You know you need help with your finances, but you’re not ready to hire a full-time financial professional. Using a part-time accountant or bookkeeper is a viable option to reduce costs and get the financial help you need for your business. Once you decide whether you need a bookkeeper, an accountant, or both, it’s time to plan and get organized to make sure you make the best use of your time with those financial pros.
Bookkeeper vs. Accountant Duties
Bookkeepers and accountants both work with the financial aspects of businesses, but they have different areas of expertise and duties. A bookkeeper generally records all of your day-to-day transactions and can help you run your payroll, pay bills, and create invoices. A bookkeeper can help to ensure your financial information is up-to-date, correctly recorded, and consistent. They may even be able to create key reports such as a Statement of Operations or a Statement of Financial Position. If you don’t want to deal with all the data entry or worry about your ability to track things properly, a bookkeeper is the right type of help for your small business.
Accountants help you make sense of your financial information so that you can understand it more completely and make fully informed financial decisions. Accountants typically do a greater deal of analysis of your financial affairs, set up your financial process to ensure everything is being recorded correctly, and complete your income tax return and financial statements. Accountants often give small businesses advice on their finances and can help you get your financial side in order with efficient systems in place.
Of course, these are generalizations. Many bookkeepers can do some accounting work, and many accountants may do bookkeeping work. Accountants should be brought in early for consultation about how your business operates, things to watch for, and to ensure your books are set up correctly. After this, bookkeepers come in to work with the transactional aspects of your business to ensure all the information is entered correctly and in a timely manner to make it useful. Your accountant prepares your tax return and helps your understand your overall financial situation or provides advice when you must make important or strategic financial decisions.
Prepare and Organize Your Financial Documents
When you’re working with a financial expert on a part-time basis, you need to make the best use of that time. Your bookkeeper may handle the actual work, but they need the proper information and documentation to make that happen. You can do your part to make the job easier and more efficient by being prepared and organized. When you hand over a pile of neatly organized documents, your bookkeeper or accountant can get to work right away instead of trying to sort through items and figure out what’s going on. That means they get more actual financial work done in a shorter amount of time. Ensure that all your receipts and billings are well-organized and that you have all your bank statements and any access you need to bank accounts. Your bookkeeper or accountant can help explain how best to organize your records ahead of time.
Use Accounting Software
Accounting software makes the process faster and easier for your part-time bookkeeper or accountant. When you start by choosing the right accounting software to fit your needs, you have a system that works well based on your financial situation. You want to find a financial expert who is familiar with the software you use so they can work efficiently. QuickBooks Online makes it easy to keep financial documents in order. It’s also simple to access the information from anywhere for you and your part-time financial experts.
Categorize Revenues and Expenses
Categorize your revenues and expenses to make the process easier for yourself and your part-time bookkeeper. You should know a little bit about your chart of accounts and pre-categorize your sales and expenses so that your part-timer doesn’t have to guess or constantly ask you. This is something you can do without needing an expert. Your accountant can help you set up a chart of accounts early on in your business.
You can help create a positive working relationship with your part-time bookkeeper by communicating clearly. That communication helps you relay the information to your part-timer efficiently so that they can get to work with the data they need. If your bookkeeper has any questions or needs more information, provide it right away to avoid a long delay in getting the work done. Regular meetings can also help keep you on the same page and clarify any misunderstandings you might have.
When your time is limited with a financial professional, you should aim to make the most of it. Keeping your records organized and taking the time to properly prepare for your meetings ensures both you and your part-timer maximize the time you spend together. 4.3 million customers use QuickBooks. Join them today to help your business thrive for free.