Rethinking Recurring Bookkeeping Work

  • 6 November 2023
  • 6 replies

Userlevel 3

We started with Karbon last year and are trying hard to make it the most efficient we can. One area I’m seriously rethinking is not having a separate work type for each month of bookkeeping. The challenge here is that when we have recurring months and clients have to upload their statements, we’ll go a few months getting none, then they’ll do a bunch at once which means the documents are tagged to the wrong work item. If we had all bookkeeping in one work item but each month as a task then even if they do catch up with their items, they’ll all go into one documents area. Has anyone tried this? Can you think of any drawbacks?

6 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +15

Hi @Fischbooks,

Good question 🙂

I would say - if it’s normal and acceptable for you to go months without receiving the statements, it doesn’t matter that some are uploaded to the “wrong” work item. It’s sort of like a carry over query, if it’s answered later, it’s not wrong, it’s just delayed.

I would also suggest that they be saved appropriately in your document management system (rather than Karbon being the main place they’re kept) and then you’ll be able to find them in the “right” place, regardless of when you receive them and when client’s upload them 🙂

Regarding one work item only, the drawbacks are that your work item is open for a long time (which affects some metrics) and it’s difficult to utilise start and due dates when there is one work item but a series of work that’s completed (and due) along the way.

I hope that helps 🙂

Userlevel 6
Badge +7

@Fischbooks Adding on to what @SamG provided:

If you have Karbon recurring work setup for the monthly bookkeeping and have your document management system linked, then you could automatically have all files copied to a main root folder of your choice, copied as the client uploaded. This way, no matter what work in the series they uploaded a document to, you would find the document in that main folder and it also would show up on the Documents tab of each work item.

We do not keep work items open at the end of a month. If a client has not provided a document we do not have access to, then we make note of it on the next recurring work item and move on, closing out the current work.  

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

I’m with @SamG we have the work on a monthly recurring schedule.  The months would stay open until we get to complete that month. We have a status for ‘Waiting on Client’, we find the metrics useful.

If we are completing several months at once because the client has uploaded that info to any of the open work we would complete the work as each month could be completed. It wouldn’t really matter where the docs got uploaded as we would pin a note to each work item in Karbon noting where the docs were uploaded, just in case we ever went looking for them.

Hope that helps,


Userlevel 7
Badge +19

I’ll add my voice to those saying stick with monthly work items.

At our firm, we are working hard to develop flowing work, which means it doesn’t matter to us how long the work is open, we do each work item when we have the documents to complete that work item.

We’ve gotten into trouble before doing large batches of bookkeeping all at once instead of taking it month-by-month. We’ve found that it saves time to treat each month as a capsule and do all the bookkeeping and reconciliations for that month before moving to the next month.

Because of this approach, we are experimenting with better ways to get the info more reliably, which has been moderately successful. We now get statements sent directly to us from many of our client banks and have read-only access when bank portals allow it. This makes information gathering self-service and we are able to do much of the work without asking the client for stuff. There are several cases where we still need info from the client, though. 😕

Userlevel 7
Badge +15

We ... have read-only access when bank portals allow it. This makes information gathering self-service and we are able to do much of the work without asking the client for stuff.

This is definitely the Gold standard approach for bank statements for bookkeeping. And banks should really get behind it and make it super easy for the banking customer and their accountant/bookkeeper to setup.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Echoing what others have said. Unless we have delivered financial statements for a month, we keep the bookkeeping work open. This helps us not only predict the volume (i.e. number of months) of work to do, it helps us track which clients are chronically behind. Once they get 3 or 4 months behind, we then look into options like pausing their billing and/or billing hourly to get them caught up again.

Even if a new client comes to us with multiple months of catchup bookkeeping needed we will create an individual work item for each month they need, again as a way to measure the load. We may still batch complete the work, but we will manage each month in Karbon independently.


Also agree with the comments about bank statement access! We’ve got a good idea now which Canadian banks we can/can’t get delegate/view access to, which play nice with QBO/Xero etc. and make it clear up front to new clients our expectations about providing statements on time if we can’t get access ourselves.