5 Tips for Hiring a GREAT Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping?the "dreaded" word is something we all have to worry about. Business owners rarely go into business to deal with the financial aspects of running a business. It's easy to understand why! Who wants to do all those boring record keeping functions? Not many. Therefore, one of the first things most entrepreneurs do is hire a bookkeeper. Though hiring a friend, relative or anyone who isn't experienced with the basics of bookkeeping may be a recipe for DISASTER!

You may have the best of intentions and they probably do to; however, you need to be objective when hiring a bookkeeper if you want a GREAT one!

5 Tips for Hiring a Great Bookkeeper:

1. KNOWLEDGEABLE. Make sure they have a basic understanding of accounting and how the "big" picture all fits together. The difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper is that an accountant will do more analysis and usually has additional training. So, while you may not need an accountant on staff, you do want someone who has a basic understanding of the difference between assets, liabilities, equity, income, cost of goods sold, and expense accounts.

2. AVAILABLE. Ensure that they will be available and dependable to keep your bookkeeping up to date. Your information should be input on a consistent basis so you can get reports in a timely manner. If they are trying to "squeeze" this function into their other responsibilities, they may not give it the focus they should.

3. ACCOUNTABLE. You want a bookkeeper that will keep you accountable. If they have checks or deposits that they are unsure of, you want them to be willing to hold you accountable and get good information for record keeping. You don't want someone who is going to code everything to "miscellaneous."

4. COMPETENT. You want to keep your books on a computer, not by hand. So ensure that your bookkeeper is competent in using a computerized bookkeeping program, like QuickBooks®. You want a full-service package that incorporates your budgeting, estimating, invoicing, job costing, bookkeeping, and reporting aspects all in one. Though it is key that they are competent enough to be able to input good information into the computer system.

5. FAMILIAR. Having a bookkeeper that is familiar with your industry will shorten the learning curve and provide better details. While the basic bookkeeping fundamentals are applicable to all industries, there are very different specifics needed for different industries. Construction companies rely on job costing to understand their profitability. While, retailers are focused on inventory aspects. Restaurant, non-profit, and service-based industries require different insights too. It's important to have some basic accounting knowledge, but ideally you want someone with industry familiarity.

7 Questions to include in your interviewing process:

1. What companies/industries do you have bookkeeping experience in?

2. What computer software programs are you familiar with? Word? Excel? QuickBooks®? Other?

3. How do you continue to improve your skills?

4. How do you trouble shoot when you have a problem?

5. What time management secrets do you use to ensure projects are completed on time?

6. What are the basic financial statements and why are they important?

7. How will they help you be accountable to the details of record keeping? Some feel uneasy about holding their boss "accountable", but that is exactly what you need!

Hiring employees should never be taken lightly, especially when they are going to be doing your bookkeeping! Without good financial reports, you have no idea how your business is doing. Garbage In = Garbage Out. Input is critical to having a successful business report that you can utilize in your management decisions. These same requirements should be incorporated if you are hiring an outside firm to do your bookkeeping also. These 5 Tips for Hiring a GREAT Bookkeeper will help you!

Contact: Pam Newman is a Certified Management Accountant, Author, and Certified QuickBooks® ProAdvisor for Financial and Point-of-Sale software. For more information, visit her website at http://www.quickbooksinformation.com or call 816.304.4398. Email: [email protected]

In The News:

Small Business Hiring Slows  The Wall Street Journal

How to Handle Rejection When You Start an Office Cleaning Business

"If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't... Read More

Patient Records - Your Responsibilities

As a practise gets larger & larger the associated problems... Read More

Business Plans - What Consultants Don?t tell You!

Do you have a Business Plan? Congratulations, but you are... Read More

The Joy and Hazards Of Finding Your First Office

Q: I have outgrown my home office and need to... Read More

Why You Need A Virtual Assistant

How much is your time really worth? Is it worth... Read More

10 Best Practices to Consider as Your SBIR Negotations Approach Contract Signature

10 Best Practices to consider as your SBIR negotiations approach... Read More

Boat Detailing Tips and Procedures

Auto detailers are often asked to clean boats and detail... Read More

If You Want To Be Remembered...

Send handwritten notes. That applies whether you're a guy or... Read More

Analyzing Customers in Your Business Plan

The Customer Analysis section of the business plan assesses the... Read More

A Great Logo Is A Marketing Must-Have. But Is It Affordable For Small Business Owners?

And is having a logo really that important?My answer to... Read More

Marketing Your Small Business with Success Stories

-- The One Pager Shortcut Series --An effective and compelling... Read More

How to Profit from Business Consulting Opportunities

Business consulting opportunities might be just what your are looking... Read More

How Do I Choose The Right Business Opportunity For Me?

First you have to start with knowing your budget and... Read More

Blowing Your Own Horn ? A Key Marketing Strategy for Small Business

-- Building Credibility Through Success Stories --Successful solo entrepreneurs spend... Read More

Starting An E-Commerce Business: Baby Steps

Starting your own e-commerce business can be quite the adventure.... Read More

Marketing - The Way To Make What Youre Really Worth

You only have so much time in a day right?So... Read More

Breaking The Chains!

Everyday, customers and business owners are bombarded with billboards, logos,... Read More

Build Your Small Business by Building Relationships

-- The One Pager Shortcut Series --People do business with... Read More

7 Reasons To Take Control Of Your Small Business? Checking Needs

Business checks are available in many styles and varieties. They... Read More

Building Your Business for Success in 2005

It's a strange anomaly.Most people who set out to start... Read More

Growing Your Small Business Through Alliances and Joint Ventures

-- Beyond Cold Calling, "Warm" Calling and Sending E-mails --Many... Read More

6 Ways Small Businesses Can Survive In A Crazy Economy

Contrary to popular belief, small businesses can survive a crazy... Read More

Franchises Offer Shortcuts, But Not Control

Q: I will be retiring this year at age 60... Read More

Eight Key Steps to Selling Your Business and Cashing In

This year, some 700,000 American businesses will be sold. Most... Read More

Data Loss - Can Your Company Survive? (Most Do Not)

Data. Most people think it is a term relegated to... Read More