6 questions you need to ask when you are looking for a bookkeeper

In every industry, there are the experts, and there are the cowboys. Bookkeeping is no different.

The problem for business owners is that if your bookkeeper is a cowboy, you could end up in hot water.

The world of business is full of deadlines, acronyms and confusing legislation.

So what is it that you, the business owner, can do to make sure your bookkeeper is the expert that your business needs?

Here are a few pointers to show you what you need in a good bookkeeper. Make sure your bookkeeper makes the grade in each of these areas.

  1. Is your bookkeeper also a qualified BAS agent?

From 2010 onwards, a legislative change meant that you had to be a registered BAS agent to be qualified to deal with BAS-related items (including coding in data files).

To become registered, your bookkeeper has to have a minimum of a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping & Accounting. They also have to have at least 1200 hours of experience working under the direction of another BAS agent.

To maintain BAS agent status, bookkeepers must prove continued training and ongoing education. Your bookkeeper should also be a member of one of the Professional Associations like the ICB or ABN, adhering to a strict code of ethics.

  1. Does your bookkeeper talk to you?

Does your bookkeeper answer queries in a way that you understand?

If they don’t know the answer, do they admit to not knowing but following through and finding the solutions for you?

  1. Does your bookkeeper insist that you use a specific type of software?

More and more, bookkeepers are aligning themselves with only one type of software.

There’s a variety of reasons why this might be. For us, it means we can be experts in Xero and know the software inside and out.  Whilst it’s a beautiful software program, it’s not the best fit for every business, and we will tell you that.

  1. What about technology?

You’ve heard of ‘the cloud’. That term scares so many but has changed the face of how we all do business. There is so much we do in the cloud without even realising it.

Integrating software from your operating system to your bookkeeping software is paramount fr improving data quality and reduce administration time.

  1. Will your bookkeeper add value to your business?

The worst thing you can do as a business owner is select your bookkeeper based on their price. If it’s based on an hourly rate, that’s the bottom of the pit.

Some bookkeepers charge quite a bit less than their competitors. You may be tempted to go with them because the hourly cost-saving is worth the risk but is it?

Will that bookkeeper process the information at the same pace as a bookkeeper who invested time and money in learning about all available options?

The bookkeeper you need is someone who is priced right for the job. They are there to add value to your business, not just clock some hours until the job is done.

Trust. Your bookkeeper could be the only other person that intimately knows your businesses financials from day today.

You want someone who is going to have your back. If they see a transaction on your credit card that doesn’t seem quite right or that one of your staff purchased cigarettes on the fuel receipt, you would want to know.

You want to know that they know how your business ticks. They can look at your financials and know if something isn’t quite right; They will alert you to opportunities and identify threats t your business; They will talk to you, ask you questions and push you for details – because they care. They are as much as a part of your business as you let them.