Guide to Hiring Your Best Bookkeeper
A great bookkeeper is sometimes difficult to find. Many have made a career out of doing “bookkeeping” without really grasping what the job entails. Hiring your cousin or your neighbor’s daughter to do the books may work for the short-term, but you need a professional. Writing or paying an invoice is not the extent of doing the books. Taxes are only filed 10-12 weeks out of the year. So what’s left?
How do you know the way your financials turned out is correct? Are you paying for time spent on unnecessarily long processes? Does your bookkeeper know what the end result means? Some can reconcile bank statements and code your credit card transactions; some are even pretty proficient in your software of choice. Few bookkeepers have college degrees and fewer have been in charge of accounting departments of any size. So what should you look for in your bookkeeper?
- Event Readiness: Having a bookkeeper experienced in events, such as sales tax audits, software changes, acquisitions, or bank loans can go a long way in making sure your books are handled in such a way that if you need to go through any of these events, you are ready without needing to pay for someone to go through your books again.
- Documentation for tasks so that if you grow or have a sudden need to fill a vacated position, processes and procedures can stay in line with the company mission and management directives.
- Processes: If you have involved techniques for gathering information, such as billing your customers or reconciling your customers’ project budgets, you’ll need someone experienced in developing processes that consider best practice, repeatability and scalability.
- Software expertise: These processes are most often enforced by the software used to hold your accounting information, so someone proficient enough in your software to unlock advanced features or have the ability to recommend a better fit, add-ons or stand-alone apps that can integrate with your system will keep your data integrity intact so that when you see your financials you can trust the information is correct.
If you have the next idea to save the world or even your little piece of heaven, safeguard the business side with someone who offers the whole package: Accounting know-how, software expertise, ability to time manage with the best processes using best practices, and the management experience to know how to make the vital decisions when it counts, all while keeping you in charge.
Many accountants may disagree on the basis of trying to have a menu of services, but when your books are done, be sure to keep your bookkeeping separate from your CPA. Checks & balances and separation of duties are accounting terms that mean keeping people doing your accounting separate from those auditing your accounting and doing your taxes so everyone stays honest. This is often difficult to do when you have a small business because many tend to have one or two people wearing multiple hats. Outsourcing opens up options so that you can get the experts without have to pay a full-time employee.