 times what it costs to service them. This allows for ⅓ to cover direct staff costs, ⅓ for overheads and for the final ⅓ to be recognised as profit.

  1. Client Efficiency

Client efficiency is a measure of whether clients are submitting data in a complete and timely manner, in line with service-level agreements.

It is important to assess whether clients are sending invoices in good time, as failure to do so can:

  • Reduce productivity through disruption to firm workflows – particularly in time periods related to tax and filing deadlines.
  • Reduce profitability due to lost time
  • Increase the likelihood of receipts being lost – recent research from FreeAgent reveals that around £250 million worth of tax deductible expenses are not being submitted by freelancers and micro businesses in the UK.

How It Helps:

Reviewing client efficiency enables you to:

  • Identify troublesome clients who send in incomplete or late information.
  • Enable access to real-time data so allows firms to give up to date strategic advice
  • Facilitates firms running efficiently by having to spend less time chasing data

How To Track And Optimise:

Incorporate a process which makes it simple for clients to submit receipts regularly.

Automating this will make this easy for clients to follow, and will ensure that staff time is not wasted on manually chasing this data.

Receipt Bank allows for the submission of data through a number of different solutions (email, apps, post), making the process easy for clients.

As well as having robust automation features, Receipt Bank, includes Practice Platform, which enables firms to have full visibility on the average efficiency on a per client basis.

Clients should be incentivised to use the new system in order to increase efficiency savings

Alternatively, clients may be penalised for late submission or not complying with new processes.

Targets should be set within service level agreements.

  1. Number Of Client Referrals + Exits

This is based on the number of new clients a firm takes on each month less those that have terminated their engagement.

How It Helps:

It allows you to analyse client satisfaction, organic growth, and also measure dissatisfaction.

Cumulatively, this can give a rounded picture of practice growth and performance.

How To Track And Optimise:

Measure on a monthly basis, checking with each new client how they found your firm.

Incorporate a client referral scheme by offering incentives for existing clients and staff. This could be a discount on fees or a one off bonus for bookkeepers.

Focus on the onboarding of new clients to make sure they understand your processes and the benefits for their business.

Clients who submit receipts regularly are likely to be more engaged and less likely to leave.

Australian firm Oreon Partners has managed to onboard 2-3 new clients per day based on their referral scheme and client testimonial videos.

Conclusion

When it comes to managing your firm, knowledge is power. Make sure you know what is going on in your practice with these essential KPIs.

Receipt Bank gives you the tools to optimise your processes. Not only do our smart automation tools help you boost your bookkeeper to client ratio, but you can also track your client efficiency in real time.

Additionally, Receipt Bank partners all work with our experienced account managers who can assist you, whatever your goals.

It all comes down to the numbers. Take control of your firm today.

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About the Author[dt_gap height=”30″ /]

Receipt Bank started life in 2010 when founder Michael, routinely bugged by his accountant to bring his books up to date, found the then called Receipt Farm…

We are recommended by hundreds of bookkeeping and accountancy firms around the world. We are used and trusted by thousands of businesses. And we are still working on the same problem – how to keep reducing the time required to move a bill, invoice or receipt into the system where the data is required.

Learn more here

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