Do you find yourself pondering, “How do I even know if I have a good bookkeeper?”
Or perhaps you’re just starting out, wondering, “How do I find the right kind of bookkeeper?”
If you’ve ever wondered how to tell if your bookkeeper is the real deal or you’re in the market for one, you’re in the right place.
The truth is, many of us hire bookkeepers primarily to generate whatever our tax accountants require.
Bookkeepers excel (pun FULLY intended) at this because tax accountants speak their language, but here’s the catch: business owners often don’t know what to ask for.
Not because they’re not smart, but because they’ve never been through the process that helps them define what they need for the financial pillar of their business.
Meaning, “What do I really need to see?”
So, let’s dive into some key questions to ask a bookkeeper to determine if they’re the right fit for you:
1. What kind of bookkeeper are you?
Begin with the basics.
Are they a solo act juggling multiple clients, a regional player with a small team, or part of a national conglomerate?
This distinction matters because it affects two critical factors: the speed of your monthly financial reports and how flexible they can be in catering to your unique needs.
Solo bookkeepers often offer flexibility and a personalized touch, like having a trusty sidekick.
National companies might pack a bigger punch (and possibly a higher price tag), but have rigid systems that may not align with your business’s idiosyncrasies.
2. When you build my financials, what questions will you ask me?
Pay close attention to their response.
Red flag: “We’ll prepare it for your tax accountant, and everything will be taken care of.”
Green flag: “Do you have multiple products? Different customer types? Various income streams? Departments? Outsourced or in-house employees?”
Think of it as a job interview.
You want someone who demonstrates an intelligent understanding of your needs.
A great bookkeeper will dive into your business’s intricacies, inquire about the reports you want to see, and even propose suggestions based on your business goals.
3. How and what do you charge?
Get the fee structure clear.
Do they charge by the hour or offer a flat fee?
Will the cost increase if your business gets more complex?
Are there additional charges you should be aware of?
4. When can I expect my financial reporting?
This one’s crucial.
Some bookkeepers will tell you they can’t begin until the end of the month, taking 15-20 days to deliver your reports.
However, the best bookkeepers maintain your books throughout the month, minimizing the month-end rush.
Look for a bookkeeper who commits to providing reports within a few days, a sign that they manage their time efficiently, reducing costs in the process.
When you find a bookkeeper willing to answer these questions and invest time discussing your unique needs, you’re on the right track.
These four questions also give you a sneak peek into your bookkeeper’s personality.
Why’s that important?
Well, imagine trying to explain your business’s financial intricacies to someone who’s as engaging as a cardboard box.
Not fun, right?
You want a bookkeeper who gets you and gets along with you.
Your bookkeeper should be your financial ally, dedicated to helping you navigate the financial landscape of your business.
Still looking for that bookkeeper who’ll diagnose your biggest financial headache? Click here and we’ll get you sorted out.