Choosing a new bookkeeper is like choosing a new employee. The right company can grow with your business to become a trusted colleague that you can depend on- offering advice and guidance.
Every business, no matter how small, must keep a record of every transaction. This includes sales, expenses, salaries – in fact every movement of money into and out of your business. Bookkeeping is an essential part of your business and something you’ll want to get right as your business grows. Once you’ve decided to hire a bookkeeper – whether it’s to help organise your day-to-day finances or to assist you VAT Returns; you’ll want to choose someone that’s experienced and capable. A good bookkeeper will save you time, understand your business and help manage your cash flow.
Getting this decision right can save you time and money year after year. We’ve put together some of the things you should consider when making this important decision.
Understand what you need…
Knowing your business and what you require from a bookkeeper is a perfect start to your search.
- How many transactions do you make weekly or monthly? This will determine how much bookkeeping time will be required
- Which accounting software do you use? Are you looking to switch to cloud accounting so you can view your figures in real time?
- Do you require credit control, payroll, debt collection services?
- What are your key dates? This includes payroll, year end, tax returns, scheduled meetings with accountant etc
Make a note of all of these important questions and discuss them with prospective bookkeepers. The Business Hut offer completely free of charge business consultations for you to establish if we are a good fit for your business.
Employ or outsource
You might have considered whether to outsource your bookkeeping support or hire an employee. There is no right or wrong approach as this depends on the size and needs of your business. Our blog on Employing vs Outsourcing might just be a handy resource in this case!
Location, location, location
It used to be vital to have your bookkeeper nearby, but today more companies are collaborating online and have turned to cloud-based technology to manage their business. With cloud accounting, like Xero, you and your bookkeeper can view identical real-time data at the same time, no matter where you are. Many of our clients at The Business Hut like a little or a lot of face-to-face contact- this is great, because so do we! Most businesses still have some paperwork, files and documents to organise and this obviously requires a real human in your office; but in-between these visits we keep clients updated via beautiful accounting software, emails and online sharing portals. The decision really comes down to what suits you best. Talk to your bookkeeper about how they can fit into your schedule – will you require a weekly or monthly visit? Are they willing to travel to your office as frequently as you need?
Relevant qualifications & experience
Bookkeeping doesn’t have the same legal restrictions for qualifications as Accountants do, but certification is available. It’s certainly worth checking what certification and experience your chosen bookkeeper has. Ask for details of past experience with clients and what industries they have worked in. Perhaps you could get in touch with other existing clients to get their feedback? At The Business Hut, we are fully licensed by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) and an Affiliate Member of The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.
Make use of your social tools
Recommendations are a perfect way to get in touch with potential bookkeepers. Speak with your business pals and find out what they’re doing. Pick up the phone, drop them an email or even send them a tweet. This old fashioned way never fails! You can also make use of your social networks – hit Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to advertise your requirements, reach out for recommendations, and even test the waters of potential bookkeepers. Looking at bookkeepers through social media can be a great way of discovering their passion and responsiveness of their own business. We love socialising at The Business Hut! You can find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
Find out what their preferred accounting software is. The chances are, in the time they’ve been in business, they may have become used to one particular brand of software. This can make it difficult for you if you use something different or are looking for a change. There’s no reason why a bookkeeper shouldn’t be able to use more than one accounting platform. We use Sage, as well as our preferred software, Xero. Many of our clients find that it’s time to move to the cloud and we can provide just that!
Choose the right person
Talk to as many people or companies as you need to. Meet/interview them twice if necessary, and be sure to check their references and qualifications. It’s also important to think about personality and culture fit. Your chosen bookkeeper will be communicating a lot with you and your staff, even if they aren’t employed full-time. It pays to hire someone who works well in your environment. Trust your instincts here, and hire someone who is friendly, helpful, and above all, keen.
Choosing someone to crunch the numbers all sounds very serious – and in many ways it is! Your bookkeeper will become very involved with the operation of your company so it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Bookkeepers take all the numbers, receipts and bills that flow through your business and funnel it into meaningful financial information, all in the correct place – giving you an immediate view of the health of your business.
A good bookkeeper will be with you every step of the way as your business grows, so it pays to take your time and make sure you hire the right one.
If you want to talk to us about your requirements for a bookkeeper or accountant, please get in touch. We offer completely free of charge business consultations so we can get to know each other and see if The Business Hut is a good fit for your own business.
We look forward to meeting you!
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