What Should I Look For When Hiring a Bookkeeper?
I personally have been doing bookkeeping for over 15 years. There are certain things that I would look for and that I do look for when hiring bookkeepers to work for me. I want them to know what they’re talking about. Sometimes bookkeepers say they know what they’re talking about when they actually do not. I would want to make sure that they know how to do basic bookkeeping and that they have some experience doing bookkeeping for your industry and type of company.
Recently, there has been a trend of people who want to be bookkeepers just taking a class and going out and getting their first client, and learning how to actually do bookkeeping on that client’s books. This gets me lots of clean-up clients but is probably pretty uncomfortable if you are that first client. I would never go to a doctor who just finished learning how to perform surgery but hadn’t actually interned or practiced under supervision yet. Same goes for a bookkeeper. A new bookkeeper should practice under an employer or mentor until they are experienced enough to go out on their own.
You really want to make sure you find someone who has experience and preferably experience in your industry. If they are not very experienced, ask them if they have a mentor. Do they have someone to whom they can ask questions if they get stuck?
I train bookkeepers. I hire people who don’t know bookkeeping sometimes. I train them from scratch and they do great after a little while, because I know how to train bookkeepers. But if I was hiring a new bookkeeper who was going to work for somebody else, those are the questions I would ask. And I would also check if they are insured, because they should be. I would ask them if they’re certified in the software they use. There is no actual college degree for bookkeeping, but, for instance, I am QuickBooks ProAdvisor certified. It is important to ask if they really know their software.
Other questions come into play: Are they a freelance bookkeeper who may or may not still be doing bookkeeping next year? Or are you contacting a company where, even if that specific bookkeeper isn’t going to be bookkeeping next year, the company will find somebody to replace them and smoothly transition? Those are all good things to know.
Did they start doing bookkeeping yesterday? Not to say that you couldn’t hire someone who started a brand-new business, but you might not pay them the same amount as someone with a lot of experience. You may have to train them yourself – so it’s important to decide if you are knowledgeable enough to do so.
Every company has specific procedures and idiosyncrasies applicable only to that company, which you will have to explain to your bookkeeper, you can’t expect a bookkeeper to come in and know everything about your company and exactly what the payments to every vendor is for – they’re going to have categorization questions. BUT they should be able to go into your books and generally know what to do and handle everything that comes up.
A good bookkeeper will be able to go into your books and tell you exactly what needs to be done to bring them up to date and fully accurate.
Accurate bookkeeping will save you money on taxes.
Let me know if you have any questions about your bookkeeping, or if you would like a complimentary basic bookkeeping review.
Maya Weinreb | Founder & CEO