Things to Know Before Hiring a Bookkeeper

Things to Know Before Hiring a Bookkeeper image ID 100111821 300x300If you’re looking to hire a bookkeeper for your business, you’ve already made a smart business decision.  However, it’s important that you don’t stop making good decisions there.  Actually picking out the bookkeeper is the most important step.

A good bookkeeper will ensure that you keep more of the money you make by keeping your affairs organized and your operations running. They will send your invoices, track your expenses and make sure your employees are getting paid.

At Reckenen, we provide outsourced accounting for small businesses and often time take over a situation with poor bookkeeping practices. Good bookkeepers help small businesses tremendously in creating great synergies between different departments.

What to Look for in a Good Bookkeeper

With that said, here’s a list of some things you should take into consideration before hiring a bookkeeper.

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  • Bookkeepers need to have a strong attention to detail.  Be sure you hire a bookkeeper that is detail orientated.  Look for a strong contract and other signs that they’ll treat your books with the detail they deserve.  The messier your accounts are, the more important this factor becomes. Plus, a bookkeeper that can’t clean up messes efficiently will wind up costing you more time through billing hours.
  • Bookkeepers need a strong grasp on cause and effect.  Hiring the right person for the job will mean that they have to understand things like transaction creation impacts the profits, the losses and the balance sheets.  This will ensure that you’re making sound business decisions when doing things like switching suppliers.  Making edits to transactions down the line can cost you money and upset business relations. A simple cause and effect based insights can help in detecting or preventing occupational fraud at small businesses.
  • Bookkeepers need to understand GST.  Transactions need to be processed a certain way in order for them to be efficiently organized.  Accurate Business Activity Statements (BAS) can only be filed in relation to GST and by a bookkeeper who is registered as a BAS agent with the Tax Practitioners Board.
  • Bookkeepers need strong accountant relations.  If your bookkeeper and your accountant are different people, it’s vital that your bookkeeper be willing to work closely with your accountant. Accountants generally know more than bookkeepers so you’ll want a person who is open to taking advice and instruction, not a self-sufficient know-it-all.   The willingness to learn and grow as part of an accounting team is essential in a bookkeeper.
  • Bookkeepers should be members of professional groups.  This ensures that they are up to date on all the relevant news as it pertains to bookkeeping for a business.  This also means they have passed membership criteria, most of which can be pretty stringent.  It’s especially handy information if the membership requires that they carry professional indemnity insurance.
  • Bookkeepers should know more than one software package for accounting.  While not necessary, it’s a good sign if your bookkeeper is proficient in more than one type of accounting software—the more the better.  This means they will never run into compatibility problems when dealing with integration.  Plus, different software brings different outlooks and solutions to problems.  Having more than one way to look at things brings a better scope to your tax solutions.
  • Be sure you can contact your bookkeeper’s referrals.  The list should be plentiful and all contactable.  If the list is long but you can’t reach anybody, that’s a sign the list is probably a fake.  Good service will always be rewarded and as such, if your bookkeeper is saving other people money, they’ll be sure to want to return the favor to him or her by giving a simple courtesy referral.

Finding the Right Bookkeepers

Now that you know what you should be looking for when searching for bookkeeper, it’s important to know where to look.  You should always start out asking your network if they have any referrals for you.  This is the best way to get quality assurance through actual testimony.  If you can’t find anybody this way, you should take to the Internet and look for good referrals.

Having a backup staff is also a good thing to look for.  This will ensure that even on holidays or when your bookkeeper is sick, in a pinch, you can always talk with someone about your books.

Image courtesy of basketman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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