According to Business Insider, 20% of all new businesses will fail in the first year. Only half will make it five years, and a mere 30% will last a full decade. Among companies that do fold, 82% of them will experience cash flow problems. Regardless of whether you are a new start-up or have been operating for years, these statistics show that having a bookkeeper help manage your assets is essential. When doing an online search for "bookkeeper near me", keep the following things in mind.
You need someone who is willing to answer questions and will respond to your inquiries in a timely manner. A bookkeeper also should not be put off by your questioning, and in fact should expect it. Avoid anyone who doesn't provide straightforward answers, seems evasive, or doesn't return your phone calls or emails promptly.
Your bookkeeper should also provide you with frequent updates. A meticulous bookkeeper will even insist on asking you questions when something doesn't seem quite right. After all, your auditor is supposed to keep you out of hot water, and can't do that if everything doesn't line up.
There's too much at stake for you to hire someone brand new to the practice. Ideally, your bookkeeper will have at least five years of experience in performing tasks such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll.
It's even better if you find someone with experience in your particular industry. An individual who is familiar with your niche can often catch mistakes that another person who doesn't know your industry might overlook. That person will also understand the ups and downs of your business, and will be in a better position to help you plan your financials accordingly.
#3. Attention to Detail
Bookkeepers are supposed to obsess over even the smallest details. As such, you should look for someone who is meticulous in the way paperwork is handled and records are kept. To get a better feel for how a firm operates, ask lots of questions about their processes. Consider how important little things are such as maintaining spreadsheets that are free from typos.
Whenever possible, you should visit the company in person. If the office is neat and orderly, there's a good chance your books will be too. On the other hand, if things seem to be chaotic and in disarray, this could be a warning sign.
#4. Review the Company's Website
You can tell a great deal about a firm based on its website. Does it have a clean, crisp design with pages that flow seamlessly? Is it easy to find what you are looking for? Is there any particular information that seems to be missing? The ideal website will be neatly designed, easy to navigate, and contain detailed information about their services.
#5. Problem Solving Skills
Auditors must also be good problem solvers. As such, you should ask your bookkeeper to tell you about situations that required problem solving, including how a decision was made. This information will give you more insight as to whether or not that person can easily identify any issues that might come up.
#6. Time Management Skills
Bookkeepers must juggle many responsibilities at once, while still meeting important deadlines. This means that time management skills are of the utmost importance. You can get an idea about someone's time management skills by the way they respond to phone calls, text messages, or emails. If an individual waits too long to get back with you or always seems to be running late for meetings, time management issues could be an underlying factor. However, those that respond quickly, show up on time, and always seem to be well prepared likely have excellent time management skills.
#7. Check References
Placing an accounting firm in charge of your cash flow requires a great deal of trust. As such, you will need to ensure you find someone with a solid reputation. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints filed against the company. Read online reviews and talk with other small business owners to find out who they recommend.
Ask your colleagues to recommend a firm that will provide you with the right combination of knowledge and experience to suit your business needs. A bookkeeper might even be able to provide you with the names of some local clients who would be glad to provide a reference as well.
#8. Accounting Software
A reputable accounting firm will use advanced software such as Intuit® Quickbooks. This type of software will provide security measures to safeguard your company's sensitive information, while remaining up to date with changes in financial and tax laws.
It's not enough for your bookkeeper to use the right software. He or she must also be willing to provide you with administrative privileges so that you can look at things for yourself. Steer away from anyone who isn't willing to give you this type of transparency.
#9. Reasonable Workload
Choosing a firm that already has a lot on its plate could mean that your work might get put off. On the other hand, a company with few clients might not have a solid reputation or be experienced enough to earn new business.
Always ask what type of workload a bookkeeper has and how that person will fit your duties into an existing schedule. Will there be enough time to prioritize your work without letting any of the other clients suffer? Will it be challenging to meet your deadlines? It's important to know these things so that you do not wind up with work that isn't finished.
If you've done a search for "bookkeeper near me", you probably had many results. Even so, if you are looking for a firm that has all of the above attributes, you should consider us over all the rest. Here at Luxa, we are a reputable accounting firm who can handle all your bookkeeping, payroll, and HR needs. To find out more, please contact us.