How Do I find a Quality Bookkeeper?

By Tammy Swasey-Ballou | Feb 04, 2013

We know you’re a busy person!!  You’re focused lots of places – getting business, vendors, clients, sales.  We know working through administrative tasks can feel like a burden or overwhelming.  So unless you’ve hired an administrative assistant that graduated with an Accounting degree, here’s how we’d recommend you go about finding your Book Master!

First, figure out what you’re in need of!  No sense in trying to fit a square peg in a round hole if you can avoid it!

  • Come to you at your office, or work out of their home/remotely?
  • How much do you want to delegate out?  If you really only want a bookkeeper for specific functions, that’s okay!  If you think you/your employee is great with AR/AP, leverage that!
  • Any preference for your tax return?  Prepared & someone else review/explain it, or would you rather sign the e-file form?
  • Do you really want to train an employee/get training yourself OR hire an independent contractor?

When you hire an employee, you want that person to click with you, there’s something that sets that person a part from the other candidates… it’s the same for a bookkeeper!  Choose one that you click with, heaven knows, they’re working on one of your most important teams!

Here is a list of questions you should be asking, by Renee Daggett:

  1. What are your qualifications/certifications/licenses? How long have you been doing this?
  2. How many clients do you currently serve?  How long has your company been in business?
  3. Do you have staff or is it just you?  If it is one person, do you do this full time?
  4. What is your most common industry that you serve?  Do you have any specialties?
  5. How do you keep your clients records confidential?  Is the information encrypted?
  6. What are the different ways you review tax returns with your clients?
  7. Do you have any references that I can call or email?
  8. If you use staff, do you run a background check on them?
  9. If I leave a message or email you, what can I expect the turn- around reply to be?
  10. How often will I be billed?  What forms of payment do you accept?
  11. Do you need my receipts or can you post transactions from my statements?
  12. What do you require of me for you to do your job?
  13. Do you charge by the hour or a flat rate?  Do you require a retainer?
  14. For taxes, are you conservative or more aggressive? And why?
  15. Are you a member of any professional associations in your field?  What is your continuing education requirement?  What was the last class you attended about?
  16. How long does it take to close out the month and prepare the financial statements?
  17. How will you help me maximize my tax deductions?
  18. What tax knowledge and experience do you have that will provide me with the most accurate financial statements?
  19. Are you able to strategize with me to help improve my business?
  20. What do you love most about what you do?

The person you will hire has to be able to connect and communicate with you on your level.  You don’t want someone speaking over you, or being passive about what you do/do not know.  You want to hire a business partner to your team, so compare a few, and if you’re really at a cross-roads, follow your instincts, make a pro-con list, or talk it out with a close friend/relative.  The decision will come to you.  Putting forth this effort will help ensure whomever you choose is with you for as long as possible!

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