bookkeeping — it's just data-entry, right?

One of the things that comes up for me when starting up with a new bookkeeping client, is the question of how long will it take, and how much will it cost—and before I can answer, I'm told: It shouldn't take long (and of course, not cost much)—it is, after all, just data-entry, right?

Well, that's part of it, entering the data—
entering which data, in what form, and (before I get started) entering it to where exactly? 

Bookkeeping describes your business in financial terms from the inside out.

To do that:

  • We'll need to establish a Chart of Accounts that matches your business (and depending on your business, establish a number of other lists, like Item Lists (even if you what you sell is a service), Customer Lists, Class Lists (classes can be projects or customer jobs if you work with a customer on more than one job; classes enable you to get more detail about expenses and income) and so on—We'll translate the vocabulary and language of your business to your books.

  • Also, we'll identify the procedures and people whose workflow impacts the data to be entered—like expense reports, timesheets and other payroll info, petty cash, cash register reporting, customer invoicing, paying bills and so on—I'll need to know about the work and documentation involved in every aspect of your business in order to enter the financial transactions generated.

  • We'll decide on a routine of data delivery—how and on what schedule will documents get to me, or will I access them?

Note: The more granular the level of detail we establish, the more flexible the structure, and informative the reporting will be.

So, we establish the structure ,and the data will get entered into it.

And, if nothing in your business changes, grows or improves, from that moment on, it will just be data-entry.