Many business owners that approach us aren’t sure what they should be looking for in a bookkeeper, or bookkeeping company, for their business. We explore what you should look for in a bookkeeper and guide you on the right questions to ask before hiring one.
What Should I Look For in a Bookkeeper?
When you start your business, we would always recommend hiring an experienced accountant who can provide you with advice on growing your business, help you with tax planning and filing taxes. As your business grows you may consider hiring a professional bookkeeper who will assist you on a more regular basis. A bookkeeper will assist with cashflow forecasting, financial reporting and providing management accounts so that your business finances are up to date and accurate. But what should you look for in a bookkeeper?
Hiring a bookkeeper to keep track of your accounting tasks will allow you to concentrate on what you’re really good at, growing your business! Depending on the needs of your business, you may consider a freelance or an in-house bookkeeper. At Insight Finance Solutions Ltd, we become part of your team, managing your accounts with regular strategy meetings and check-ins, allowing you focus on what’s most important to you and your business.
What Does a Bookkeeper Offer?
There is a wide variation on the services bookkeepers or bookkeeping firms offer, so it is worth considering what your requirements are before the interviewing process. Some bookkeepers will simply offer data entry services whilst others can provide accurate management accounts and financial analysis. Are there jobs which you would be happy to do and others which you feel you need help with?
Consider who will do the following:
- Bank reconciliation – how often will this need to be completed?
- Entering supplier bills, filing expenses and paying suppliers
- Raising sales invoices and chasing for payments
- Ensuring the correct categorization of taxable expenses and incomes
- Lodging VAT and tax returns
- Prepare financial documents such as Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet
- Running payroll and paying staff
Remember, some bookkeepers are specialists while others offer more general bookkeeping services. If your industry or finances are more challenging, you may need to consider a bookkeeping specialist with the right qualifications.
Is Your Bookkeeper Familiar With Your Industry?
We are often recommended new clients via word of mouth, and this means that we have some clients that work in similar industries so we do pick up a lot, however we have a wide range of clients from Pilates instructors to award winning wine merchants! Your ideal bookkeeper may need experience in your industry, but this is not always the case.
You may need to consider how difficult or specialised your industry is and decide if training the bookkeeper you hire is worth doing so. Many industry bodies can recommend financial advice businesses or individuals that specialise in particular industries.
How Organised Is Your Ideal Bookkeeper and How Do They Communicate?
Your bookkeeper, whether you hire in-house or outsource, should feel like a part of your team. They should support you and the business in a way that allows you to focus on the aspects that you excel at. As you would with any other member of staff, you will want to make sure that your methods of communication, and even your personalities, align.
For example, if you would prefer a weekly or monthly email which details work completed or information that is required from you, but they send you daily Whatsapp messages for each point, it will end in frustration and miscommunication.
Your bookkeeper should be organised, that’s what you hired them for after all! Accurate and timely processed accounts will allow you to feel less stressed about your business finances, allowing you to plan for tax payments and a pain free Year End. You don’t want to get to your Year End and spend time clearing up messes or answering questions about an expense from 6 months previously.
When hiring a bookkeeper, it is important to set clear expectations of responsibilities and delivery timescales.
How Much Does a Bookkeeper Cost?
Well, here is a tricky question! Depending on whether you hire a bookkeeper or a professional bookkeeping firm there may be variations with costing. An accounting firm may well charge a fixed monthly fee, whereas a freelance bookkeeper may charge by the hour.
However the bookkeeping rates are agreed you should always set clear expectations, for both sides, of what is expected within the cost.
If you’re ready to hire a bookkeeper to take the weight of your business finances and allow you to focus on what you’re great at, get in touch! Book a chat with us in confidence and we’ll be happy to help!