accountant advice

#RecipeForSuccess – How to Hire a Bookkeeper for Your Small Business

What is a #RecipeforSuccess? Developed by QuickBooks ProAdvisors®, the #RecipeforSuccess campaign provides key ingredients and steps for small businesses to achieve success.

Master Chef: Elaine Orr of BalanceSheets



Step 1: Take One Small Business Owner

The size of business is unimportant. It can be anything from a freelancer to a large company. What is vital, though, is that the business owner understands the value of partnering with an expert who can keep track of their numbers and give financial advice. In fact, the more often the business owner displays this quality, the better catalyst they provide for the bookkeeper to produce excellent results.

Step 2: Add One Bookkeeper, Preferably Qualified, Certified and Tech-Savvy

Bookkeepers don’t come in standard shapes and sizes, and the best way to ensure you are connecting with the right one is to look for qualifications, experience and fantastic references. Check that the bookkeeper has a passion for people, not just numbers. The best ones have a real desire to see others succeed. They’re flexible and keen to learn about the business and the owner. What works for one client may not work for another.

Step 3: Blend in a Subscription to QuickBooks Online

Now, we add one of the most important ingredients, which acts as a binding agent for the bookkeeper and business owner: QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online is a cloud accounting platform that lets both parties work in the same file. Once the bookkeeper has set up a chart of accounts, and a list of products and services, the business owner can instantly create invoices in the browser or mobile app. Then, they’re free to just run their business, meeting expenses and paying bills.

The bookkeeper, meanwhile, can see all the transactions coming through the bank feed in QuickBooks Online. Customer payments and expenses can be posted quickly and accurately. This allows for accurate, timely posting of transactions, giving the business owner access to real-time reporting.

Step 4: Throw in a Healthy Dollop of Communication

Be very diligent in remembering to add this ingredient – without it, your recipe could fail to rise. For the business owner, this may mean being proactive in uploading your expense paperwork into a receipt scanning software, if your bookkeeper has asked you to use one. It can also mean asking your bookkeeper for advice before you make any changes or embark on new ventures. Should you really charge that tax? Is the new product you sell going to post to the right account? Ask!

The bookkeeper has responsibilities, too. They’re going to have to be very responsive to their clients’ needs, often even knowing what they are before they happen. They should alert the business owner of government filing deadlines, as well as when they require something from them. Of course, a business owner’s priority is bringing in revenue, but making sure that deadlines are met is a big part of a bookkeeper’s role. Make it as easy as possible for them to do their job.

Step 5: Top it Off With a Generous Sprinkling of Willingness to Learn

This goes both ways – a successful business is rarely stagnant and a bookkeeper can’t afford to be either. The business owner must be open to learning about how each transaction affects their business and what the financial statements mean. Even if their eyes glaze over at the mention of a balance sheet, they should try to understand and continue to ask questions. An engaged business owner is a real asset to the relationship.

With all the emerging technology in the accounting industry today, a bookkeeper needs to be a lifelong learner. So much of the traditional data entry role of a bookkeeper has been automated now, freeing them up to become real business partners and advisors. Keeping up with the latest apps and tools that may benefit clients is a requirement, not an option anymore. Professional development, attending conferences and learning from industry leaders adds value to the service a bookkeeper can provide.

The relationship between a business owner and their bookkeeper can be one of the most satisfying outcomes of running a business. The business owner can sleep well at night knowing that an expert has their back and won’t let them get into trouble. For a bookkeeper, knowing that someone has trusted you with his or her livelihood is a great privilege.

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