So, your business is growing and you made the incredible decision to outsource the bookkeeping process to a professional so that you can invest your much needed time and energy on your developing business. The advice is that as soon as your small business starts garnering revenue and profits you need to make sure that you get a good bookkeeper. But what questions do you need to ask a bookkeeper before hiring them?
The problem really arises is when they have found a bookkeeper and, now, need to interrogate them to see if they are a good fit for you. This is the roadblock to success. So here are some of the topics that you can touch upon as soon as an able bookkeeper walks in through your doors.
The first and foremost thing that you need to understand is that a bookkeeper is not an accountant. Though a CPA will file your taxes for you and offer good insight and advice about what financial strategy that you need to devise next, the bookkeeper will be there to help you out with your day-to-day activities. This means bank reconciliation, invoicing, and generations of reports. In actuality, a bookkeeper is someone who will act as a second pair of hands in your company’s accounting system.
Considering the amount of responsibilities that they will be having, it is important that you make a wise choice when hiring one. Here are some of the topics that you can touch upon as during the interview:
Just like when you hire any employee in your company you will have to look at the person’s credentials. Even if they are not going to be based in your office, it is important that you see where they have been educated from. Though they will not have to have a license like the accountants, it is best if they do hold one. It is best if you hire a bookkeeper who has been certified by organizations like National Association Of Certified Public Bookkeepers or some other institutions of a similar nature. You should make sure to ask about their training, experience, and certifications.
Basic skills such as reconciling bank accounts, processing payroll, handling both accounts payable and receivable, should all be a part of the skillset that come with the bookkeeper. You will also need a bookkeeper who turns out to be an effective communicator and will be able to develop easy to understand reports. Other than that, you need a bookkeeper who will understand and quickly learn the accounting system that your business is using.
Experience in the industry you are operating in
Though there are a lot of elements to bookkeeping that are pretty generic, there are some rules that will be specific to your industry only. For example, a bookkeeper who has worked primarily with photographers will have a different skillset and mindset that the one who has worked with contractors. A bookkeeper who is aware of your field might be a much better option that a person who is a generalist.
How your interaction goes in the first meeting
Hiring a bookkeeper is not just a hire and forget about it sort of a move. You will want a bookkeeper who makes an effort to engage with you on an everyday basis and review the transactions along with discussing what the past is and what is coming up. You need to make sure that they respond quicker to emails and call their clients back quickly if they miss their calls. This is also where you evaluate their rates, their hourly bookkeeping rates. Hiring a bookkeeper is an added expense and you need to make sure you get what you paid for.