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Keeping the books is one of those fundamental business tasks that doesn’t appeal to most entrepreneurs. For that reason, one of the first tasks that many small business owners perform is to find a bookkeeper. Bookkeepers come in all shapes and sizes, from part-time, home-based individuals to bookkeeping services.

When you try and find a bookkeeper, you should look for several traits, first and foremost being honesty. Your bookkeeper will be entering deposits and checks and balancing accounts, as well as producing the very sorts of financial reports designed to reveal the existence of problems such as fraud and theft.

You need to be able to trust them.

In our experience, there are a lot of people out there promoting themselves as bookkeepers just because they had experience doing books for a family business. But they have no real education so, they don’t necessarily understand what they are doing. Likely they have just memorized the steps and don’t necessarily have the knowledge to apply the accounting principles in different industries.

Your bookkeeper must understand basic business accounting, such as types of accounts and how to produce essential reports, like the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. That’s why it’s best to seek someone with experience and the references to prove it, and not a trustworthy friend or relative who lacks these essential skills.

It’s also vital that your bookkeeper is familiar with modern small business accounting packages. Today’s bookkeeping and financial systems are heavily automated, even for the smallest of businesses. Pen and ink bookkeeping sufficed for small businesses in the old days, but today your “books” had better be kept on a hard drive, not a shelf. Digital data allows for much simpler, faster, and more sophisticated analysis of your company's information.

Detail oriented people tend to be the best bookkeepers. In fact, when it comes to making the books balance at the end of the month; a very detail oriented person will have the level of accuracy and precision that the task requires. Someone who wants to categorize every expense item as “miscellaneous,” for instance, isn’t going to do you much good at the end of the month.

While taking care of all those details, a good bookkeeper won’t get bogged down in them. When you find a bookkeeper, you need to be able to count on timely completion of critical tasks, such as bank statement reconciliation and preparation of monthly financial reports. If problems arise, you need to know that your bookkeeper will inform you in time to do something about them.

Excellent communication skills aren’t normally associated with folks who talk of debits and credits, but the best bookkeepers are more than silent number crunchers. You need to be able to explain to your bookkeeper what you want, and any problems or issues that come up should be communicated to you clearly and thoroughly.

Personality is another trait most people don’t consider when it comes to bookkeepers. But you’ll be spending plenty of time with your bookkeeper, explaining what’s going on in your business and asking questions about what the numbers show. It’s important to find someone who you can get along with and relate to.

Even while making sure your bookkeeper meets these requirements, remember that bookkeepers aren’t accountants. They don’t need to have mastered tax planning or financial analysis. No matter how good your bookkeeper is, you still need an accountant to help you with these and other advanced technical tasks.

To discuss your specific needs, please contact Borden Bean Counters today

Choosing a Bookkeeper

Keeping the books is one of those fundamental business tasks that doesn’t appeal to most entrepreneurs. For that reason, one of the first tasks that many small business owners perform is to find a bookkeeper. Bookkeepers come in all shapes and sizes, from part-time, home-based individuals to bookkeeping services.

When you try and find a bookkeeper, you should look for several traits, first and foremost being honesty. Your bookkeeper will be entering deposits and checks and balancing accounts, as well as producing the very sorts of financial reports designed to reveal the existence of problems such as fraud and theft.

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