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Ask the Right Questions and Find the Right Bookkeeper

Posted on: June 17th, 2016 by grobecpa No Comments

Finding the Right Bookkeeper 

Selecting the right bookkeeper for your small business can make all the difference in the world. The right bookkeeper will not only provide you with timely, accurate financial information but can also have a positive overall impact on your business. The right bookkeeper can serve as a trusted advisor who can help make it possible for you, the owner, to concentrate on other important aspects of your company.

There are many levels of experience and expertise when it comes to bookkeepers.  Many bookkeepers do not have certifications as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) do, and may not have college degrees. This makes finding a qualified bookkeeper—as well as one with a good personality that fits your business—difficult.  However, we’ve provided a few helpful tips to help guide you during your selection process.

Accounting Experience

Some bookkeepers may have experience working for larger companies where they specialize at one thing, such as processing accounts-payable transactions or recording customer receipts. Bookkeepers that have experience working with small businesses are more likely to have experience in a variety of accounting related areas. To determine the level of experience of your bookkeeping prospect, you should ask the following:

“How long have you been performing bookkeeping duties?”

“In what specific areas do you have experience (i.e. payroll, taxation, accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger)?”

“What types of clients have you had experience with?”

It is important to know their level of general accounting experience. Experience in multiple industries can definitely be a plus, as this can provide the bookkeeping prospect additional resources and knowledge that your organization may not currently possess.

Check Technical Skills

Today’s bookkeepers should have strong technological skills and the following questions should assist you in determining if they have the skills best suited to your company’s needs:

“What accounting software have you used?”

“How long have you been using it?”

“Do you have a certification in that software?”

Also, inquire as to which version and product lines of the specific software they have used. For example, many accounting software packages come in several major lines, plus new versions can come out each year.  Thus, if they’re working with a three-year-old version, they may not be aware or familiar with some of the latest features. It is beneficial if they are knowledgeable and up-to-date with your preferred software.

Due to rapidly evolving technology, and constant changes in accounting and tax related areas, it is also important to ask the following:

“How do you stay up-to-date with accounting, tax and technology changes and have you had any recent training or taken related professional courses?

Communication Skills

By asking your bookkeeping prospects the right questions, you will be in a better position to assess not only their general skill level and experience but also get a sense of their trustworthiness and how well they are able to communicate and explain things. Your bookkeeping professional should not only be able to provide you with timely, accurate financial information but also be able to communicate effectively with company staff, customers, vendors, etc.

These are just some of the things to consider in your search for a prospective bookkeeping hire.  At Grobe & Associates, CPAs, we offer a broad range of accounting, bookkeeping, tax and financial advisory services.  Contact us www.grobecpa.com or call (608) 210-1200 for a free initial consultation.