The Best Way to Get Bookkeeping Clients

babs for bookkeepers libby tech Mar 18, 2024
get new clients



Today, we're going to talk about the best way to get new clients.

This is a conversation that comes up all the time. It’s in my DMs. It's in my Facebook group. It’s even inside the LIBBY group!

Despite LIBBY giving my students a lot of different strategies to get new clients, they still want to hear it from me or from others: what really is the best way to get new clients?

Whenever I get asked this question, I answer with the same phrase—but I feel like I need to say it again, because it’s been a while, and I see a lot of new faces in my social media spaces these days.

I do think that all of my podcast listeners have heard this, but even if you have, it’s good to hear it again. It’s just that important.

Drumroll please…



The #1 Way to Get New Clients is…

I’ve said it before, I’m saying it now, and I’ll say it again and again: the best marketing strategy is being really good at what you do.

Yes, it’s that simple. Being good at your job is going to take you so far in terms of marketing. It will help you get new clients with very little effort on your part.

That said, this method to get new clients only works when you know that you're good at what you do…and it works even better when your clients know that you're really good at what you do. Better still if your client's CPAs also know that you're really good at what you do.

Why these particular people? There are a few reasons. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

The reason I’m talking about how to get new clients now is because I actually had five sales conversations in one day recently…despite the fact that it’s been years since I’ve employed any marketing strategies of any kind, other than doing what I said I was going to do for my clients and doing it well. So when I talk about these five sales conversations, remember that I didn't do anything special to get these.

The first one was a referral from a new client's CPA. This CPA told her client about me, and that client went to my website and filled out my form.

The second was a follow-up with a referral from a CPA that I grew up with. That CPA prepares taxes and doesn't do bookkeeping, and a mutual acquaintance of ours introduced us knowing that I'm the opposite: I do bookkeeping and not taxes. And that has been a really great partnership so far.

The third one was a referral from a client who shared about me in her Instagram stories. One of her followers or friends must've seen the story, reached out, talked to her, and then went to my website and filled out my form.

The fourth was a referral from another unrelated client. This was not a social media thing. This was likely a direct conversation between the two.

Lastly, the fifth was a DM from another bookkeeper asking if I was interested in being connected to this potential lead she wasn't interested in. 

See any similarities? All five of these came from word of mouth.

Since the summer of 2019, I have only rarely publicly announced I was taking new clients…maybe twice in the past four years. Other than that, I’ve only taken the leads to get new clients that come organically from referrals. These mostly come from my clients—word of mouth—or from their CPAs—also word of mouth.


Why CPA Relationships Matter

Here’s an example of why it’s important to show a client’s CPA that you’re good at what you do in order to get new clients:

I recently onboarded a new client while doing a cleanup job for them in 2023.  This client is a CPA, but her business is not about practicing tax or even bookkeeping.

She came to me and needed help with her books, and I took that on because I could see where she had gotten in trouble and I knew that I actually could do it. I don’t normally take on cleanup jobs like that, but I had capacity for this one.

While we were cleaning up the books, we were comparing 2022 and 2023 stuff and realized that some of those mistakes actually went into 2022, which we were not going to touch because the taxes were already filed. So instead, I had to show her what happened, then I wanted to have a conversation with her tax preparer to say, “This is what I see in the books, but now I need you to make a tax determination on how you want to handle that. And based off of your decision, I will make a journal entry.”

We then had a three-way call between me, my client, and her tax preparer. The conversation mostly happened between me and the CPA, who was great…as most of them are when they can see that you're competent, when you're asking intelligent questions, and when you’re able to balance on the line between what is and isn’t your place to tackle as a bookkeeper.

It's not my place to make the tax decision and book an entry to prove that I know things and I'm smart. It's actually the tax preparer and the client’s decision; it’s my job to present the facts, and it’s their job to decide what they want to do with it.

The number one reason why I have those conversations is because I know that it's the best way to wrap up my job, pass the torch, and be able to clearly communicate where I am stuck in the process and where a decision needs to be made. But I always will take the time to have these calls no matter what, because when you can have that conversation with a CPA, they are very impressed.

In all honesty, I’d say about 5% of practicing bookkeepers have these skills. So when a CPA sees a bookkeeper who has those skills and they're doing a job that they don't want to do—a lot of tax preparers are just really busy keeping up with taxes, they don't have time to do 15-hour cleanups and diagnostics of what happened historically—they really value having a bookkeeper that they can refer their clients to who they know is going to be competent, do a good job by their clients, and also make their life easier.

This is a win, win, win. CPAs are foaming at the mouth to find more bookkeepers they can happily refer their clients to…which is fantastic when you’re looking to get new clients on your roster.

I say all of that to say that when you get the chance to show what you're really capable of, and you can show that you produce high-quality work, the rest happens naturally. This conversation was just last week, and by the end of the call, that CPA had the client hang up, and then she asked me to stay on. She wanted to ask some questions…one of them being, “Are you accepting new clients?”

By Monday, I had an inquiry going to my website from one of her clients. That’s how easily you can get new clients from simply being good at what you do.



Take Care of Existing Clients FIRST

CPAs aren’t the only people you want to impress in order to get new clients; referrals from your current or former clients are also huge, but the way you get these is actually pretty counterintuitive.

One of the best ways to get new clients is to focus on the ones you already have…NOT on trying to get new clients.

Why is this the case? Because focusing on your existing clients rather than focusing on how to get new clients actually creates the byproduct of being able to get new clients.

It's so natural. It's so effortless. It's so easy. And it actually can happen with your first couple of clients. You don't even need that many for them to start referring you naturally.

As you grow your clientele to thirty or so, like me, and you've got more CPAs that you're in contact with, you're going to have more mouths talking about you. But you still have to stay diligent and focused on doing the job.

If your clients know that you're good at what you do, and they know that you’re there to support and take care of them, they’ll naturally bring you up when people around them find themselves in need of a bookkeeper.



How to KNOW that You Are Good At What You Do

However, none of this works if you don’t know that you’re good at what you do.

Without that confidence in your abilities, you won’t have the confidence to tackle these conversations with client CPAs. You might not even have the confidence to sign any clients in the first place.

If you are questioning your bookkeeping skills at all, my program BABs (Become a Bookkeeper) is the answer to making sure that you are efficient, that you are confident, and that you have no knowledge or skill gaps.

If you’re not sure what BABs is, good news—you can either head to the podcast and listen to the five episodes prior to this one, or you can scroll back to the previous posts, where I break down what BABs is, who it’s for, and how it helps you learn and hone the skill of bookkeeping.

I've been having so many conversations with people about BABs recently and how it's actually way beyond just teaching you about becoming a bookkeeper—in fact, it’s so beyond that the name may be changing.

It’s not just about learning bookkeeping. It's about enhancing your current knowledge skills and efficiencies around bookkeeping so you can be a damn good bookkeeper.

And on top of that, if you really want to wow your CPAs, it would be good for you to go through the year-end workshop on my website. I’ll link that below for you so you can get your hands on that.

This workshop will help you ensure that your clients are in really good shape all year long, but especially at year-end, when you're submitting your financials to their CPAs. And if you've missed the boat for year-end 2023, no worries—this stuff is good for you have at the forefront of your mind all the time!



Don’t wait—join BABs now to lock in the best price: 

Get the End-of-Year Workshop to give the best quality reports to your clients…AND impress their CPAs: 

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