I took on an unplanned small business accounting cleanup over this past weekend. The business is financially dependent on PayPal. PayPal froze their account on Friday and requested financial statements. They grew rapidly this year, and rapid growth often creates financial stress. I’m glad that I was able to help. I was pleased with the result. And yet I regret being in the overall situation.
The business is a tax and advisory client only. I do not provide bookkeeping support. They were unable to produce the statement because their QuickBooks records were such a mess. Over 10,000 transactions were unrecorded. We created a special purpose engagement to lay out the objectives, methods and the limitations because clear communication is critical in a case like this. I normally require payment to settle before scheduling work, but we agreed on just getting ACH transfer entered.
I planned the engagement on Friday evening and got the approval. The work Saturday was more than I anticipated. I concluded work with a video update explaining what work was still needed. It was clear by then that I underpriced but that is a risk I take using a fixed fee approach. I finished a little after noon on Sunday and was pretty happy with my work. QuickBooks was able to generate a statement that met PayPal’s requirements.
Is this a good way to run an accounting practice? Absolutely not. But the point is that unexpected things happen when running a small business. It is good to know that we can rely on teamwork and a ‘can do’ attitude.
Going forward, I expect to be more involved throughout the year to ensure that the bookkeeping is useful to management.