You’ve just been contacted by a potential bookkeeping client, which is very exciting for your firm. But what do you do next? Do you just jump into executing their project? No, you shouldn’t.

Whenever you have a new lead, you need to clearly understand their business, financial habits, and expectations before diving into their accounts or even giving them a quote.

That’s where a bookkeeping client onboarding questionnaire comes in.

It’s a much more efficient way to learn about your clients to serve them better, and it’ll save you so much stress.

You’ll learn more about this client onboarding questionnaire and how to create one below.

Bookkeeping Client Onboarding Questionnaire: What Is It?

It’s a structured set of questions used to gather essential information about your client’s business, their bookkeeping practices, and expectations. Think of it as a roadmap to a successful client relationship. By streamlining your workflow, it leads to a happier client experience.

Benefits of Using a Bookkeeping Client Onboarding Questionnaire

Some of the benefits include:

i. Increased Efficiency

By collecting critical information upfront, you can streamline the onboarding process, saving you and your client valuable time. No more chasing down clients via back-and-forth emails or phone calls to get basic details. This allows you to hit the ground running and start delivering value sooner.

ii. Cutting Down on Mistakes

Starting with thorough and precise information helps reduce the chances of making errors or leaving out important details during data entry or bookkeeping tasks.

iii. Improved Client Communication

This questionnaire improves client communication by setting clear expectations and ensuring everyone is on the same page from the outset. It fosters a strong and transparent working relationship that can result in a more satisfied and loyal client base.

iv. Enhanced Understanding of Client Needs

Finally, a client onboarding questionnaire provides valuable insights into your client’s business operations and financial health. It allows you to tailor your bookkeeping services to their specific needs and goals. This personalized approach not only enhances the quality of your work but also strengthens the client’s trust in your expertise.

Questions To Include in Your Bookkeeping Client Onboarding Questionnaire

Now that you understand the benefits, let’s explore how to build your own effective questionnaire. Here are the key sections and questions to consider including in yours:

a. Basic Information

The first section establishes clear contact details and tax filing specifics for your client, so you should collect information like their:

  1. Contact information: Collect the client’s name, address, phone number, and email address to establish your primary contact for client communication.
  2. Company information: Gather essential details like the business name, address, phone number, and email address.
  3. Tax information: Obtain the client’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), tax filing deadlines, and preferred tax filing method. This information is crucial for accurate tax preparation and filing.

b. Questions About Your Client’s Business

Next, you need to understand the nature of your client’s business and its legal structure so you can tailor your bookkeeping approach. Learn more about their business by asking the following questions:

  1. How would they describe their business in a few sentences? – The answer to this would help you understand their industry and overall operations so you can tailor your approach.
  2. What type of entity is their business? (LLC, S-Corp, etc.) – Identifying their business structure impacts tax structure and reporting.
  3. How long has the business been in existence? – Determine how long the business has been operating, as it can help you understand its financial history.
  • Questions About Your Client’s Bookkeeping

Now, ask about their current bookkeeping habits, as it’ll provide useful data that comes in handy when executing their project. Ask questions like:

  1. What is their monthly gross sale? (on average) – Get a ballpark figure of the client’s average monthly gross sales. This provides a general sense of the volume of transactions you’ll be dealing with.
  2. How many employees do they have? Are any of these contractors? If so, how many? – Find out how many employees the client has, including any contractors. It would help determine payroll needs.
  3. Do they outsource payroll? Check if they outsource payroll processing so you can avoid duplication of effort if payroll is already handled elsewhere.
  4. How many bank and/or credit card accounts do they have? Knowing the number of accounts they have will impact the data collection process and determine the workload.
  5. Do they use any bookkeeping or accounting software? If yes, which? Ask if the client uses any existing bookkeeping or accounting software. Knowing this helps determine compatibility with your tools or if there’s any need for training.
  6. How many transactions per month do they have on average? (Both bank and credit card accounts) –  Get an idea of the average number of monthly transactions (deposits, withdrawals, etc.) across the client’s bank and credit card accounts. This helps you assess the complexity of their bookkeeping needs.
  7. Are their tax returns current? When was the last time they filed taxes? This ensures they are up-to-date with tax obligations.
  8. How are invoices prepared? Do they want you to do these? Understand the client’s current system for generating invoices and paying bills. Clarify whether invoice creation is part of your service scope.
  9. How are bills paid? Do they want you to do these? Determine if they require bill payment services.
  10. Do they keep inventory? Ask if the client keeps inventory and, if so, what system they use to track it. This is because inventory management may require specialized bookkeeping considerations.
  11. Do they report sales tax? – Find out if the client is required to report sales tax and if they need assistance with this.
  12. What other bookkeeping services do they need? – Are there any specific bookkeeping services they require beyond basic recordkeeping? If you don’t offer the additional services they are looking for, you can always outsource it to other competent professionals or recommend them elsewhere.
  • Questions Around Engagement

Finally, you need to ensure you’re both on the same page in terms of timeline and mode of communication. That’s why you ask the following:

  1. When do they need you to start? – Establish the client’s preferred start date for bookkeeping services.
  2. What are their preferred communication channel(s)? – Determine the client’s preferred communication channels (email, phone calls, etc.) to ensure smooth information exchange.

Now, here’s a clean template you can use. Note that this is a sample template, meaning you have to customize it to fit the specific needs of your firm. So, copy and paste this into another document, then edit it for your use.

Bookkeeping Client Onboarding Questionnaire Guide Template

Welcome to [Your Bookkeeping Firm Name]!

We’re excited to get started with helping you manage your finances. To ensure a smooth onboarding process,  this questionnaire will gather some key information about your business and bookkeeping needs.

Please note: We’ll keep all information you provide confidential.

Part 1: Basic Information

  •  Contact Information:
    • Name:
    • Address:
    • Phone Number:
    • Email Address:
  • Company Information:
    • Business Name:
    • Business Address:
    • Phone Number:
    • Email Address:
  • Tax Information:
    • Employer Identification Number (EIN):
    • Tax Filing Deadline (Month/Year):
    • Preferred Tax Filing Method (Cash, Accrual, etc.):

Part 2: About Your Business

  • Briefly describe your business and what it does:
  • What type of business entity are you (Sole Proprietorship, LLC, S-Corp, etc.)?
  • How long has your business been operating?

Part 3: Bookkeeping Practices

  • What is your average monthly gross sales?
  • How many employees do you have (including contractors, if any)?
  • Do you outsource payroll processing (Yes/No)?
  • How many bank accounts and credit card accounts do you have (total)?
  • Do you currently use any bookkeeping or accounting software (Yes/No)? If yes, which software?
  • On average, how many transactions (deposits, withdrawals, etc.) do you have per month across all your accounts?
  • Are your tax returns current? If so, when was the last time you filed?
  • How do you currently handle generating invoices (if applicable)? Would you like us to manage this for you? (Yes/No)
  • How do you currently pay bills? Would you like us to manage this for you? (Yes/No)
  • Do you keep inventory (Yes/No)? If yes, what system do you use to track it?
  • Are you required to report sales tax (Yes/No)? Do you need assistance with this? (Yes/No)
  • Are there any other bookkeeping services you require beyond basic recordkeeping? (Please specify)

Part 4: Engagement Details

  • When would you like your bookkeeping services to begin?
  • What is your preferred method of communication (email, phone calls, client portal, etc.)?

Thank you for your time!

Please submit the completed questionnaire by [date] or feel free to contact us at [phone number] or [email address] if you have any questions. We’ll be in touch shortly to discuss your next steps.


Additional Tips for Effective Implementation

  1. Keep it concise: Don’t overwhelm your client with an overly lengthy questionnaire. Focus on the essentials.
  2. Offer multiple response formats: Include a mix of question types (multiple choice, open-ended) to make it user-friendly.
  3. Offer an electronic submission option: Allow them to submit via an online form or email option to expedite the process.
  4. Review the information thoroughly: Take time to carefully review the completed questionnaire to identify any missing information or areas requiring clarification.
  5. Schedule a follow-up meeting: Use the questionnaire as a springboard for a follow-up meeting to discuss their needs in more detail.
  6. Use a workflow or client onboarding software to make it seamless: Consider using a client onboarding workflow or dedicated software to manage the process.

Use Financial Cents to Onboard Your Clients Seamlessly

Onboarding and managing your clients properly is very important. If you drop the ball in this regard, you’ll find it hard to serve them well, leading to poor customer retention. To manage clients effectively, you need Financial Cents.

Our software makes it easy for accounting and bookkeeping firms to onboard new clients, run their practice, and stay on top of client deadlines.

Here are some key features: