If you’ve been running a company for a while, there’s no doubt you have probably realized that how you manage your company’s cash flow can make or break your business operations. Payroll management, tax payments, keeping up with income/expenses, and quarterly financial statements are a few of the items that business owners easily dismiss or push aside. The thought of dealing with the financial side of your business can often feel overwhelming.
So, what are your choices?
You can continue to manage business and financial operations on your own, or you can consider hiring a team to provide you with much-needed support.
One of the best moves I see business owners make is finding a trusted, reliable partner or team to help you steer your company’s financials. When you need help with daily financial operations, a bookkeeper is often the best choice. A bookkeeper can help you understand how money flows in and out of your business and ensure taxes are paid in full and on time, salaries are paid, and much more.
When selecting a bookkeeper to work with, there are a few things you should pay attention to. His or her time in business, industry clients, turnaround time and cost are a few factors to examine. Each of these factors will help you understand if the bookkeeper is the right fit for your business. One of the keys to selecting a bookkeeper is also to make sure the person shares your business acumen and is available when you need him or her.
Questions to Ask Your Prospective Bookkeeper
As you’re going through a list of prospective bookkeepers, be sure that the person you choose is going to have your best interest in mind. Here is a list of questions to consider asking as you conduct your interviews:
1. How long have you been a bookkeeper?
This question will help you determine the potential bookkeeper has the experienced required to perform the tasks your business needs. Remember that time in business is crucial because there isn’t a certification required.
2. What type of clients do you typically work with?
Working with clients in your industry will give your bookkeeper a better idea of what you’ll need as your business continues to grow. Plus, this gives you a more thorough idea of their experience and how they work.
3. What type of accounting software are you familiar with? What version?
Technology and accounting go hand-in-hand, and as you’re looking for a qualified bookkeeper, you’ll want to be sure that your prospects are using the latest versions of technology solutions. This ensures that when your bookkeeper takes over, he or she will be able to utilize the software you’ve been using or if you will need to transition to a new software.
4. What is your bookkeeping process?
You want to make sure that your bookkeeper has an established process so that there are controls in place. If there’s not a process, this could mean that the bookkeeper doesn’t have the proper controls in place to effectively manage your finances.
5. How will my account be serviced? How do you handle emergencies?
Knowing when your account will be serviced allows you to have the support you need for your growing business. While there may be additional charges for extra service and emergencies, the prospective bookkeeper who offers this is looking out for the best interest of your business.
6. What are your fees and how do you accept payment?
You always want to make sure that fees are discussed up front so that you are aware of what you’re being charged. This eliminates the possibility of surprise charges that you may not be prepared for, allowing you to effectively budget your business expenses. Some bookkeepers charge by the hour and others charged a fixed fee, and depending on the type of bookkeeper you choose, he or she may offer a package that suits your needs. You’ll want to discuss these things before agreeing to any services.
If you find the right bookkeeper for your business and decide to hire them—congratulations, it’s a wise move. But remember, the success or failure of many businesses often depends on how successful they can be at financial management. Take these steps to ensure you’re effective in your approach, and then continue to focus on what you do best—growing your business.
About Lisa Palazzo
Lisa Palazzo is the Owner and CEO of Palazzo & Company, an tax and accounting firm based in Gulfport, Mississippi. Lisa Palazzo specializes in EXPAT taxes (knowledge earned first-hand from starting her business while working overseas) and working with small businesses. With clients in more than 20 countries, Palazzo has grown since 2001 to become a worldwide service provider specializing in small business accounting, bookkeeping and payroll services, business income tax preparation, and local/individual income tax preparation.