Before you start your search for the perfect bookkeeping partner, we recommend you identify and keep the following items in mind:
What business are you in?
You should be able to explain the category your business falls into; for example, a food and beverage store may have different requirements than say a Jewelry store. Do you know what the accounting requirements are for your industry?
How much time do you need to invest in bookkeeping?
Identify the average number of transactions your business conducts in a given time period. This will help to provide a clear understanding of the volume a bookkeeper should expect to have to reconcile on your behalf. This will also provide an estimate of the amount of time a firm would have to devote to your account and allow them to allocate appropriate resources for the job.
Who is handling your books?
Are you using a product such as Quickbooks or Xero to keep your books in line?
Once you have identified and addressed the previous points, here are some tips on what to look for in a bookkeeper:
Geographics and Size - It is important to put into perspective the time-zone your business operates in. While there are many freelance Bookkeepers out there, you should consider a solution which can promise you a high level of consistency, dedicated staff and convenient times to communicate.
Experience is Essential - Be sure to check if proper certifications are held by staff members of the bookkeeping solution you are considering. Inquire about the different types of companies the potential partner currently works with, to provide insight into the firm's overall breadth of experience. Request to speak with a current client who would be willing to dedicate five minutes to speak on their experience with the prospective firm.
Word of Mouth - The oldest known way to make a connection is still relevant - communicate with friends about bookkeeping partners they are working with. Check your LinkedIn for mutual connections and see how the two work together.
Bookkeepers and accountants are evolving into a financial advisory role more now than ever before. Bookkeepers and their related teams are analyzing your data on the front lines and will be the first to make a recommendation or raise a concern.
Having an advisory type relationship with your bookkeeper will help scale your business. Your bookkeeper will be with you each step of the way - so don’t feel rushed into making a decision on this endeavor.
Prepare any concerns you have for the potential bookkeeper, in advance of the conversation, to make sure you have nothing to worry about prior to a new partnership.