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Hiring a Bookkeeper - small business guide

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Alex, Staff Writer

Friday, 16 April 2021

Bookkeeping is the process of tracking a company’s finances and is a vital part of any business. A bookkeeper keeps a record of what money is coming in and out of a company, helping business owners to stay on top of their cash flow. 

If carried out properly, bookkeeping helps you make informed decisions about your business and also serves as a great tool to help you measure your business’s key performance indicators. With proper bookkeeping, you can tell whether or not you are on the way to achieving all the goals you set for your business. 

Despite how vital it is, many business owners don’t have the knowledge (or time) to manage their bookkeeping, which is why hiring someone to do it for them is much more preferable. By getting an expert to take care of the bookkeeping, owners can focus their time, energies and attention on growing their business.

Let’s take an in-depth look at the roles of a bookkeeper and the benefits of hiring one for your business.

What are the responsibilities of a Bookkeeper? 

Bookkeepers wear many types of hats and take care of multiple aspects of your business, including: 

  • Daily management of business accounts

  • Tax preparation 

  • Handling accounts payable

Daily management of all business accounts

Keeping up with sales numbers can get overwhelming for a business owner, especially if they are managing a large number of transactions on a daily basis. This is where a professional bookkeeper can come in. 

Bookkeepers help your business by managing your accounts daily, including keeping track of every sale and making sure they are all recorded.

Tax preparation

Taxing and the laws that surround it can be a nightmare for many business owners. Not understanding this has driven many companies into precarious situations with governing bodies. To make sure that you do not slip into the trap of extra fines and tax defaults, your bookkeeper will make sure that all your business records are in order and help you prepare to pay your taxes as and when due. 

Handling accounts payable

In a nutshell, accounts payable is the amount of money owed by a business to its suppliers and is displayed on the balance sheets. With so much going on in the running of a business it can be easy to forget to pay off these debts.

Your bookkeeper helps you stay on top of these debts by making sure that you’re aware of them, and in many cases, they’re responsible for making the payments on your behalf.

Other services that your bookkeeper can offer include sending out and managing invoices, processing payments, and handling international transactions.  

Questions to ask your Bookkeeper before hiring them 

While it might be tempting to jump online and hire the first bookkeeper you find, it’s always a good idea to ask them the following essential questions to make sure they’re the right person for the job. 

Can I see testimonials from previous clients? 

It’s important to see testimonials from past clients as they provide a trustworthy sense of the bookkeeper’s capabilities. 

How do you charge?

When it comes to charging for their services, bookkeepers can bill you in 3 separate ways: 

  • Fixed-rate/flat fee: What you see is what you get - the cost stays the same despite how long it takes to complete the task. 

  • Subscription: Services are packaged up and billed as monthly packages. Different service packages with tiered pricing are normally offered. 

  • Hourly: Many bookkeepers prefer to charge by the hour 

What qualifications do you have? 

While some entry-level positions won’t require qualifications, bookkeepers should at least have a basic understanding of bookkeeping practices and software to carry out the job effectively and efficiently. Always ask your bookkeeper what their qualifications are to see whether they’re suitable for the job.

What’s your experience? 

Experience is the perfect compliment to qualifications, as it shows that the professional can apply their knowledge to real-life situations. Ask the bookkeeper whether they’ve had any experience with businesses like yours and what type of work they did. 

Is hiring a Bookkeeper worth it? 

The simple answer - absolutely! 

Your bookkeeping will only get more complicated and time-consuming as your business grows, so it’s important to keep on top of it from early on. If you don’t have the time or understanding to take care of your bookkeeping, then a bookkeeper will save you a lot of time, hassle, and ultimately money.

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