Nothing ruins my workflow more than realizing I can’t access the information needed to do my job. It’s like running out of gas on the highway or having your phone die while you’re out and about… roadblocks are a pain when they occur.

But in some cases, they’re also avoidable.

I’ve been in situations where it’s well past the end of the month, and I’m still waiting on bank or credit card statements from my client so I can reconcile their books.

This is annoying for so many reasons:

  1. I can’t finish my work until I get the statements.
  2. I am bugging my client (sometimes over and over again) until they get back to me.
  3. My client is frustrated because they’re getting nagged.
  4. I’m frustrated because I’m STILL STUCK (and I want to do a good job).
  5. They need financial reports from me, but I can’t send them ‘cause the bookkeeping is not done. They’re mad, I’m mad. Bad scene.
  6. When the statements finally come through, I have to rush to complete the books and I hate rushing. They’re still mad. I’m still mad.

When you can’t access the information you need to do your job, no one wins.

So, how do you move forward? By gaining bookkeeper access to your client’s account. Here’s how.

What Is Bookkeeper Access?

First a clarification – generally there are two types of access you can get on commercial bank and credit card accounts: bookkeeper (aka read-only) access and transactional access, which gives you the ability to transact (think pay bills, send wires etc). 

To my knowledge, both types of access are only granted for business accounts – I have not seen it available for personal bank accounts (this is an important note – especially if your client co-mingles biz and personal activity). 

Depending on the bank, this access can be called different things: bookkeeper access, accountant access, admin access, or (in the case of American Express) account manager access. 

As you and I have already established, you don’t want to rely on clients to get information – it slows you down, and it creates a frustrating experience for you and your clients. Getting bank access allows you to bust through roadblocks completely, making your life soooo much easier! 

Establish controls & limits

What if your client wants you to pay bills but isn’t comfortable with allowing you full access to the account. That’s okay!

With most banks, it’s possible to set transactional limits which means the main account holder must approve transactions, or it sets limits on the amount of money a user can access in a single day (say sending out a max of $5,000 for bill payments). There are other options too for establishing controls or limits – like using an app like bill.com or Melio. 

Put it on autopilot

When it comes down to it, bookkeeper access allows you to put things on autopilot. To your client, this shows how independent you are. You’re perfectly capable of completing assignments without having to ask questions or request statements. For busy business owners, this is huge and a relief.

Our jobs as bookkeepers are entirely information-dependent. That means we NEED the bank information to do our work, there’s just no getting around it. If you continually can’t access that info, your client gets frustrated. Eventually, you could lose them – even your reputation could take a hit.

Autopiloting your access to information is crucial in creating and maintaining a positive client experience.

What About Using My Client’s Login Info?

At my firm, my team never ever ever uses a client’s personal access or login information. This is for our client’s protection and ours.

Why do we have this rule? 

Say my client gave me their personal login, and fraud is detected on the account. Because the client gave out their credentials, the bank will not provide fraud protection. If the client turns around and accuses me of fraud, I have no (or very limited) protection.

Maybe my client gave their password to their petsitter’s grandmother’s boyfriend – I have no way of knowing that. So there’s no way I’m putting myself and my business in harm’s way, especially when there are safer alternatives.


You have to get bookkeeper access if you want to be more efficient, and provide better customer service to your bookkeeping clients. In fact, it should be non-negotiable between you and your customers.

I love my clients, but if I had to wait to get statements from them to do my job, I’d be waiting forever – and putting way too much energy into following up. Bookkeeper access makes the process of obtaining vital information a piece of cake, and you need to request it now if you haven’t already.

Cheers to making your job that much easier 🥂