Every year, more than 627,000 small business owners open their doors for the first time. If you’re one of them, you know that the first few years can be some of the most challenging you’ll ever face.
There are so many things to consider and so many new processes that you’ll need to become familiar with that it’s easy to feel out of your depth. Bookkeeping is one of those challenges and, for many business owners, handling the task on their own isn’t possible.
The best thing you can do is find a bookkeeper to take over the task for you. However, finding a professional you can trust and rely on isn’t as easy as you might think. Here are a few tips to help make hiring a bookkeeper as simple as possible.
Ask Your Network
The easiest way to find a bookkeeper for hire is to speak with your network. Ask your friends, family, and professional network for recommendations.
Odds are that they’ll know an experienced professional and can speak to the quality of their services. When you’re able to start with a list of names from people you know and trust, you’ll save yourself time and stress on the search.
If your network doesn’t know of anyone in your area, they might know of someone else who does.
Focus on Experience
The first thing you need to look for in a bookkeeper for your small business is appropriate experience level. Look for a bookkeeper that’s worked in the industry for at least a few years.
That doesn’t mean they have to be in charge of their own firm or charge exorbitant fees. It just means that they should know their way around and understand what businesses want them to take care of without having to get told to do so.
When speaking with a prospective bookkeeper, don’t hesitate to ask them to explain their experience in detail. Ask questions about their education and any professional certifications they might have.
Make Sure They Understand Your Business
Industry experience is important, but it’s not the only type of experience you want to look for when hiring a bookkeeper. You need to make sure they understand your business and the industry that you operate in.
Ask about the types of businesses they’ve worked with in the past. Ideally, they should describe companies in industries similar to yours that face similar issues.
If they don’t have experience with your type of business, don’t immediately give up. Discuss how your company works and the bookkeeping challenges you’re facing. Then, see how they’d be able to help you overcome those challenges.
Visit Stander & Company LLC to find out more about the types of solutions a small business bookkeeper should be able to provide.
Ask for References
Once you have a few bookkeepers in mind, ask them for references from their previous clients. This is a great way to find out what other business owners thought about their services.
If most of them had positive experiences with the bookkeeper, you’ll likely receive the same quality service. However, if most of those business owners express similar concerns or talk about the same issues they had with the bookkeeper, keep looking.
After you follow up with those references, do a little research online. See if there are any complaints filed against the bookkeeper on the Better Business Bureau and read the online reviews to get a better idea of what people thought of their services.
If there are no outstanding complaints, they may be worth hiring.
Schedule Several Consultations
Once you have a few names in mind, take the time to schedule consultations with each bookkeeper. This will give them a chance to learn about your business’s needs, but most importantly, it gives you a chance to get to know them.
During the consultation, pay attention to the types of questions they ask you. Reputable bookkeepers should use the appointment to find out as much as they can about your concerns and your business’s goals.
If they don’t or you find yourself driving the conversation, keep looking.
Ultimately, you’ll want to work with the professional that you feel the most comfortable with. After consultations with several professionals, you’ll have a better idea of what you like and what you want to avoid.
Think About Your Budget
Bookkeepers charge for their services in different ways and it’s up to you to make sure you choose the best option for your company and your budget.
Some professionals charge a monthly fee while others charge businesses an hourly rate. The cost of their services will largely vary based on their workload and their experience.
Typically, more experienced bookkeepers will have higher rates, but you’re paying for their knowledge. Inexperienced or newer bookkeepers can save you money upfront, but it’s more likely that they’ll make more mistakes.
Before you commit to working with a bookkeeper, make sure their fees fit with your budget. If they’re too expensive, you’ll need to find someone else. Otherwise, you risk putting your business’s budget in jeopardy.
Find Out What Software They Use
Before you hire a bookkeeper for your business, make sure you’re comfortable with the software they use. Ask them to walk you through it if you’re not familiar with the program and make sure you’ll have access to all of your business’s information as needed.
Some bookkeepers don’t have the types of programs that allow them to share files with clients easily. This can lead to missing information and leaves you with an incomplete understanding of your business’s finances.
Ready to Find a Bookkeeper You Can Trust?
If you’ve been wondering how to find a bookkeeper that can keep your business’s records up-to-date, these tips should help. Just remember to always put your business first.
The right bookkeeper for hire should understand your business and will charge a rate that you’re comfortable paying. Keep these tips in mind when you start your search and you’ll be able to find a professional you can trust.
Check out our latest posts for more information on how to streamline your business’s operations.