Your Quick Guide to Understanding Catch-Up and Clean-Up Bookkeeping

...and how those projects work!

Pristine, Clean Books Help You Better Manage Your Business (And Make Your Life Easier)!

Clean books provide you with insight into how your company is operating, how money flows into and out of your business (through supporting financial statements) and can provide the backbone for gaining profitable insights into how to run your business! If your books are a mess a clean up bookkeeping cleanup project is a key first step to getting financial control of your business.

And, being an Entrepreneurial Business Owner I'm sure you've already discovered that being responsible for your own Financial Future is both daunting yet exciting!

When your books are in order tax time is also a breeze as it becomes very easy to hand the books and reports over to your CPA who can then use them as the basis for your tax return. If your books aren't up-to-date or they have inaccuracies (not CLEAN) then they may charge you extra to get them in order. 

Why You Should Invest in Bookkeeping, Financial Services and Tax Planning

  • Pristine Bookkeeping Gives You Better Financial Control. When you have your books in order you can make better financial decisions, discover where you can smartly cut expenses and boost things that are important. It's the foundation of better financial controls.
  • Tax Preparation Is Easier and Less Stressful. When your books are already in order it makes tax filing for both business and personal (if you're an owner) much easier. And... you're less likely to make mistakes on your returns. Plus, you won't get hit with late penalties and interest if your out-of -shape books delay your returns.
  • Strategic Focus. Bookkeeping is a tool to think about how to best grow and your develop based on the numbers and facts of your business. You can make better short and long-term goals backed by the data instead of only using hunches or best guesses.
  • Better Cash Flow. Recording revenues, expenses, liabilities and receivables puts you in a position to better track when things need to be paid and when new money is coming into the business. This allows you to intelligently manage your cash flows so you don't inadvertently put yourself in a tight spot. 

Those are just a few benefits but we could go on and on almost forever about all the benefits!

Clean-Up Bookkeeping and Catch-Up Bookkeeping Projects: What They Are and How They Work

Clean-up Bookkeeping discovers inaccuracies in your books, finds out WHY they happened and fixes them so everything balances, your accounts are correct and your financial reports are accurate. This requires an above average bookkeeper who enjoys the process of problem-solving, has an eye for details and has a deeper understanding of bookkeeping and accounting principles so they know WHAT to pursue. 

Most Bookkeepers and Accountants don't enjoy clean-up bookkeeping projects. In fact, it is very rare. We've found that less than 20% of bookkeepers enjoy this and only about 10% have the requisite training and experience to be effective at it. Those are the kinds of bookkeepers we attract and hire.

Because we specialize in clean-up and catch-up we have developed tools, software and processes that make us faster and more effective than they average bookkeeping and accounting firm.

Catch-up Bookkeeping assumes that the books are correct up to the date they have been entered but are missing subsequent months. When any catch-up project is started the Bookkeeper should also take an hour or so to verify that the books are, in fact, accurate before entering things in so they don't create future messes. If everything looks good then most catch-up only projects can be estimated to be 15-30 minutes per month that is behind for a small company with only a few accounts. So, a full year could take between 4-7 hours for a company of that size. 

How We Can Help You Get Your Books All Caught Up or Cleaned Up (or even Set Up or Migrated to a New System)

All of our projects start the same exact way. We charge in 10-hour blocks of time. About 1.5-2 hours into that first 10 hours, our Bookkeeper or Accountant will have a more firm estimate of what it will take to get it done. It is still an estimate, though, as these projects are very difficult to predict. 

In evaluating a service you are likely to see flat-fees, hourly and a combination of both. It may help you understand WHY we moved to this 10-hour block model. 

Over the years we've tried every model you can imagine. We used to spend time up-front examining books and then providing a flat-fee quote for the entire project. We found in using this model that one side invariably lost. Either we overestimated the project and got it done much faster than anticipated, thus overcharging the client or, we  underestimated the project causing us to lose money and time on the project.

Either way, one side lost. That's no way to run a business. 

We've also set hourly rates and then billed clients after the project. Then, we had trouble collecting (business owners are busy people!) and had to spend a lot of time on keeping track of who has paid what, asking for money, taking partial payments, etc. In addition, sometimes business owners didn't see our updates and were surprised by a large bill at the end that caused them a hardship.

That's not fun for anyone. 

How the 10-Hour Block of Time System Sets Us Up for Win-Win Projects

When we moved to the 10-hour block of time model it solved all of those problems listed above and has made everyone's life easier. 

Here are a few other policies regarding our 10-hour block model: 

  • We get EXPLICIT written authorization (via email) from you before we charge any 10-hour block of time. Ex: You pay for the first block of time. The bookkeeper gets through 8 hours and knows the project will require more. They send an email to you letting you know and asking for permission to continue. When you reply yes then we go ahead and charge the card on file and the bookkeeper continues working. (This means you get a heads-up and can also verify the work is being done to your satisfaction before continuing).  
  • Let's say you have a combination clean-up and catch-up and you end up paying for 20 hours total. What happens if it only takes 17 hours? In that case, you have 3 hours remaining on your account for use in the future should you run into any trouble or have any questions. All you have to do is email or call your bookkeeper and they'll be able to help you until that 3 hours is used up so you never lose it.
  • About 1.5-2 hours into that first 10-hour block the bookkeeper will provide you with a more firm estimate of how long the project might take. It is still an estimate, though, and they'll keep you informed as the project goes if they think it might end up being shorter or longer. Remember, in our 10-hour block system you'll never be more than a few hours off what it ACTUALLY takes to complete the project and you never lose the hours, they remain available for you in the future. 
  • 80% of projects DO go over 10 hours. 
  • What if after that first 10-hours you decide you want to stop working with us? Simple, let the bookkeeper know and at about 4 hours and 30 minutes they'll write a summary of what they did and document important things they noticed about how the books got out of whack so you'll have the information for the future. 

 As you can see, doing it this way provides a real path to both sides winning together. There are no surprises and both sides stay in good communication regarding the project and payments... 10 hours at a time. 

What You'll Need for Your Clean-Up Bookkeeping Project

Or Catch-Up or Set-Up Project

For clean up projects we'll need to get access to your bookkeeping software. If it's QuickBooks Online (or Wave or Xero) you can invite my firm as an Accountant. If it's QuickBooks Desktop then we'll need to discuss how to get access. This is usually by getting an Accountant's copy or using a Remote Desktop (Team Viewer or GoToMyPc or similar). 

Typically, we don't need to WAIT for you to gather all of the information we need before we get started. It's usually best for the bookkeeper to get started on your clean-up bookkeeping project and then let you know what information is a priority so you can get working on getting that secured. 

Set-up Bookkeeping system or migrating from one system to another is similar in that the first call will go over the current system or what you want the new system to look like (chart of accounts, how you plan on using the system, etc). This gives us the best way to get started setting it up right from the beginning. We prefer you DO NOT set it up yourself as it can cause problems and extra work. 

A Professional Bookkeeping and Accounting Organization

A very large percentage of our projects come from business owners who placed their trust in a lone, solitary bookkeeper who "disappeared" leaving them in the lurch or who got the books into a mess and didn't have the expertise to get things corrected. (We also help lone bookkeepers who have run into trouble on a client's books! Some are smart enough to ask for help). 

We also get dissatisfied clients from other firms who don't specialize in clean-up or catch-up and have not been able to sort things out. 

When you work with us you are working with a professional firm. We have bookkeepers, accountants and CPAs. We have Service Directors whose sole mission is to keep projects moving to a successful conclusion. We work as a team to get your bookkeeping project done! 

After you sign up, the Service Director will assign you to one of our bookkeepers. That Service Director and that Bookkeeper will be assigned to you from that point on out unless you request a change. (You may request a change of bookkeeper if you are not satisfied or feel you don't "mesh" well with the one assigned to you). 

For the most part, you'll communicate directly with your bookkeeper. The Service Director will check in with you to make sure things are going well and keep things moving on both sides so we get the project done in a timely manner. You can always reach out to your Service Director for anything. 

Once we have your books in order we'd love to help you with Monthly Bookkeeping, your taxes and other services to help you get "Profitable Insights" into running your company to reach your goals. 

Book Your Consulting Session!

This no obligation call will help us determine what you need so we can assist you on your clean-up bookkeeping project.

Our Professionals Are All U.S. Based And LOVE Bookkeeping, Accounting and Financial Services!

We pride ourselves on using the highest quality professional bookkeepers on our team. All of them are U.S. Based with over 5+ years of experience, with many having over 30+ years of bookkeeping experience in a variety of industries and sizes of companies.

Jason Bedunah

Owner of

About the Owner

Jason started his professional career as a Computer Scientist and then moved into Digital Marketing in 2004. As an Entrepreneur and owner of several businesses he had to learn the ins and outs of Financial Management.

His mother is a bookkeeper with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and they combined skills to create to service solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes with the highest-quality U.S. Based bookkeeping around.

Book Your Consulting Session!

This no obligation call will help us determine what you need so we can assist you on your clean-up bookkeeping project.

Here's What You Get As A Valued Client

  • Monthly Bookkeeping for a Set Price. No Surprise Bills or Hidden Fees.
  • All Books Done in the Bookkeeping Program of Your Choice.
  • The Ability to Request a New Bookkeeper in Our Company Should You Feel You Don't "Mesh" Well with Your Current One. 
  • Basic Financial Reports to Run Your Business.
  • Access to Your Bookkeeper During Business Hours to Answer Any Questions You May Have.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my books are all messed up?

What if my books are WAY behind?

Can you help me set-up a new system?

Are there any contracts for your monthly programs?

Can a bookkeeper come to my place of business?

How do I talk to my bookkeeper?

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