Do you spend a lot of time writing out step-by-step instructions for clients?
What is Gearing Up? It's our video interview series that asks a real, practicing accountant or bookkeeper to share one challenge in their firm and how they solved it.
Andrea realized two things in her business. The first was that she spent a lot of time writing out email instructions for her clients. The second was that her client communications were missing a personal touch and that this could be preventing would-be and existing clients from truly feeling comfortable with her virtual bookkeeping services.
Andrea avoids writing email instructions and helps her clients feel heard and seen by using Loom — a video messaging tool that records your camera, microphone, and desktop simultaneously.
✍️ How to stop writing emails full of step-by-step instructions for clients
✨ Why video communication can improve your client communication and service
🎥 How she uses Loom to save time while making things easier for clients
💁🏻♀️ Tips for getting started with Loom — especially if you’re nervous about being on video
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Gearing Up is dedicated to amplifying the creative and smart ways accountants and bookkeepers overcome the day-to-day challenges of running a successful firm.
If you’re ready to share your knowledge on an upcoming episode of Gearing Up, get in touch, submit your challenge + solution using the form.
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Find out in Gearing Up — our bi-weekly video series. Blake Oliver talks to practicing accountants and bookkeepers about what tools and strategies they use to thrive.Subscribe
Blake Oliver: Hello, Blake Oliver here, and this is Gearing Up, a series by Relay. Relay is business banking designed for accountants and their clients. Just like me, they're obsessed with making firms more effective and efficient. So in each episode, Italk to real accountants and bookkeepers about one challenge they faced in their firm and how to solve it. Today, we have Andrea Rotondo of Liquid Cents Bookkeeping on the show. Andrea, thanks for joining me.
Andrea Rotondo: Hi Blake. Thank you so much for having me.
Oliver: So tell me a little bit about yourself and your firm. Where are you located? What's your firm like? We'd love to hear all about you.
Rotondo: Awesome, yes. Well, like Blake said I am Andrea Rotondo. My firm is Liquid Cents Bookkeeping. I'm currently, well, and for a while, we're gonna be in South Florida. I was a little bit all over the place before this 'cause my husband was in the military, but we're finally home. My firm offers bookkeeping services, and at the moment it's just me. I'm doing all the actual bookkeeping work, and I also help another firm for keeping up with their books as well. So I have 10 of my clients, and I keep up with 10 other of their clients. I like to work specifically with women who basically are in the business of helping other people. And that usually falls under the category of therapists, coaches, and consultants.
Oliver: All right, well, it sounds like you're keeping busy there, and I love the focus. I got my start as a bookkeeper, and I think one of my challenges was I didn't have a lot of focus. And so, I did all sorts of different kinds of businesses, and I learned a lot, but it was really a challenge.
Rotondo: Yeah, definitely. And I started my focus on that because I wanted to make it a little bit more relational more than just the actual books And I feel like I connect with people in that aspect, and I know that that's, like, oh, connecting and let's have a meeting to see if we click with each other. That's a big thing now. So I wanted to make it easy for them and for me to, let's narrow down to this.
Oliver: Yeah, it's good to be working with people who you like and who you get along with. That's probably more important than anything else.
Rotondo: Right, exactly.
Oliver: Well, tell me a little bit about your tech stack. What are you using at Liquid Cents?
Rotondo: So for my tech stack, I use both Xero and QuickBooks Online. It gives me the flexibility to put my clients where they need to be and where they like to be, also where their accountants are working. So it flows well in that way. I use HelloSign to sign all of the engagement letters and all of those things. I use Google Workspace to keep a shared documents for the back and forth and eliminating a lot of emails, in that aspect, and I use Loom, which we're gonna talk about today.
Oliver: Well, let's talk about that. You said Loom is what we're gonna talk about today. I mean, what is the challenge that you were facing in your firm, and how did you solve it?
Rotondo: Yeah, so the main thing that I realized is that people were a little bit hesitant to outsource their books or their accounting in general, although it is one of the first things that they actually outsource. They have that fear of who is going to have access to my accounts and they're gonna see absolutely everything coming in and coming out, and they feel judged. So there was that personal connection that was missing and I realized that that was something that I wanted to tackle with my business. I wanted to not just provide the numbers and just hand off a report, but also create a relationship that my clients would feel comfortable with throughout the whole year. And at the same time, that also led me to think the whole balance of, “this could have been an email”, and “I really need to book a meeting for this”, and how it's kind of tough sometimes to book a meeting when you need something right now, but also you don't want to write out a whole entire email to your clients telling them terminology from QuickBooks or Xero, or account names and things like that that they're necessarily, not necessarily going to know, or at the same time, you might not be getting the right answer. And I realized that that was going to be a big issue as well with timing, with getting things done in time, and would also push back a little bit the whole interaction and feeling that one-on-one attention if everything just got stuck to an email.
Oliver: So rather than writing all these directions out in email, which unfortunately, that's what I had to do when I started my career. And the problem is the client, they might get the email, but then they're reading it on their phone. They don't get to it. It's long, it's complicated. Maybe they didn't understand something, and then you have to go back and forth. It's a problem for all of us. So what do you do instead?
Rotondo: So instead what I do is I record Loom videos. I try to make them as short as possible, maybe two minutes, three minutes. And if you're not familiar with Loom, it's basically just a software that I can share my screen and you see my little tiny face in a corner, but that helps with my clients feeling heard and seen, although it's just a video,they get to see me and hear me because all of my clients love all over the place. I don't live in the same state where they live, I don't have an office where they can come in and out. So that definitely create that sense of, “okay, I know this person. I like this person. I'm listening to what she's saying”. And at the same time, I'm able to get my point across because I'm literally sharing my screen, telling them, for example, if I want to show somebody how to upload receipts to Hubdoc, something that is, for us, very simple, but for somebody that has never done that before, I would have to write out a whole entire, “step number one, step number two, step number three”. But if I just share it with them and tell them how to do it, it's a lot easier for them to understand it, and it doesn't feel as complicated as looking at a whole list of steps.
Oliver: You're saving lots of time 'cause you're doing it in a few minutes. And then I love the video in the corner, the picture of your face that you see in Loom, so important in the sense of the personal relationship.
Rotondo: I've had a few clients tell me, “I never knew about this”, but literally the day after, there's a Loom transaction, that they just bought the subscription and they're doing the same thing with their clients in whatever way it is they needed. So it's very flexible. It's super easy. And I also like the fact that I get a notification when they see the video. It's easier for me to keep track of who has seen it. I can put passwords in there, obviously, 'cause I'm sharing some of their information in there. So it's practical in that aspect, on my end, and on their end it feels like I'm doing them a favor by not writing everything down.
Oliver: Andrea, I think a lot of people get nervous about making videos. It's not exactly the easiest thing for us accountants or bookkeepers. Do you have any recommendations for people? Were you nervous when you first started? How do we get over this hurdle?
Rotondo: Yeah, for sure. I was super nervous in the beginning. I was so hesitant and I pushed it off for a while, but if you try to put yourself in the other position, you are going to feel the need, in a way, of establishing that connection, and that's something that only you can do. And I know that there's firms, for example, that have different team members. I would even have or ask them to do that as well, or if you wanna do it yourself as the firm owner. Establishing some kind of personal relationship, it's not only going to be beneficial for your client, but you are also going to feel better. You're also going to feel that connection as well. And as you continue to do it,it definitely gets easier, just like everybody in social media says that, but I would say the first thing is, if you don't feel comfortable with the actual video piece, you can just put your headshot in the little circle where your video or your screen is supposed to be, your face, and just put your picture and you can startrecording with your voice. And then once you feel like you wanna give it a try, just do it. And remember that most of the time, people are not actually looking at your face because your face is tiny on the corner. It's mostly your screen. So they're not necessarily going to be focused on your face the whole time. And that also takes the pressure a little bit off.
Oliver: That's a great point. Well, then there's no excuse not to get started. So thank you for those tips. Well, thank you so much for sharing that with us. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our audience, how to contact you, learn more about you online.
Rotondo: Yeah, I really like to hang out in LinkedIn. So if you find, just look it up, Andrea Rotondo in LinkedIn, you'll find me there. And my website isliquidcentsbookkeeping.com. You're happy to come around and learn a little bit more about me, my background, what I like to do for fun, and obviously, my firm.
Oliver: Well, Andrea I'm gonna send that connection request right now. It's been great speaking with you. Thanks so much for sharing that challenge and solution with the audience for Gearing Up.
Rotondo: Yeah, thank you so much for having me.
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