Billing for Services

by Sharon
(Calgary, AB)

  Charging by Reporting Form

Charging by Reporting Form

I do bookkeeping for a client that uses an accountant for year-end as their books which includes investments can get quite complicated. This year the accountant requested I do the annual GST return and filing.

The GST/ITC's require a manual calculation as it is a medical practice and is treated differently. Unfortunately it requires a manual calculation as Simply Accounting's Report feature does not give me the flexibility to pull the records I need in a way I need them to do the gst analysis.

This service is to be billed separately from the routine bookkeeping I currently do for my client.

I am struggling with how to charge for this service. It takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete.

Is it standard practice to charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for forms which you may fill out and file on behalf of the client?

I know my client would prefer a flat fee but I am not sure what would be fair to charge.

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Hi Sharon,

The good news is ... it is quite common for a bookkeeper to charge by the hour for a la carte services ... or by flat fee.

Personally, I prefer flat fee billing when I am dealing with a client that I have an existing relationship with. You can determine if your flat fee will include a mark-up for profit or done at cost. It's your business. It's your decision.

If you really are at a loss at what to charge, do some Bing/Googling to see what other bookkeepers are charging for forms.

Just as an aside, I sure hope Sage / Simply Accounting let you export the GST/HST data to an Excel worksheet for analysis. QuickBooks does and it sure helps in cases like this.

P.S. I would like to remind you there is a difference between information and advice. The general information provided in this post or on my site should not be construed as advice. You should not act or rely on this information without engaging professional advice specific to your situation prior to using this site content for any reason whatsoever.

Comments for Billing for Services

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Nov 05, 2013
Should I bill for texting?
by: Vickey, Los Angeles, CA

Hi Lake,

One of my clients is a compulsive texter. She will text me everything - including questions which have fairly involved answers.

Should I bill for this? Is it too petty? And how do you bill for texts?

(To add insult to injury, I LOATHE texting...)

Thank so much.

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Whether you charge or not for replying to texts is up to you. It depends on how you bill your clients.

I personally don't like to rack up fees for my clients because I want them to ask me questions. I find it's easier to be proactive than fix their errors because they thought it was too expensive to talk to me.

I usually bill a client by the hour for the first three months or so to get a feel for their style, how well they organize and coordinate getting their information, how often they want to check in.

From there, I like to create a flat monthly fee that includes a certain amount of consultation time (whether that is by email, text, phone, fax, etc.) I do try to communicate with my clients the way they are most comforable with.

I'm not a fan of texting either. Perhaps when the response is long, you direct them to see the email you've sent them or just pick up the phone and call them to discuss it.

I would be interested to hear how other bookkeepers handle this type of communication.

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