In every business the bottom line comes down to dollars and cents. No matter what industry you are in, at some point you are going to have to deal with money and managing finances. Doing this well with proper record keeping and account management can be a difficult and time-consuming task. This is where the help of a good bookkeeper can take the pressure off, allowing you to be more efficient, reducing the risk of errors and releasing you to focus on the rest of your business.
All it takes is a quick online search to see that there are multitudes of options available when looking for a book keeper; free lancers, firms and even outsourcing overseas. Finding the right book keeper can seem like an overwhelming task. Here are three things to do to start your search:
- Consider going local
Advances in technology over the last few decades have brought the whole world closer together. While outsourcing to someone online may seem like a cheap and easy option now, in the long run it is fraught with danger and can turn into a difficult road.
Finding a local bookkeeper means having someone that doesn’t just see the numbers and documents you send them, but they see and understand the environment you are working in. They will know the trends and external business climates that are affecting your operations and be able to help you better than someone hundreds of miles away. They will know the correct compliance and legal factors that you need to meet and that affect you, because they too will be working under the same framework.
When you find a local bookkeeper, it means that they can visit you on site and assist you in person when needed. They can see your business in action, talk to you on location and go through paperwork and forms one on one when necessary. It is more than just being able to put a face to a name; it will make you more efficient and productive in your work.
- Get referrals
The relationship between a business owner and a bookkeeper is built on trust. Most people won’t disclose their financial details, income and outgoings with their closest friends and family, so finding a bookkeeper that you can trust is essential. You must be able to be open and honest with your bookkeeper, and comfortable to talk about everything in your business. Your bookkeeper can’t help you efficiently if you aren’t able to be transparent with them. Knowing you are working with someone who is credible, ethical and reliable will give you a peace of mind that is priceless.
When you are finding a new bookkeeper, the only real way to know you have found someone you can trust like this is to talk to the people they have worked with before. Getting referrals from people who have had experience will give you the best picture of how the bookkeeper operates and if they are someone you can work with.
Don’t just read what is on someone’s website and the testimonials they have chosen to show you. Talk to trusted business associates and professionals who will give you an unbiased insight into who is good to work with and who is bad news.
- Do your research
Finding the right bookkeeper is critical for your business and shouldn’t be rushed into. Take the time to do your due diligence and do the research to know what you are getting into. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get the information you need.
Questions to ask could include:
- Are they certified and have proper training? Every bookkeeper should have some type of formal training and ideally be registered as a Business Activity Statements (BAS) agent.
- Search the register here: https://www.tpb.gov.au/registrations_search
- What software do they use? Will it work with what you already use? Will you have access to your information while they work with you?
- Do they have industry experience? Are they going to know what it is you do and be able to understand your business needs?
Remember that cheaper is not always better, which makes doing proper research an important step in finding a bookkeeper. Judging a bookkeeper by their price is not the way to find the best solution and your decision should instead come back to the research you do in conjunction with the referrals you get. You generally pay for what you get, and the less experienced and less qualified bookkeeper will often be cheaper. When paying by the hour, a more experienced bookkeeper may charge a lot more, but take half the time to do the work. The only way to know you are making the right decision is to do your research.
Choosing the right bookkeeper for your business is a crucial step. Finding a local bookkeeper that you can trust, that comes out on top through referrals from trusted business associates and ticks all the boxes in your research is your number one step on your way to success.
For further reading on what to look for in a bookkeeper and what to research, look at these articles: