5 tips for choosing the right bookkeeper

27th April, 2016

5 tips for choosing the right bookkeeper

Bookkeepers are an integral part of any business – they can either make or break your business.

Making sure you take the time to hire the right person for the role is crucial. So, when it comes to bookkeepers – how do you achieve this?

Here are five things to look for when hiring the right business bookkeeper.

1. Organised, process driven and efficient

A good bookkeeper must understand your industry, your business processes and your requirements so they can hit the road running.

They make sure processes are streamlined and adhered to in order to provide you with timely reporting and meet the timelines you require in your business.

Bookkeepers should be dedicated to your financial success as well as your business success. Your bookkeeper should have an excellent eye for detail, and care about keeping your accounts up to date and error free.

2. Ethics and trust

This is paramount. Both parties need to feel comfortable with one another in order to build a relationship based on trust.

It is important to provide all the correct information to your bookkeeper so they can keep accurate up to date records for you. It would make good business sense to protect yourself by having a confidentiality agreement in place.

But while it’s important to trust your bookkeeper, you should make sure that your business is protected too. For example, it shouldn’t be necessary to allow bookkeepers access to the business bank accounts. It is fine for them to prepare the supplier payment file, but the business owner is the right person to process the banking payment.

Also, when new suppliers are created, there should be checks to ensure that the bank account being paid to is a genuine supplier bank account and that bills supplied are also genuine.

READ NEXT: Ethics in accounting: 6 principles to follow

3. Up-to-date technical knowledge

Up-to-date software knowledge is a must. Bookkeepers who are familiar in using online accounting software can automate many processes and reduce the amount of time spent on data entry.

Cloud based systems help bookkeepers to keep accounts up to date and enable business owners to identify issues more quickly to make decisions to improve performance and promote business growth.

4. Communication skills

This is essential to keep the lines of communication.

Your bookkeeper must be aware of the business operations, goals and issues to do their job correctly. The ideal must have the ability to enhance relationships with managers, customers, suppliers and staff alike.

5. Ask questions

A great bookkeeper asks relevant questions. He or she will also share ideas with the business owner regarding financial-planning strategies, ways of increasing revenue, cash flow, budgeting and many other cost-saving strategies they can come up with to increase business performance and growth. With a good understanding of the business and financial position they can help grow the business while keeping costs to a minimum.

How do you know if your bookkeeper is a keeper? Most importantly, they should always be upskilling, training and certified.

Bookkeepers who are registered as BAS Agents are required by the Tax Practitioners Board to have skills, qualifications and learnings around all bookkeeping areas including GST and BAS requirements. They are also expected to have industry experience of at least two years, as well as agree to an established code of conduct. In order to stay current they must re-certify every three years.

Employing the right bookkeeper will take away the stress of handling the books yourself. Overall, a good bookkeeper should help to make your business more profitable.Keeping up-to-date and accurate financial information is a key component to a successful business, as well as achieving a healthy bottom line.

READ: Six things to look for in a bookkeeper