A bookkeeper offers a vital service for your business. They save you time and money, giving you the freedom to concentrate on your area of expertise!
But how do you choose a bookkeeper?
There are many things to consider when taking on a bookkeeper;
Attention to detail and problem solving
The most important part of a bookkeepers job is attention to detail. They must enjoy problem solving and be good at it. If your bookkeeper is good at what they do they will be chasing you for all the paperwork and supporting evidence which they need. A keen eye for attention to detail matters so much when it comes to numbers, everything needs to add up and balance, with relevant evidence to support every transaction. It’s their job to ensure that they get this from you. So ask the question what would they do if they were struggling to get information from you? Their answer should be they would keep contacting you and pick up the phone to you.
Your bookkeeper needs to have excellent communication skills. As we said before they need to be able to approach you for missing details and not be scared to keep chasing you. They also need to be able to explain complex situations to you, in a way, which you understand. Communication is key to ensure you both understand each other. Not only do they need good communication skills but you need to develop a connection with them. Don’t make contacting you difficult. Set out a process of communication from the outset. Tell them what the best method of contacting you is.
If you choose a remote working bookkeeper ensure that you have regular video call contact. This will really heighten communication, being able to see their body language and reactions is important, and will help you both to develop a strong relationship.
Understanding your business
Before seeking a bookkeeper, it’s important that you recognise what your requirements are. You can’t expect someone to understand your business requirements if you don’t. Bookkeeping is different depending on sector/industry. Check if they have relevant experience within your industry. They must understand what your business does, how it operates, what your charging methods are and know what your main expenses are. Make sure they are proactive, asking you all the right questions before you sign an agreement with them.
Loyalty and commitment
Once you get a bookkeeper on board you want to ensure they stay with you for as long as possible. This way they get to know your business inside out. They will develop a rhythm and your bookkeeping will be more consistent and fluent. The longer they do your books, the more they learn about you and your business which is really important.
Investment in Software
Are they up to date with all accounting software? Being up to date with software, shows they are invested in their business and reflects their commitment to your business.
Consider the software you use and what they use. Will they adapt flexibly to yours? If they prefer to use another software platform, what are their reasons? Listen to their opinions, they may be justified, after all that’s their job and a good bookkeeper should know the best software to make the bookkeeping more streamlined. A professional bookkeeper should also be able to adapt to your software easily but not be afraid to give you advice, and if they expect you to change providers they need to assist you with the transition, and ensure it doesn’t create more work for you.
Qualifications & Accreditations
Ensure your bookkeeper is qualified and certified. Ask to see their certificates, it’s important that they are experienced and qualified in what they do. You are paying for a service which requires attention to detail and your books need to be left in capable hands.
Ask other business owners to refer you to a bookkeeper who they can recommend. It’s always good to go off other people’s recommendations. The majority of bookkeepers get most of their work through word of mouth and client referrals. If you don’t have anyone you can ask, check out their reviews.
When recruiting a bookkeeper for your business make sure they can cover all aspects of your business. Keeping your books all in one place is far more organised, productive and cost effective. Take into consideration whether you wish to employ a bookkeeper or recruit a freelance bookkeeper. We will cover the differences in more detail in a future blog, so stay tuned!