Hiring a good bookkeeper is one of the most important decisions a business owner can make. For most of us, keeping the books is a painful task we aren’t well trained in. That’s where having a good bookkeeper comes in. While good business owners know the importance of having good books, they rarely spend time researching the qualifications of a bookkeeper before hiring one.
Here are 5 things to consider before handing your books to a new bookkeeper.
1. There’s a difference between data-entry and bookkeeping.
Just because someone can enter bills and organize receipts doesn’t mean they know how to classify things properly. Just a few simple mistakes could impact a businesses reporting and even its tax liabilities. Worse, if mistakes are made, an inexperienced bookkeeper won’t be able to look back and find when and where it occurred. Hiring your neighbor’s aunt, who’s retired and looking for part time job bookkeeping, might make your hiring easier, but it’s rarely a good idea in the long-term. (Sorry aunt Barbara, but you know it’s true.)
2. Hiring a bookkeeper doesn’t mean handing over your responsibility.
Just because you hire someone to do your books doesn’t mean you can just walk away and leave them to it. Quality bookkeepers will regularly have questions for you that need to be answered quickly. If you fail to return their calls or attend regular meetings with them, you can’t get mad at them if your books are incomplete when you need them or miss a filing deadline. The best bookkeepers have a long list of clients and can’t wait 3-5 days for you to call them back. Your books and your taxes are your responsibility, so stay in touch!
3. Some bookkeepers may not fit in to your team.
Just like doctors, attorneys and landscapers, bookkeepers can specialize in specific industries. Sure, the basics of bookkeeping may be standardized, but varying industries have different terminologies, cost accounts and reporting needs. Finding someone with experience in your industry is usually a smart move. It can reduce training time and communication chaos simply due to lingo.
4. Bookkeeper certifications matter.
A bookkeeper with certifications like QuickBooks and other systems shows both professionalism and initiative. It also means that getting started with a particular system may be faster, and that usually means less expensive. While certifications alone do not mean perfection or a perfect fit for your team, they should be considered with the other points in this article. Certifications rarely hurt the odds of finding a good bookkeeper for your business. Use this link to find a QuickBooks certified bookkeeper in your area.
5. Have a CPA that you trust regularly reconcile your bookkeeper’s work.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust your bookkeeper. You should. It just means that a second layer of security is always a good thing. This is especially true when dealing with large, complex and changing sums of money. A good CPA and bookkeeper working together often is also a great way to find and repair simple mistakes before they are compounded.
Having a great bookkeeper on your team is an important part of any successful business. But hiring one without experience or certifications or thinking they can do it without your input is usually a disaster in the making.
For more information on building your team with bookkeepers, attorneys, marketing, and web development folks, contact Part Time Business Partners today at www.parttimebusinesspartners.com!