The question of whether to hire a bookkeeper or not has probably come into your mind as a business owner.
Bookkeepers help keep your financial records organized and accurate, freeing up your time and reducing the chance of mistakes.
Once you’ve made the decision, it’s essential to learn how to hire a bookkeeper the right way.
This article explores why you need a bookkeeper, their duties and essential characteristics.
I’ll also share some online platforms where you can hire one, and tips for who to hire.
Why You Need a Bookkeeper
1. Bookkeepers Organise and Generate Accurate Records
A bookkeeper helps a business to keep precise and organised records of financial transactions.
These transactions include sales, expenses, accounts payable, and more.
Having well-organized financial records allows you to take care of the financial health of your business.
You’ll see where your income is coming from and being spent.
With organized records, you can plan ahead for bill payments, fundraising, or staffing decisions.
However, maintaining organised records is just the beginning.
A bookkeeper also helps produce accurate financial reports.
Reports such as balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and cash flow statements.
Nearly every decision you make for your business will have a financial angle.
Inaccurate financial records can lead to decisions that could bankrupt your business.
2. Bookkeepers Save You Time and Energy
Hiring a bookkeeper will take a lot of responsibilities and work off your shoulders.
Bookkeeping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and if you’re not a numbers person, you’d have a hard time tracking business transactions.
In such cases, hiring a bookkeeper who can save you time, energy, and money is a wise decision.
3. Bookkeepers Provide Crucial Insights
A bookkeeper can review your business finances, check for discrepancies (if any), and share insights that will help you make better business decisions.
They can also streamline the bookkeeping process so that you don’t face any issues during the tax season.
Responsibilities of a Bookkeeper
- Record transactions: Records daily business transactions such as sales, inventory, expenses, etc.
- Maintain accurate records: Maintains accurate transactional records and generates your balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement monthly.
- Reconcile accounts: Reconciles bank account and credit card statements to ensure the accuracy of your books.
- Help with taxes: Educates you about sales and other kinds of taxes involved in your business and works in tandem with you and your tax accountant during tax season.
- Track performance: Assists in budget preparation, tracks business’s performance against the budget, and comes up with ideas to cut business expenses wherever possible.
Qualities to Look for In a Bookkeeper
1. Detail-Oriented and Organised
A small mistake in a decimal point or miscounting zeros could have severe consequences for your business. It is crucial to find a bookkeeper who is detail-oriented, focused, organized, and able to correct any errors they may detect quickly.
Pro Tip: Look for a bookkeeper who is familiar with working with your type of business so that they can detect patterns in the financial records and prevent mistakes.
2. Proficient in Using Accounting Software
Accounting software helps bookkeepers make all financial processes efficient by eliminating errors and automating repetition.
By utilizing accounting software, a bookkeeper can streamline the process of generating financial statements and eliminate the need for manual data entry in spreadsheets.
So find a bookkeeper willing to integrate accounting software into their bookkeeping process.
Needless to say, anyone you hire for your business must be trustworthy.
When it comes to dealing with business finances, trust is an essential quality to look for in a bookkeeper.
Your bookkeeper will handle crucial and delicate information that should stay between you, your business, and the bookkeeper you hire.
Places to Look to Hire a Bookkeeper
One of the easiest and most reliable ways to hire a bookkeeper is to ask around in your network.
If you’re active on Linkedin, publish a post asking if there are any bookkeepers in your network and start talking to them.
You can also ask your network to recommend a bookkeeper they might’ve used at some point. If they’ve worked with or know of a good bookkeeper, they’ll likely be willing to pass along that person’s contact information.
Upwork is one of the most popular freelance hiring platforms. It’s trusted by the likes of Microsoft, Airbnb, and many more.
There are two ways to hire a bookkeeper from Upwork:
● You can either post a job on the platform and wait for candidates to fill out the application
● Or you can search for bookkeepers, review their profiles, and send offers to them
The bookkeepers on Upwork charge hourly rates and the hiring costs range from $10 to $125 per hour.
3. QuickBooks Bookkeeper
Quickbooks offer their own certified bookkeepers who wil take care of your current financials, and create a budget for the future.
You also get personalized reports that help you make informed business decisions.
Lastly, the bookkeeper you get from QuickBooks helps you categorize transactions so that you’re all set for the tax season.
Note: QuickBooks bookkeepers work remotely and connect with you via video call.
How to Decide Who to Hire
So you have a list of potential bookkeepers who can be an excellent fit for your business.
But how will you decide who’s the one who will be a perfect fit?
Follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Prepare a List of Questions to Ask During the Interview
Once you have shortlisted your candidates, ask them the following questions to assess who can do the better job for your business.
● What’s your experience in bookkeeping so far?
● How do you stay on top of changes in accounting regulations and standards?
● What’s an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation, like a discrepancy in financial records or a client issue?
● How do you keep everything organized and ensure all bookkeeping tasks are done on time?
● What specific bookkeeping software or systems have you used before? How confident are you in using them?
● How do you keep sensitive financial information, like payroll records and tax information, secure?
Add any other questions that are important to you, and keep notes of the candidate’s answers during your interviews.
Step 2: Evaluate Candidates’ Qualifications and Experience
If you already have the resumes (CVs) of candidates in hand, start by looking at their qualifications.
The ideal candidate should hold a degree or certification in accounting or bookkeeping.
Alternatively they may have many years experience.
All candidates should be able to demonstrate a strong foundation in accounting principles and bookkeeping practices.
As far as experience is concerned, try to pick a candidate who has experience in your field of business.
For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, look for a bookkeeper who has worked with a restaurant before.
If you have a service-based business, look for someone who has done bookkeeping for other service providers.
Online businesses should look to hire a bookkeeper familiar with e-commerce. They should also have experience working with online payment providers.
Step 3: Check References and Conduct Background Checks
Be sure to contact the references provided by the candidate.
Verify their work history, skills, and personal qualities.
Ask questions about their previous job responsibilities, performance, strengths and weaknesses, and other aspects of their work.
Conducting background checks involves verifying the information provided by the candidate, including their employment history, criminal record, and education.
No matter your business’s industry, you need a bookkeeper to maintain and optimize business finances.
If you’re financially savvy, you may be able to keep your books yourself.
Even if you have a degree in accounting, as a business owner, your time is best spent elsewhere in your business on things like strategy.
Remember this: Don’t look at hiring a bookkeeper as another business expense.
Instead, look at it as an investment.
A bookkeeper will help you cut costs, optimize expenditures, and help you make the best decisions for growing your business by bringing your finances on track.