As your business grows in a positive sense, there should come a time when you must consider outsourcing your bookkeeping services.
Having competent hands take care of your books relieve you of certain responsibilities and focus better on some other parts of the business. Hiring a competent bookkeeper will help guide your business in the path of positive growth. On the other hand, hiring a quack to handle bookkeeping can spell doom for the growing business. We have highlighted 7 top tips you should consider to find a perfect bookkeeper for your firm.
1. Training and Education
A competent bookkeeper must be knowledgeable about bookkeeping, finance, or accounting at both high school and higher education levels. Check through your prospects' CVs to confirm that they have the required educational background that qualifies them for the job. You can use LinkedIn to browse the profiles of some prospects and request their CVS. Apart from an educational background, a competent bookkeeper is expected to be skillful and have good business acumen. Through some oral and written interviews, your HR should be able to detect the aforementioned qualities in any of your prospects.
This is an essential factor to consider when outsourcing your bookkeeping services. All other things being equal, the greater the industry experience, the better suited the candidate is for the job. Try to find a bookkeeper who has a minimum of 3-5 years prior experience in the same industry your firm belongs to. This assures that your bookkeeper understands virtually all the peculiarities that come with working with a firm like yours. You can also relax and better focus on other parts of the business when you know your books are in competent hands. You may ask for professional certificates and CV to confirm the candidate's experience.
3. Adoption of technology
In the 21st century, manual handling of bookkeeping is considered less efficient and out-of-date. There are many powerful accounting and bookkeeping software packages professionals use to meet up running a business in the 21st century. The perfect bookkeeper for your firm should know about using some of these accounting/bookkeeping software packages. This is in addition to having basic Microsoft Excel and Word skills. It is equally important that they can perform bank reconciliations and process online payments.
4. Efficient communication skills
Bookkeepers often work with other members of staff to get their jobs done. In dealing with other employees, effective communication is important. For instance, when particular data required for a specific use, the bookkeeper can communicate with others such that the data needed is submitted to time and as specified. Lots of time could be wasted due to errors that may arise due to poor communication skills.
5. Be clear on the client protection policy
Bookkeepers often deal with very sensitive business data that can have dire consequences if there is a data leak. Ask what measures the bookkeeper puts in place to ensure data is safe and secure. In case you are hiring more than one bookkeeper, how is internal control and segregation of duties maintained?
6. Clarify pricing for their services
You need to know if your bookkeeper charges by the hour or are placed on a fixed monthly payment. Most bookkeepers charge a fixed rate. You should ask about what is included in the fixed-rate and what isn't. This will help you find the cost of hiring a bookkeeper and decide if your business can afford one or more.
7. Help bookkeeper get familiar with existing conditions
As you hire the best bookkeeper you can find, you need to help him, or her get acquainted with how things run in your firm. If you already have accounting software you use, the bookkeeper needs to know how to access it. Let the bookkeeper know those that will work directly with him/her. Allow the bookkeeper to seek clarification on working conditions, company policy, and expectations.
Hiring a competent bookkeeper is one of the major decisions for moving your company forward. Get it right, and the benefits can be will be of great positive impact on your business. In case you can't engage bookkeepers full-time, you may also consider a part-time arrangement.