How I Use Smartsheet to Create a Monthly Bookkeeping Checklist

Over the years, I’ve see a lot of people request some sort of monthly bookkeeping checklist for a bookkeeping engagement. I never really bothered with them. I just created what I need on a case by case basis.

About two years ago I stumbled on a monthly bookkeeping checklist that I had created.

I created it in Microsoft Excel, and I had forgotten all about it. I created this monthly bookkeeping checklist when I was doing a lot of work on behalf of a CPA firm. Mostly what I was doing were audits, and occasionally they would send me out to a client to help their bookkeeper.

After doing a number of audits, I realized that the audit process was one that would actually serve the bookkeeping process will. I just needed to adapt and simplify it for monthly review. In a monthly bookkeeping engagement you would not send balance confirmations out to banks, vendors, and customers. Instead you have whatever process you can develop, internally to make sure that these amounts look right. Bank reconciliations are your way of confirming the bank balances. Reviewing the balance sheet line by line, on a monthly basis will undoubtedly keep the books in check.

When you audit a set of books, you basically beat the hell out of the balance sheet, and then review the profit and loss statement. When I stumbled on that old monthly bookkeeping checklist, I realized that I had fashioned it after an audit. It was made to be a very detailed monthly bookkeeping checklist. As I reviewed it, I realized, this would make for a seriously mind blowing customer service experience to clients. It’s as thorough as a monthly bookkeeping checklist can be.

Recently I had the idea to take my monthly bookkeeping checklist to the next level. In short, I created the Smartsheet version of it. This is what you’ll see in this video. It has all of the thoroughness of the original, with all of the bells and whistles that Smartsheet offers, in terms of alerts, and conditional formatting, that let you know in an instant, where your attention is needed.

Want more help? Check the options on your left for both trying Smartsheet, and getting a 1:1 session with me. I can help you build one of these for your own practice.

Smartsheet Help File – How to Share a Sheet Within a Workspace

Before a short time ago, when you set up a workspace in Smartsheet, you had to share that workspace entirely with people. Once you share a sheet within that workspace, you share the entire workspace.

Smartsheet has been rolling out updates pretty frequently, and apparently one of the recent updates, included the fact, that you can now share a single sheet within a workspace. It’s easy to do, but also easy to miss the option, especially when you’re moving as fast as I do.

After you click “Share” click on “Invitee Details” and you’ll see the options for sharing either a sheet, or the workspace.

This short video will show you precisely where this is, and what this looks like!

How to Use Smartsheet for Business Management

The term “business management” has specific implications. It refers to an accounting service that includes the entire range of functions, from gathering, and storing all of the client’s documents, to paying all of their bills for them.

Many of the types of clients who take advantage of these services, are people who have many accounts. This is why they need this level of help. They, and most people, cannot keep up with all of it. If your prospect is struggling with late fees, and interest, because they aren’t getting their bills paid on time, then they are a candidate for business management services.

There are a series of apps that I use to manage this, but before any of them can be employed, I need all of the information compiled in Smartsheet. This way I have everything I need in one place. Then I can set up alerts, based on trigger dates, so that I’m reminded when a statement cuts. Then I can click over to smartsheet, make sure I’ve archived the document, and scheduled any payments needed by their due dates.

Once this is all set up, it can be maintained less than five minutes every couple of days. Even less.

With this worksheet set up in Smartsheet you can manage all of the clients accounts, as well as their bank balances.

Then you can evolve this system by setting up Hubdoc, Bill.com, and Qvinci. With these three apps in place, you will have just about the entire accounting cycle automated.

There will be some heavy lifting up front, to get this all set up. You’ll need your client’s cooperation in getting the information, such as all of their logins, but that shouldn’t be an issue. If they’ve hired you for business management, then it stands to reason, that they are motivated to give you everything you need so your client no longer needs to worry about it.

Using Smartsheet for business management is.. well… smart. You can set up your systems and alerts, to make sure you never drop a single ball. Then you just have to remember to check your e-mail 🙂

How to Save Time Gathering W9s With Smartsheet

How much time did you just spend gathering W9’s from people, so you could issue 1099s? I know it’s always such a chore when I have many clients, who have many sub-contractors, and many of them have never sent in their W9, so that we can easily issue them, their 1099.

Smartsheet saves the day once again. We can set up a separate sheet for each client, but why bother? Set up one global sheet. Then you capture all of the W9s you need in one place. You can embed the form on your website. As you’ll see in the video, you can add a column for the Payor. Then when you send the link to someone to upload their W9, you can tell them what to indicate in the Payor line, so you know which company this is for. This will enable you to filter your sheet for the one Payor, to get all of the W9s for that client in one, nice, neat view.

There is another big benefit to gathering W9s with Smartsheet. Next year. I know that I have often struggled looking for those W9s that I had gathered “last year” and found myself frustrated when I couldn’t find them. The way I am suggesting doing this, is by having one project in Smartsheet for all W9’s. Every client’s vendors, and their W9s in one place. This way you don’t need to worry about where you filed them in this client’s folders vs where you filed the W9s in that client’s folders.

Smartsheet is perfect for gathering W9s, because you can set up a web form, with all of the fields one needs to fill out on a W9, and also provide for the upload of the W9 form.

Have you ever gotten a W9 from someone that you couldn’t read?

We need that signed copy uploaded, but the form they fill out gives us the same information, in what is guaranteed to be a legible format.

This is why I’m in love with the idea of using Smartsheet’s web form to gather W9s.

Bonus tip!

Embed the form on your website, and send people there to fill it out. It’s just one more way to send traffic to your site. Bookmark the page, so that any time you need to send someone the link, you have it at close reach.

Here’s what the form looks like, embedded on a web page (or blog post):

How to Set up Tasks and To Do’s in Smartsheet

Smartsheet is project management software laid out in a familiar spreadsheet format. It’s a spreadsheet on steroids. Smartsheet lends itself perfectly to a tool where you can manage your daily tasks.

There are so many tools out there, that you can use to track tasks, but when you think about it, Smartsheet makes a lot of sense. Here’s the thing. If you want something that offers you the flexibility to create your experience, then Smartsheet is the way to go. You add the columns you need to describe the information you need to describe. Anything you have described in Smartsheet can then be used to filter your list. This gives you maximum flexibility, but it also means you have to set it up. Aside from the task itself, there are some other things you can easily set up to track, about a task in Smartsheet. The Client, for example, and the project, or project type. Then you can filter the list by client, or you can filter the list, for example by “Bookkeeping Engagements.” Then you can see all clients with tasks related to bookkeeping engagements.

I recommend starting with Smartsheet’s standard Task List, and then expanding on it from there. if you want to add client, and project, that is very easy to do. In fact you can set up drop downs for each, to ensure consistency. This is important when you want to filter the list later.

You can keep all of your projects in one sheet, that will serve as a master. This way you can report on what needs to be done for any and all projects in one place. In a future video I will show you how you can link tasks from the master to a more detailed list, for example, that is unique to that project. The short answer for now is that you can create a detailed task list that is to be shared with the client. Then you can link from the client specific sheet, to your master. In fact, you can even set it up so that when you mark an item complete in the client project, that will roll up to the master, which will automatically be updated.

Make sure you follow this video very clearly, because the next one is going to get a little complicated 🙂