(updated April 2018)
In order to better serve our clients and provide more transparency in the services we provide, Lighthouse Ledgers is updating our policies and procedures for 2018 moving forward. We appreciate the input and the feedback we have received to provide a better client experience and encourage additional thoughts and comments at any time. Thank you!
Unless notified otherwise, Lighthouse Ledgers does not provide payment terms for bookkeeping services. All invoices are Due Upon Receipt.
Our minimum monthly billing for services starts at one hour per month (depending on engagement complexity and detailed in the client’s letter of engagement), which is billed at the beginning of each month. Additional work beyond the first hour, referred to as overage, is billed weekly as work is completed and in 15 minute increments.
Minimum monthly billing and overage applies to services agreed upon within the scope of the letter of engagement. Any additional services requested outside the scope of the engagement may require a change in scope agreement and separate billing rates, depending on the complexity and frequency of the scope change.
Timing of Billing
Work is completed and billed within the month the supporting documentation is received (or within one week afterwards, if received at the end of the month). For example, January statements received in February will not be applied towards the minimum monthly billing in January, but will be applied towards the minimum monthly billing in February. If the additional work in February results in going over the minimum monthly billing in the current month, then overage will be incurred and billed as indicated above.
Flat Rate Billing
Flat rate bookkeeping plans will be billed at the beginning of each month automatically to the card on file. Any payment processing issues will result in pausing services until a new card is on file and successfully brings the account current.
On-site services have a minimum one hour billed at the on-site rate, but may increase depending on location, time, and day. Booked time slots will be billed in advance. Receipt of payment will serve as confirmation for the appointment and is non-refundable.
Defining Billable and Non-Billable Work
Billable work is defined as time tracked while engaging in activities agreed upon within the letter of engagement, change in scope letters, and client written requests, including; (1) accounting services rendered, (2) remote or onsite meetings, (3) travel to and from onsite engagements, (4) client specific research, (5) communications between clients and/or their contacts, and (6) additional supportive actions incurred on behalf of the client.
Correcting errors, if determined to be directly related to Lighthouse Ledgers actions, are reported as non-billable work.
Generalized accounting research serving multiple clients as a whole, research serving Lighthouse Ledgers in general, and any routine administrative maintenance is not considered a part of client work and will not be included in billable hours.
QuickBooks Online (QBO) Subscriptions
QuickBooks Online subscriptions (paid through Lighthouse Ledgers) will be charged to the card on file automatically each month for the amount of the subscription plus tax.
A side note on QBO Subscriptions:
Lighthouse Ledgers does not need to maintain the subscription to provide bookkeeping services for an active QBO account. However, when we maintain the subscription on the client’s behalf, we are able to pass along lower QBO rates.
Declined auto-payments will result in an invoice being sent out to be paid immediately and a new credit card authorization form will need to be provided. Subscriptions past due thirty (30) days after invoice was sent will result in being removed from the Lighthouse Ledgers wholesale subscription account. Once removed, we will not be able to re-establish the lower rate for the subscription and the client will be responsible for maintaining their subscription with Intuit directly. A lapse in subscription does not result in losing all financial data. Intuit currently holds the data within the account for a full year before it will delete an inactive account.
We at Lighthouse Ledgers encourage transparency and creating clear expectations between ourselves and the clients we serve. Therefore, any inquiries regarding work completed should be submitted as soon as possible upon receipt of invoice. Our process includes documenting the details of the work completed within the scope of the job. However, we can be most helpful in answering inquiries when the project had been recently completed.
Lighthouse Ledgers is a small business. As such, we relate with other small businesses when it comes to managing cash flow effectively. We do our best to work with all our clients’ needs, as their success is our largest priority. In cases where a full payment may be delayed, we encourage our clients to reach out to us to communicate their payment plans. This allows Lighthouse Ledgers, as a small business, to better plan our cash flow budget in response, and limits the need for collection calls or emails interrupting the clients’ days.
Treatment of Late Accounts
We do not charge late fees. However, while there is a past due balance on an account that is (1) 30 days past due or longer, or (2) over $500 due, we are unable to provide additional services until the balance is paid in full. Promise of payment is not sufficient for resuming service, but helps us better anticipate our client’s needs and plan for any potential shortened timeframes in advance.
We provide several payment options as a service to our clients. We accept all major forms of credit cards as well as ACH payment options. We do not charge any service fees or credit card surcharges for payments.
Invoices are emailed to the client’s email account we have on file. Opening the View Invoice button takes the client to a secure location to submit payment through QuickBooks Merchant services. We will not be able to process payments that are emailed to us directly and we do not encourage sending any sensitive information in the body of an email.
Payments may also be sent directly to us through PayPal at https://www.paypal.me/LighthouseLedgers.
Payment by Phone
In some cases we can process payment over the phone, but will require a signed copy of the receipt for our records.
We do not encourage mailing checks, as they may result in a delay in services until payment is received and cleared. However, we do offer it as an option for those of our clients that prefer paying this way. In those cases, checks may be mailed to:
10015 Lake City Way NE, Suite 221
Seattle, WA 98125
We ask that clients send us a quick note with the invoice # and check # when the payment is mailed so we can notate the account and reach out when the check is received. If the check is lost in the mail, the client will be responsible for any stop payments they choose to process with their bank. If lost checks are later recovered by Lighthouse Ledgers, the check will be voided and returned to the client for their disposal.
Maintaining clear expectations and following up with our clients regularly regarding the status of their accounts is imperative in promoting a positive client experience. Therefore, we are updating our service timeframes with clearer turnaround times and a more diligent follow-up process.
Work is completed in best effort in order of documentation received for accounts in good standing and within the below expectations:
Completion of Work
Work related to supporting documentation (statements, invoices, receipts, etc) will be completed within one (1) week of receipt of all necessary information.
Missing Information or Documentation
In the case where documentation is issued regularly and the issuance date is known by Lighthouse Ledgers (such as some bank or credit card statements), Lighthouse Ledgers will follow-up with clients within one (1) week of the anticipated issuance date if not yet received.
Any requests for clarification will be sent to the client within one (1) week of receipt of supporting documents and followed up weekly until resolved.
Closing the Books
The books will be considered as “soft closed” at the time the financial statements are prepared. The financial statements are prepared and uploaded to the client’s shared file within one (1) week of the last supporting document being processed. If the books are not closed within four (4) weeks of the end of the month, then an email will be sent to the client indicating what paperwork or clarification is delaying the process. Since Lighthouse Ledgers will be following-up with clients weekly regarding any known missing documentation or information, this email helps provide an additional level of transparency regarding the state of the books.
The financials will include, unless requested otherwise by the client or restricted by accounting software; (1) Profit & Loss (Monthly), (2) Balance Sheet (Year-to-Date), (3) Statement of Cash Flows (Monthly), (4) General Ledger (Monthly), & (5) Transactions by Vendor Report. Additional reports are available upon request.
Unless waived by the client, Lighthouse Ledgers will conduct a quarterly review of the books to call out any aged undeposited funds or uncleared checks 90 days old or older. This will be prepared at the same time as the financial statements and include the last completed reconciliation statements.
Delays due to illness, emergency, or planned time off will be clearly communicated with clients as soon as possible once impact on their timelines, if any, is known.
After-the-fact bookkeeping refers to bookkeeping services rendered through supporting documentation and other information provided after the time the transaction was completed by the client. These transactions are categorized in the books based on the nature of the vendors or sales from the information provided by the client, often in the form of statements and receipts. This is an easy and cost effective solution for most clients, as it cuts down time spent on collecting and clarifying individual receipts, bills, and invoices, and matching them to statements prior to reconciliation.
After-the-fact bookkeeping is the default level of service provided to Lighthouse Ledgers clients, although more detailed tracking of individual income and expenditures is provided upon request with an adjusted minimum monthly billing of five (5) hours per month.
Due to the nature of after-the-fact bookkeeping, a number of assumptions are used to consistently code transactions in a reliable and material manner.
The most important assumption we make is that all transactions on the documentation provided by the client are deductible business transactions. It is the responsibility of the client to alert us to any personal transactions that end up on business related documents.. If we notice a transaction that appears questionable, we may request more information from the client in the need clarification report. However, it is not the responsibility of Lighthouse Ledgers to find them.
Questions regarding the nature of transactions can be submitted by email to Lighthouse Ledgers at any time. We will provide clarification based on our understanding of accounting principles and tax classifications. Any information provided by Lighthouse Ledgers does not replace the advice provided by your public accountant, tax professional, or legal advisor.
Questions? Comments? Feedback?
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Or call us at 206-890-3246
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