How Can I Help Clients Stick to a Budget?

No matter how big or small your client’s business is, effective budgeting can make or break it. Part of effective budgeting is not just setting an appropriate budget, but sticking to it. That’s where you as their accountant or bookkeeper come in.

Whether your clients use accounting software or spreadsheets, have that all-important conversation with your clients about managing their budget.

Getting finances right is the first building block of effective budgeting

Setting a budget, let alone sticking to it, is going to be a challenge if your clients’ finances aren’t accurate.

Your clients will have varying degrees of experience in bookkeeping. This affects their understanding of what accurate bookkeeping looks like, but also the importance of it.

It’s simple. Bad data equals ineffective budget management. So how can you help your clients to get it right?

 

The simplest solution is moving your clients over to accounting software or systems they can use easily. Accounting software can minimise human error, such as incorrect dates, values that don’t add up, or missing information.

It makes it easier for clients to review their finances, and make well-informed financial decisions, based on accurate data.

As their accountant it also means you can spend less unpicking queries, and more time supporting your client. Learn more about how Pandle works to reduce errors in your clients’ entries.

 

Creating good bookkeeping habits.

 

Getting clients into a regular routine of recording their finances will help get them closer to more effective budget management. Encourage them to set aside time to record their expenses, review invoices and balance their books. Even a simple calendar reminder can help your clients to get into the habit.

If your client has multiple employees accessing and using their financial spreadsheet, help them standardise their processes. Everyone inputting and accessing data should use the same formats and processes for categorisation, references and dates. You’ll be able to help clients find and use their data more easily, as well as improving its accuracy.

 

accounting software with Unlimited Users

Using well-built reports to make better-informed decisions

Good data equals great reporting! Once clients are on their way to accurate, up-to-date finances, it’s time to introduce them to reporting.

No matter how they access them, from pivot tables to pre-built reports, clients benefit from understanding their financial business reports.

The number of ways to review finances in a report can be overwhelming. Realistically clients won’t use everything that’s available to them.

What’s important is ensuring they’re aware of their options, and then steer them to what they really need.

In Pandle, users can easily plan ahead, see trends, and set cash goals. For clients that want to get into the details rather than a snapshot view, Pandle supports that too. All financial reports export easily into Excel, so your clients can drill further into the figures.

The full breakdown of Pandle’s reporting features is available here, but as a quick starter they include:

  • Profit & Loss – A basic look at your client’s financial position
  • Balance Sheet – Keeping your clients on top of their assets and liabilities
  • Trial Balance – Search income, expenses, assets and liabilities by time period
  • Cash Flow – Historic transactions and forecasting tools
  • Payables – A view of supplier payments and due dates
  • Receivables – Review which invoices are due and when

Software to save your clients time and to support better budgeting

Bookkeeping is a necessity to keep your clients’ businesses operational. The trouble is, most clients want to spend time driving their business, not drowning in financial admin.

The key here is helping them understand that neglecting the bookkeeping only slows clients down in the long run.

This is where accounting software can really come into its own.

 

Simple bookkeeping software which takes care of the heavy-lifting will save your clients hours in admin. It frees them up to focus on the business without worrying about dropping the financial ball.

Pandle has a range of automated features, all developed to make the process as pain free and straightforward as possible for you and your clients.

Take the Payment Reminder feature. Not only can clients automate payment reminders, they can also control how many reminders are sent and when. No more chasing invoices. It’s good for their cash flow, and good news for you managing their accounts.

Another time-saving automation is Pandle’s payment allocation feature. You clients won’t need to spend time matching transactions, Pandle does it automatically. Have that, bank reconciliation.

It’s all about keeping your clients’ books up to date. Real-time bookkeeping means better data, more accurate reporting, and more meaningful budget management. It’s a no brainer.

Help your clients to identify areas that they can make savings in

Using reporting tools will help your clients spot where they could pull back on their spending, or even where they could be spending more.

Budget management isn’t all about making savings. It’s also about making sure clients maximise their budget to get the best possible results for their business.

Your clients could be anywhere on the scale, from nervous spenders to reckless splurgers. Effective budget management is all about establishing balance to drive business performance.

What’s in a budget anyway?

A budget needs to work for your clients’ business, not the other way around. Generally set annually, your clients’ business priorities will help decide how often they should be reviewing their budget.

Starting a new business might mean a client encounters unexpected costs, and needs to review budgets more regularly while getting their business off the ground.

Even established businesses, especially in economic uncertainty, might need to review their budget more often than they used to.

Sticking to a budget doesn’t mean setting it once a year and doggedly sticking to it.

 

That isn’t always the most effective strategy. Encourage clients to set a budget review that works for their specific situation. That way, your client is in a routine that enables them to deal with unexpected costs or slowdowns.

If the budget isn’t working for your client, help them to reset. Not sticking to a budget isn’t always a failure, it might simply mean that something totally unexpected happened. Such as a global pandemic.

With accurate reporting, your client is able to get to the bottom of why that is, faster. Has your client been too tight on the purse strings in the first place, setting themselves up for failure?

This is where good data and reporting help clients see their finances objectively, and set realistic budgets. It makes managing budgets seem less impossible.

Make sure your clients share the budget with key stakeholders

The budget only works if clients are communicating with those that share responsibility for it. It seems simple, but so many businesses make the mistake of setting the budget in isolation!

Help them see that in doing so, they’re missing out on valuable insights from other business areas.  This is a really easy one to get right, but can be damaging if it’s missed.

 

Download the Pandle Mobile App

Pandle Mobile App Play Store
Pandle Mobile App Store

If you know, you know

How much your client is motivated to stick to budgeting will vary. One of the simplest ways to support clients with budget management is to educate them on the value of it. It may sound obvious, but sometimes the basics can get overlooked.

Your knowledge and expertise are why your clients hired you. It could be as little as including budget management as a rolling agenda item in your meetings, or a timely email to remind them to report on spend versus budget.

Those light-touch actions can be all it takes to transform a reluctant or newbie budgeter into a considered budget manager.

Learn more about using Pandle with your clients, or talk to one of the team by using the Live Chat button on screen.


James Carver

Qualified to AAT level 3, I'm currently studying towards level 4. An experienced bookkeeper, I also enjoy playing golf, football, and running.


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