We already covered the difference between bookkeepers and accountants HERE, why it’s so important to hire a bookkeeper HERE and the top 3 reasons to outsource your bookkeeping HERE. Today we are going to talk about how you go about finding a great bookkeeper to hire. Hiring just any ol’ bookkeeper can actually do more harm than good if your bookkeeper doesn’t have the qualifications and isn’t the right fit for your practice.
You want a financial co-pilot! A great bookkeeping partner will be with you every step of the way as your practice grows. They will take all your financial data and turn it into meaningful information that can be used to give you a clear view of the financial health of your practice and what you can do to grow it. That is…when your bookkeeper has the training and experience to do the job correctly. Finding a quality bookkeeper can be a challenge. So it’s important you prepare ahead of time before starting the search for the perfect candidate. Today I'm going to go over what questions you need to ask yourself in order to narrow down your search, what you need to look for when interviewing a potential candidate and where to look to find bookkeepers. Let’s get started!
- Do You Want A Bookkeeping Firm Or A Small Bookkeeping Business?
Bookkeeping firms usually employ a team of bookkeepers, while a small bookkeeping business may only have one or two bookkeepers. Generally, bookkeeping firms charge a less expensive rate compared to small businesses. However, they offer a less personal experience and your bookkeeping is rotated amongst a team of bookkeepers. So it’s really about what’s most important to you. Based on your budget, the size of your practice and your bookkeeping needs, you should decide which type of setup better suits you.
- Is Location Important To You?
With the vast improvements to online accounting software, most bookkeepers now work with cloud-based software systems. An advantage of this is that you can share access to your accounts remotely, which means that a lot of bookkeepers now work remotely. However, meeting your bookkeeper in person from time to time may be really important to you. Decide and then adjust your search based on your decision.
- What Accounting Software Do You Want To Use?
Most bookkeepers are certified to work with several accounting software programs, most often Quickbooks Online and Xero. Make sure that if you have a preference you select a bookkeeper that is already certified and experienced to work with the software program you prefer.
- How Many Transactions Do You Make On A Daily, Weekly Or Monthly Basis?
Establish this amount ahead of time to determine how much bookkeeping time will be required. Some bookkeepers charge by the hour, others charge a set fee that does not take into account work time and others charge extra for transactions after a certain amount.
Unlike accountants, bookkeepers don’t need professional qualifications before they can legally do bookkeeping work. However, bookkeeping certifications are available. Make sure that your bookkeeper is certified with the bookkeeping accounting software your practice uses. Ask your candidate for referrals, preferably past or current clients in the same field of business as you, and make sure to check those referrals.
- Personality & Culture Fit
Your bookkeeper will be spending a lot of time communicating with you, your staff and your CPA. It makes such a difference when you find it easy to communicate and get along with your bookkeeper. Trust your instincts when interviewing your potential candidate! Choose someone friendly, helpful and enthusiastic.
- Detail Oriented & Organized
Bookkeeping is all about the little details. When you make a sale, your bookkeeper needs to be able to cover all the aspects of that transaction: track who the customer is, know the terms of the sale and properly record and document the sale. When you are interviewing the potential candidate, are they frazzled, disorganized or unprepared? That could be a sign that the person is not the right candidate for the job.
- Technological Awareness
Bookkeeping has come a long way in recent years. Gone are the days of double-entry bookkeeping in a large, heavy ledger. Your bookkeeper should be very familiar, if not proficient, in the bookkeeping software your practice uses.
It is important that your bookkeeper truly enjoy what they do. A lack of passion for their work could result in lackluster work performance. If your bookkeeper isn’t excited about what they do every day, they may view their work as a temporary means to an end until they find something they are truly excited about. When hiring a bookkeeper you are entrusting them with sensitive information. You want to hire someone that is excited to be your bookkeeper on a long-term basis.
- Social Networks
Use you online social network accounts, especially LinkedIn, to find bookkeeping professionals.
Ask your CPA for recommendations. Let them know you would like a bookkeeper that has experience working with veterinary practices.
- Other Vet Practice Referrals
Ask other veterinarians if they have a bookkeeper they recommend. There are advantages to hiring a bookkeeper that has experience in your field of business.
Once you’ve answered these questions you’ll have a clearer picture of what type of bookkeeper you are looking for, which should help narrow down your search. I’ve prepared an easy checklist HERE for you to use during your interview process. Make sure you take your time interviewing and searching for your great bookkeeper. Check all referrals and interview them more than once if you want to. This is someone you are entrusting with sensitive information on a long-term basis. Don’t rush the process and make sure to trust your instincts!
If you still have questions or think I might be the bookkeeper you’ve been looking for, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.