Are bookkeeping tasks the thorn in your paw? Is the paperwork keeping you from doing the real work of your business? Do you always leave this work for last, and try to catch it all up when you’re tired or in a hurry? Maybe you’re ready to consider outsourcing your bookkeeping. Could be a big relief, but it also brings up a whole new set of questions. Who? When? Where? How do I find someone?
Some of these questions must be answered on a case-by-case basis, but there are some qualities that will help you determine if you’ve found a good bookkeeping fit for your business.
1 – Do they ask questions about your existing business practices? You want a bookkeeping service that is willing to invest some time understanding your particular needs and concerns. Money only moves in two directions (in or out), but the process of tracking *why* the money is moving is what varies from business to business. A fair portion of bookkeeping is very standard, but a good service also knows that some processes will vary from industry to industry, or from client to client.
2 – Are they willing to customize their process to accommodate your workflow? Every relationship has some give and take, but a good service will be interested in integrating into your existing process.
3 – Do their recommendations for change offer value to your business processes? Sometimes, a bookkeeper will see ways that you could change your workflow that will improve internal efficiency or profitability. You want someone who will think about what you’re currently doing, so they can integrate into it, and/or recommend changes that will improve some part of your business operations.
4 – Are they open to questions, and are their answers understandable? You want a bookkeeper that greets questions openly, and is happy to provide answers. They’re working with your numbers, after all; your bookkeeping service should welcome your interest, and be happy to provide clear and understandable answers to your questions.
5 – Do their references check out? Of course you will ask for contact information for a few satisfied customers. Be sure to reach out to them. A phone call will provide more nuanced information than an email, but frequently email is a great starting place. Ask if you could give them a call to discuss their experience with the bookkeeping service in question. In addition to the standard questions such as how long they’ve been a client, if communications have been clear and prompt, and if they’re happy with the service, try to have a few specific questions ready. Good choices include areas that have been problematic for you in the past, and any concerns that may have arisen while talking with your prospective service.
Having an external bookkeeper or bookkeeping service that’s a good fit can turn a dreaded task into a pleasant non-issue. Outsourcing your bookkeeping could prove to be a win-win situation for your company and a great bookkeeping service.