As a small business owner, especially a start-up, you wear a lot of hats – one of those is probably bookkeeper. With all the things you have to do to start and grow your business, tracking the numbers is most likely something you really don’t like to do or have the time to do well.
So now you are thinking about hiring a bookkeeper – what should you look for?
1. Accounting expertise – does the person you are considering have an accounting degree or extensive accounting experience? Understanding “the why” is as important as “the how”. Do they know the difference between cash and accrual basis of accounting and how looking at your financials using both methods can help your business? Do they know the deadlines that need to be met to keep you in compliance?
2. QuickBooks (or other accounting software) expertise – does the person you are considering have at least 2-4 years of experience using all aspects of QuickBooks (entering and paying bills; setting up items; creatings estimates, invoices and statements; setting up and processing payroll; creating 1099s; reconciling bank, credit card and loan accounts; tracking jobs, creating budgets, etc.)? Do they know how to customize reports to get the infomation you need?
3. Understanding of your industry – does the person you are considering have a familiarity with your industry? Do they understand what data is key for you to know and what processes may be mandated for your industry?
4. Ability to communicate – can the person you are considering explain what the numbers mean in terms you can understand?
5. Bondable – is the person you are considering bondable (internal hire) or do they have professional liability insurance (external hire) that protects you in the case of fraud or theft?
Whether you are hiring a part-time or full time employee or using an independent contractor or bookkeeping company, it pays to be careful with this critical decision.