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Onboarding:
The First 90 Days with Kaizen

Building a foundation for success.

Doug Schaen, Business Solutions Director, walks us through the Kaizen onboarding process and why it's so important.

The 5 Stages of Onboarding

Usually, when you have a new accountant, they employ the SALY (Same As Last Year) method — they look at what was done in the past and try to replicate that as closely as possible without asking "why?" The problem is that what was done in the past may not be what's best for your business. 

We do things a little differently. We want to understand you and your business and apply our knowledge and expertise to come up with the best solutions going forward. 

Our 90-day onboarding process is designed to help us get to know each other in the most efficient way. To provide the best service, with proactive advice, it's important that we understand you and your business. It's equally as important that you are comfortable with your accounting team and that you feel confident that we are here to help you make informed decisions and develop strategies for long-term growth.

We want to hear your story – what’s happened in the past, where you are today, and what your goals are for the future, so we can effectively design a plan that will help you reach your goals. 

stages of onboarding (4)

The Kickoff Call

The kickoff call begins the process of building the foundation for moving forward. 

The business solutions director you would already have met will introduce you to your onboarding team. This team will be with you to guide and train you throughout the onboarding process. 

Next, we'll get you set up in our client communication portal.

The portal will allow you to do things like securely upload, view, and download documents. The portal connects you to our entire team so communication is efficient and seamless. 

Enhancing communication is critical to providing you the partnership you hired us for. We want you to feel empowered by the team that’s behind you. 


The Initial Strategy Session

During the initial strategy session, you’ll begin to meet your accounting team. The primary person in this relationship is your account manager. Your account manager, responsible for your relationship with Kaizen, will be reviewing your financials, designing future changes, providing business and tax advice and ultimately preparing your tax returns.
 
Your onboarding manager from the kickoff call is responsible for shepherding you through the process. They will gain a detailed understanding of your QuickBooks and begin to make recommendations. Your business solutions director will also be on the call to ensure a smooth transition from the sales stage to being a client.  
 
It’s kind of like a first date. Lots of questions and answers, back and forth. However, this is business. There can’t be any holding back. We want (in fact, need) to know the good, the bad, and the ugly so we’re in a better position to help. 
 
Remember, this is the first meeting where we really start to get to know each other. While we have a specific structure for the conversation, it should be a back and forth of questions and answers.
The first thing we want to know is the story of your business —
  • When and why did you start it? What keeps you up at night? Where do you want to be in five years? 
  • Do you have partners? Who are the key decision makers? How is the business structured? 
  • How many employees you have? How long have they been with you? 

Next, we'll take a good look under the hood.

As accountants, it’s no surprise that we really like financial information to understand and assess a business. So we will use your existing financial statements (balance sheet and profit & loss) to begin that process. 

With insight into your goals and real data, we'll work with you to create an accounting roadmap. The roadmap gets us all on the same page in regard to financial reporting for your business.

While we want to ensure all transactions are coded correctly, it’s also important we know how you want to look at your business. Are all products & services being properly identified so you can make business decisions? Are expenses being captured effectively so you understand profit margins?  Is your equity in the business being properly captured? 


QBO + DEXT Training

QuickBooks is an essential tool that every business owner should be familiar with. Whether you are already using QuickBooks desktop or online, or we are going to start fresh, we both need to be on the same page with how it will be used.

We’ll teach you some important basics to help you get the most accurate and simple reporting methods with QuickBooks. That can include using online bill payment, recording invoices and bill payments, check writing practices, capturing bank deposits, and automation.

That last one is a biggie. Automations save time and help you keep accurate records. Without it, your books can look like a mess. With it? Well, you’ll be able to have faster and more accurate reporting which is going to help us AND you. 

DEXT is a third party software that allows you to upload receipts, invoices and bank statements — capture and store the data you need in the cloud for easy search and retrieval. No more shoe boxes of receipts!

If you’ve never used it before, we’ll schedule a training for you to understand and get the most from it.

What is backwork? Doug Schaen, Business Solutions Director, explains backwork and why it's so critical to your success.

Executing the plan — Our work behind the scenes

During these first 90 days, we’ll also be doing some intensive work on our end to make sure that your financials are in order. It is very rare that a client comes to us and their books are what we would call “squeaky clean”. It’s probably one of the main reasons you’ve engaged us in the first place.
 
This is a sprint behind the scenes and usually requires significant assistance from you. We cannot do our job without all the necessary financial information. And we need your help to get it. The #1 reason clients may not get through to the final step in 90 days is missing information. Things like: deposit/expense inconsistencies, loan documents, bank and credit card statements and even prior tax returns are critical to creating that solid foundation.  
 
Next, we’ll have the final meeting of the 90-day integration: the financial statement review. 

Financial Statement Review

This is a big day! We’ll go through your “new” financial statement line by line. We have two types of clients, some that are quite familiar with financial statements and others who may be seeing one for the first time. Either way is OK!  There are two goals: 

  1. Understand the up-to-date financials  
  2. Ensure we’re in alignment with you on your financial goals 

Next, we will talk about how the rest of the year will go. 

Most of our clients formally meet with us about 3 times a year. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, more frequent conversations are necessary. And that is just fine with us! We do find that 3 times a year is a good frequency that will allow us to properly provide advice and keep communication open, without monopolizing too much of your time.  
 
That’s the beauty of this 90-day sprint—once we reach that finish line, we’ll have everything we need to create a clear and cohesive picture of your business. This in turn allows us to provide sound business and tax advice. AND, timely filing of those tax returns!