Running a successful business is all about focusing on what you do best, and knowing when to hire or pay someone else do the rest. Think back to the 1980s, when corporate conglomerates were all the rage. Companies tried to be everything to everyone and, for example, the Quaker Oats company bought an Atari videogame developer in 1982. Needless to say, the oat conglomerate did not run its videogame subdivision well, and the acquired division folded within a year.
As a therapist, doing your own bookkeeping might feel as far apart from healing minds as oat production is from videogame development! But it’s worth considering whether now is the right time to outsource your bookkeeping. Below, we’ll cover three major questions to ask yourself regarding outsourcing your bookkeeping, or anything else for that matter:
- Are you too busy to keep your books?
- Is your bookkeeping not going well?
- Do you just hate bookkeeping? (We’re not offended — we’re used to clients who hate bookkeeping.)
Are You Too Busy to Keep Your Books?
Is your therapy practice ramping up, filling up bookings, or, even causing a waitlist? In this case, it absolutely behooves you to find a quality, affordable bookkeeping company (like us!) and open up some more therapy slots in lieu of bulldozing through your monthly transactions yourself.
Outsourcing is extremely effective when it pays for itself. Beyond that, you’ll have a team of professionals to contact if you’re ever in doubt about a bookkeeping issue, saving yourself countless hours of internet research.
On the other hand, maybe you’re struggling with bookings and you’re tearing out your hair trying to find a way to market your practice more effectively. Bookkeeping is going to eat up time that you could be spending brainstorming on how to reach more clients, or perhaps, engaging in some valuable self-care. Running a business is stressful in itself, and it can be even more stressful when you spend hours listening and responding to your clients’ troubles, absorbing their negative energy in order to help them.
Is Your Bookkeeping Not Going Well?
Everyone makes mistakes, and as a therapist you know that it’s best to try to avoid beating yourself up over them too much. We at TL;DR Accounting agree that obsessing over past mistakes can be very bad for your mental health.
In a more practical sense, though, there are two external reasons why bookkeeping mistakes should be avoided when possible. First, though you may be good at forgiving yourself for mistakes, there’s no guarantee that the IRS will let you off the hook without charging you costly penalties (if the IRS is after you now, contact us for help!). Second, if a single bookkeeping mistake is not caught in a timely manner, it can snowball over time. This can result in misleading quarterly reports, leading to poor financial decision-making or even bank overdrafts.
We’re not here to scare you. On the contrary, we’d like to comfort you in saying that there is help for you out there! If you find yourself making frequent mistakes while bookkeeping, or if you simply suspect that you’re making mistakes, it’s likely time to outsource. The sooner you outsource, the less time it’s going to take your bookkeeper to de-tangle any historical errors in your books so that your numbers are clean going forward.
Do You Just Hate Bookkeeping?
Just because you’ve made the brave leap towards starting your own practice, it doesn’t have to mean that you’re obligated to do all the grunt-work. Maybe there’s some grunt-work that you like. If you enjoy cleaning the office, go for it! Or maybe you get a special joy out of updating your calendar — also perfectly fine.
Bookkeeping isn’t quite the same as vacuuming or updating your calendar though. There are several reasons why you might just dislike it. First, it can be stressful because arcane or vaguely-worded laws are often involved, necessitating frequent judgment calls. Second, it can take many hours just to nail down the basics (if you want to nail down the basics, check out our Fundamentals of Bookkeeping article). Third, you chose therapy because of a special desire and ability to help humans, and bookkeeping is less about humans and a lot more about numbers. It’s okay to not be super-excited about numbers, because there are other people like us who are!
Bonus Side-Note: Are you using Excel to do your bookkeeping? If so, we highly recommend switching to software built specifically for bookkeeping, such as our personal favorite, QuickBooks. If you’re currently on Excel and decide to make the switch, we can assist you during your transition from Excel to Quickbooks. Contact us for a quote!
TL;DR: Your specialty is therapy, and it’s best to stick to what you’re good at. Specifically, you might find yourself too busy to keep your books, feel unqualified, or simply don’t like to do it. When in doubt, source it out, or at least look into doing so. Most companies outsource their therapy, so why not outsource your bookkeeping? Hooray for tradesies!