The answer to that of course is that they are priceless!
There is still the same old question as to whether you should do it yourself, employ a staff member in-house, or outsource to a specialist bookkeeping practice. The last month or so has really reinforced to us why a good bookkeeper is priceless and that the bookkeeping is not something you should be doing yourself as a business owner, or getting your Mum, neighbour or friend to do just because they are cheap. A good bookkeeper will pay for themselves many times over.
Cost is usually what holds a business back from outsourcing as a bookkeeper is often considered an overhead to a small business, but, if you have ever felt the impact of bad bookkeeping you will know the benefits of good bookkeeping, and that getting the right person is an amazing investment in your business.
Unfortunately, we are seeing all too often an employee who is paid to work a certain number of hours and so ensures that they ‘look’ busy for that entire time every week. Additionally, when you have someone who is employed to work in your business and your business alone, they are not exposed to the changes in technology that enables your business to operate more efficiently. Whether it be taking your software online and embracing bank feeds, exposing you to the eco-system and using add-ons or just simplifying the process, it is often a case of people not knowing what they don’t know and so just continuing to do something the same way because that is how it has always been done.
Outsourcing to a specialist bookkeeper means that you are outsourcing to someone who has been there and done that and found a way to make it easier. Additionally, they don’t just work for you and their motivation is about making your business as efficient and profitable as possible. A totally different mindset.
What about sick leave, annual leave and the cost of needing to house another employee. One of the recent examples we have is a company that had an employee working almost 40 hours / week and still their accounts were behind and therefore inaccurate. When their employee left we took over the bookkeeping for a fraction of the cost of the FTE, updated some software, added an add-on into the mix and implemented a few systems and hey presto, the accounts are now up to date, accurate and the business owner is confident in the figures that are provided.
Ideally your Bookkeeper will have a good relationship with your Accountant also. If your Accountant can rely on the information in your accounting system then they don’t need to spend time checking information, instead they can spend time with you helping to sort out items that add value to both you and your business. And as a side note they’ll be a whole lot less grumpy – most Accountants don’t like the bookkeeping.
So how do I find a good Bookkeeper?
Experience – make sure you look for someone who has been bookkeeping for a while and can show you testimonials from existing customers. Ideally, they will be a member of an Association where they need to achieve a certain level of CPD (continuing professional development) annually. This is reassurance for you that they are continually upskilling and so your business wins.
Software knowledge – we are living in a constantly changing environment with regards to software and while the technical skills are important you also want someone who is proficient in your software and how to get the best out of it.
Referrals – the best way to find a good bookkeeper is by referrals. Ask the owner of the business next door, or your Accountant, Business Coach or someone that you trust and respect. Think of someone whose business you look at and envy – behind the scenes is probably a good bookkeeper -so ask the question.
Communication – Communication is vital. We know that you are busy and are out trying to grow your business. You need to ensure you work with someone who understands this, can communicate well via email and the telephone and can communicate with those that are important in your business also. This could be fellow Directors, employees, the bank, the Accountant or multiple other people.
Choosing the right bookkeeper whether they are an employee or you outsource is important. This is the person who plays a vital role in your success and the success of your business. If you get this relationship right, they will be your go to person for advice, they will allow you to sleep at night again, they will be able to put you in touch with the right connections and provide you with up to date and accurate information. It is, after all, about your success!!
We love the opportunity to help small businesses succeed so please give us a call on 04 232 9199 or complete the details below and we will touch base.