The importance of getting the knowledge ‘out of the boss’s head’ with Helen Bower from Adder Bookkeeping.

A 3 minute read

Handing over responsibility might feel counterintuitive as a business owner, like handing over your newborn baby, but it could give you the freedom to focus ON working on your business instead of IN it.

Our members often report saving tons of time when creating proposals with GoProposal. But could you save more time, and make your bookkeeping business thrive by bringing some of your team on board with the software too?

We caught up with Helen Bower, Owner of Adder Bookkeeping, a firm based in Worcestershire who aim to delight their customers by being approachable, trustworthy, and supportive (amazing, right?) to find out how she did just that.

Knowing when to grow your business

Helen was inspired to grow her practice, after ten years going solo. Newly armed with cloud accounting software she hired two employees and together they managed 16 clients.

“I’m a high level bookkeeper. I wanted to stay as a bookkeeping practice rather than expanding as an accountancy firm, because there are loads of accountancy firms. I saw a hole in the market for decent bookkeeping. And I like being a big fish in a small pond.”

Helen was business minded enough to see the gap her firm could fill in the market, and business started to thrive.

Configuring pricing to a growing business

But she had a problem with her pricing. She was advised to look into value fixed pricing and knew that was the right model for her business, she just didn’t know how to implement it.

“I didn’t know how to work out fixed pricing on my own. I was aware of one other provider at the time, and not only were they expensive, I would have been required to do a lot of training on their system, which I didn’t have time for.”

A serendipitous moment happened for Helen when she attended a Receipt Bank practitioner’s lunch back in 2017.

On the brink of expanding her business, she asked her peers if anyone used fixed pricing and if so, how do they do it. She spoke to an accountant who told her about the new proposal software his company was using.

Helen signed up with GoProposal later that same day and never looked back.

As a result, she now has a 6 person strong team serving 120 clients who all pay a fixed fee that’s reviewed every 6 months.

So how did using GoProposal help her grow the business so much in the past four years?

“GP is invaluable to me because;

  1. It saves me TONS of admin time. I haven’t got to produce a letter of engagement. I used to produce these as a bespoke word doc for every client which is crazy!
  2. The customer interfacing ability is amazing. Clients tell me other bookkeepers have a meeting and give them a price and they’ve no idea what that price is based on. They love the transparency, and the breakdown of what the cost is for means the fee doesn’t look that bad to them.
  3. It’s great for our fee reviews, which we now do every 6 months and can show the client exactly why the fee has changed if it has.”

Why up-skill your team on GoProposal?

Helen knew she was a brilliant bookkeeper, but she surprised herself in her abilities as a business owner too.

“Now I have to think about HR, staff development, marketing, and everything else and I like that. I’ve enjoyed the journey from bookkeeper to business owner, but it isn’t for everyone. You have to know what’s right for you.”

Attributing her success to her passion for providing value to the profession and the ‘great gang of ladies’ on her team, Helen admits work doesn’t really feel like work for her.

“Sometimes people fall into things and they haven’t looked at their whole life.”

Although she loves her work, Helen keeps her life goals in mind as she drives her business forward.

“My ‘Big Hairy Goal,’ as my business coach calls it, is to have a strong and scalable business that I can sell one day, and that will be my pension.”

In order to realise her goal, she’s now training two of her staff on GoProposal; a bookkeeper able to onboard clients themselves and build new proposals, and an administrator, who can send fee reviews.

“Information no longer stops in the boss’s head, so I don’t have that bottleneck anymore.”

Other benefits of automating the process

Helen has built her GoProposal app in such a way that means she has a watertight system to pass on to her employees that she’s made her own;

“I created a really simple form to send to clients before they meet with us to fill in the basic figures needed to build their proposal. It enables me to give them an accurate proposal at the time of the meeting, making the process even more efficient for me and for them. They can see where I’m getting my figures from based on the work they require.”

She’s also taken GoProposal’s customer interfacing ability one step further by installing a TV screen in her office meeting room.

Now, instead of huddling around a laptop, prospective clients can see their proposal being built before their eyes on the big screen, making the process fully transparent.

“I was doing too much for free,” Helen admitted, like many bookkeepers. Having the functionality to add bespoke one off fees to proposals has eliminated this risk.

“GoProposal is invaluable, I wouldn’t be able to run my practice the way I do without it in terms of time saving, delegating and how much customers like it. And they’ve not often seen it before they come to me.”

If you’re feeling like the bottleneck in your own firm, why not take a leaf out of Helen’s book and train a staff member or two on GoProposal? Still not convinced? Check out this post if you need a little inspiration on how to put your team members in the driving seat.

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