How do I choose a bookkeeper? We are asked this question frequently, during our workshops on “Starting Your Own Business” and individual client meetings. The bookkeeping function IS an essential part of your business. Bookkeepers help keep your business financials organized and correct, allowing you as the business owner to stay in compliance and make informed business decisions.
However, it can be difficult to determine what criteria to search for when hiring a bookkeeper. To help and provide guidance, we created a list of suggested qualifications and internal controls to keep in mind as you hire and monitor bookkeepers:
- Accounting education and experience (minimum of an associate’s degree in accounting, suggested three years of work history)
- Continuing education classes (minimum of four hours a year)
- Software is constantly changing
- Certified in accounting software
- Shows initiative
- Shows accounting experience and knowledge
- Awareness of state, local and federal regulations for taxes
- Sales and Use
- Meals and Room
- Save on penalties and interest and keep compliant
- Agrees with internal controls of the company
- If a bookkeeper does not agree with internal controls, this is a red flag. Small businesses entrust bookkeepers with sensitive and private information.
- Capable of customizing accounting software for reports, or can be resourceful in finding the answer, doing research
It’s important to note that this is not a strict set of criteria to find the perfect bookkeeper. The above are suggestions from one of our area advisors and a VtSBDC financial consultant and tax preparer on what you should ideally look for (check out this conversation in video seven of our new financial literacy series, Know Your Number$, Basic Financial Management).
In a small business, especially a growing one, the addition of a bookkeeper will help give you the power to delegate tasks. Nevertheless, as a business owner, you must be also keeping track of these duties and checking regularly. Review all your financials to check for errors, ask questions and set internal checks and controls.
We hope the list above helps you start by getting the right person in place. If you’re still feeling stuck, try watching our video on Basic Financial Management in our new financial Literacy series, Know Your Number$. And of course, you can also reach out to your local VtSBDC advisor.
Looking for more tips and resources on how to hire and review a bookkeeper:
- Read online reviews
- Ask your tax preparer
- Ask other small business owners
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