How to Find a Bookkeeper
By Cameron McCool
Finding the right bookkeeper for your business can require some legwork—but the payoff is worth the effort. Start by talking to entrepreneurs in your industry who have similar businesses. Word-of-mouth referrals are typically well-qualified, especially if they come from likeminded business owners who are familiar with your bookkeeping needs.
The next step is to arrange a phone call or meeting with candidates who fit the bill. While you're interviewing potential bookkeeper candidates, consider these questions:
- Do you want to meet with your bookkeeper in person or are you comfortable communicating with them remotely via email and phone?
- Do you need to be able to access your financial information online?
- Does your bookkeeper keep regular office hours?
- How would you contact them in case of an emergency?
- Have they worked with other businesses in your industry before?
- Are they familiar with the financial, accounting and administrative challenges your business faces?
- Do they know the types of expenses your business will be incurring?
- Do they clearly communicate financial information and ideas without using confusing jargon?
- Are they willing to walk you through concepts you’re unfamiliar with or recommend educational resources?
- How would the size and model of your business affect the bookkeeper’s rate?
- How do they expect to be paid? Do they charge a flat rate fee or by the hour?
- When you calculate the price of your own time—and compare it with the price of hiring a bookkeeper—are you saving money?
- How can they guarantee the security of your information?
- Where will your financial data be stored? In the cloud or locally?
- How often do they back up their data and on what medium?
Once you've found the right bookkeeper for your business, it's time to get down to business. Talk to your bookkeeper early on and establish a process that works for both of you.
How to work with a bookkeeper.
The longer you work with a specific bookkeeper, the better they’ll become at categorizing transactions and anticipating your business’s needs.
To get the most out of your bookkeeper—and ensure your relationship flourishes—consider taking these steps to establish a mutually efficient and beneficial working relationship:
Develop a system for submitting documents.
When it comes to business records, your best bet is to go paperless. Keeping business records in the cloud keeps your office clutter-free. It will also ensure your records are easy to access and share with your bookkeeper.
Online bookkeeping services like Bench allow you to automatically import financial info from your bank account. If you’re working with a bookkeeper who doesn’t offer this service, set up a method of uploading documents to a shared Dropbox folder or scan them with your phone’s camera and attach them to a secure email.
Submit documents on time.
Your bookkeeper can’t prepare your financial statements unless they have your financial data on hand. To keep things running smoothly, submit expenses regularly and on time—it’ll help your bookkeeper stay on top of the books.
If there’s something you don’t understand on your financial statements—or if you’re unsure about what kind of information your bookkeeper needs—don’t be afraid to ask. Making assumptions and doing tasks incorrectly can end up costing you more in the long run. Your bookkeeper is the expert when it comes to financial statements. It’s entirely okay if you don’t know everything right away.
Protect your treasury functions.
Even though your bookkeeper has access to some of your sensitive financial information, you should never give them access to treasury functions. Investing, signing checks, and making bill payments are tasks better left in your hands.
Finding and working with a bookkeeper is an easy way to save time and ensure your business finances stay on track each month—but it’s only the start.
There are plenty of other administrative tasks you can automate in order to save time. Check out our free guide, How to Automate your Small Business, for more time-saving tips.
Bench is the online bookkeeping service that gives you a team of bookkeepers to do your books—so you don’t have to. MINDBODY users save 20% on their first six months with Bench.
Although this blog offers business advice, this content is for general informational purposes only—it is not intended to replace the guidance of a licensed legal or financial professional. Information created by third parties that we may link out to or feature on our site is not endorsed by us and remains the responsibility of such third parties. MINDBODY assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the content.