As a business owner, you have a lot of tasks on your plate. When you’re first starting out with your business, you’re likely going to do everything by yourself or with a few trusted colleagues so that you can save money and get your business going. But once it’s up and running, you’ll want to start hiring out certain tasks so that you can focus on what you love: pouring into your customers and your business.
One of the first things you’ll want to hire is a bookkeeper to help you manage your finances. You’re likely not a bookkeeper yourself, so you may not know exactly what to look for when it comes to picking the right bookkeeper. Let’s take a look at the most important things to look for in a bookkeeper so that you can find the right one for your team.
What Should You Look for in a Bookkeeper?
When looking for a bookkeeper, the main thing to find is someone who is professional and trustworthy. A bookkeeper handles your finances and spends time working in your bank accounts–if they don’t know what they’re doing or if they’re planning to steal from you, you’ll be in a heap of trouble. Here are some essentials to look for in a bookkeeper before you hire:
- Experience in your industry
- Knowledge of your bookkeeping software
- Knowledge of Accounting Policies and Procedures
- Regular reporting and financial updates
- Tax preparation knowledge
- Client and customer relationship skills
Experience in Your Industry
There are a lot of bookkeepers out there, and they all likely have general bookkeeping experience. However, for your business to thrive, you need a bookkeeper who knows your industry like the back of their hand. That way, they can assist you through the most complicated and niche of transactions and financial questions.
Find a bookkeeper who has worked in your industry before and understands any specifications to your industry that must be maintained for your success.
Knowledge of Your Bookkeeping Software
When hiring a bookkeeper, you don’t want to have to start the process of collecting your financials all over again. If you already have bookkeeping software dedicated to handling your accounts and managing your transactions, ensure that your bookkeeper knows how to use the software before you hire them.
Check if they have knowledge of Xero, Myob, Quickbooks, or whatever other resources you currently use to manage your books. It’s crucial that they can seamlessly integrate with your software and start managing your financials from there.
Knowledge of Accounting Policies and Procedures
When running a business, it’s essential that you have a set of policies and procedures around your accounting and financial practices. Your bookkeeper should know how to manage policies and procedures, both those that you have set and those set by governing agencies such as the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB).
Government laws dictate financial reporting requirements, standards for non-profit and for-profit businesses, important disclosures, etc. Your financial policies should detail policies for who has access to your financials, how you hire employees, how you manage payroll, how you handle insurance, and similar topics.
Ensure that a bookkeeper has a good understanding of Australian national policies as well as your personal policies so that they can effectively run your books without breaking the laws and causing problems.
Regular Reporting and Financial Updates
If you’re going to hire a bookkeeper, a lot of your financial management will likely be taking place outside your business and knowledge. However, it’s still important that you know what’s going on in your finances so that you can make wise business decisions. When hiring a bookkeeper, you want someone who can provide you with regular reporting and updates about your finances.
With regular reports, you can keep track of what’s going on with your money. An exceptional bookkeeper may even give you advice on the financial decisions you can and should make based on their reports. Plus, it’s crucial to have regular reports ready so that when the government requires one, you don’t have to spend frantic weeks trying to put something together.
Tax Preparation Knowledge
Managing taxes for a business can be excruciating for someone who doesn’t know a lot about taxes. Before you hire a bookkeeper, make sure they understand all the ins and outs of tax preparation, including:
- Lodging or filing sales tax
- Managing deductions
- Preparing employee tax forms
- Meeting due dates
- Lodging income tax returns
Client and Customer Relationship Skills
While financials may be the most important aspect of a bookkeeper’s job, you don’t want to hire someone who can’t handle relationships with clients and customers. You want a bookkeeper who is willing and able to reach out to you with any questions or concerns. You want someone who can ask questions if there are financial discrepancies and who provides you with a detailed explanation of any financial issues they run into.
Plus, you want someone able to talk to you anytime, anywhere, with answers to your financial and tax-related questions. You don’t want to have to wait days for an answer to an important question! Find a bookkeeper who values communication and will keep in touch with you and your team in an empathetic, friendly, and honest manner.
Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Bookkeeper
As you’re searching for the perfect bookkeeper, there are a few questions you can ask each prospect to determine that you’ve found the right person. The questions you should focus on include:
- What is the scope of the bookkeeping work and your needs? You should be able to thoroughly explain your needs and find a bookkeeper who understands your needs. They should know how to manage the scope of work that your business requires, no matter how big or small that scope may be.
- Are you registered with the Tax Practitioner Board? Ensure that the bookkeeper has met the education and registration requirements set by the Tax Practitioners Board of Australia. They must be registered as a BAS agent with the board before they can provide you with financial assistance.
- How do you communicate with clients? Again, you don’t want a bookkeeper who’s going to ignore issues, hide financial difficulties, or leave you out of the loop. Ask beforehand how and when they will communicate with you and ensure that they meet your needs.
Hiring a bookkeeper is crucial to running an effective business. You want to spend your time on what matters most, so you need help from a financial professional to take some of the pressure of running finances off your shoulders. Find a bookkeeper who is professional, communicates well, and can be trusted to take care of your money.
If you’re looking for a bookkeeper for your business, come and see what Visory has to offer. We ensure that our agents can work with your software and have expertise in your industry before we hire them out to you. And with our handy chat services, you can talk to your bookkeeper or our whole financial team at any time.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about our services and how we can meet your bookkeeping needs to help your business thrive.