While there is no dearth of bookkeepers available, finding a great one is still difficult. And those who finally find a good bookkeeper tend to hold on to them for extended periods due to the value accrued on both sides of the partnership. However, it can be difficult to know what to look for in a great bookkeeper let alone find one. Before looking for great bookkeeping services for things like tax preparation outsourcing, it is important to note that there are some things that all bookkeepers should have, i.e., training and experience.
Below we discuss these features in more detail:
All bookkeepers must have some accreditation that shows that they have received at least some form of formal training to provide bookkeeping services. The bookkeeper’s accreditation usually means that the relevant bookkeeping authorities are satisfied that the bookkeeper has the required qualifications, skills, and a minimum amount of experience to prepare your books according to legislation.
The bookkeeper you are choosing must have at least some experience in things like tax preparation outsourcing. However, choosing a bookkeeper by price is fraught with difficulties. It may seem that choosing a bookkeeper with a lower hourly rate is more cost-effective, but more experienced bookkeepers usually work faster and more efficiently than less experienced ones.
Above, we have listed out some key elements that every bookkeeper should have. However, nowadays, people want more than just a good bookkeeper – they want a great one. This is especially true for outsourcing work like tax preparation outsourcing. When you are able to choose a good provider of bookkeeping services, you can set expectations to allow you to hold your bookkeeper accountable. You can also make better financial decisions when you choose a professional provider of bookkeeping services.
Below, we list 5 great examples of a good bookkeeper:
1. Proficiency with Accounting Software and the Latest Technologies
A good yardstick to measure the value of a great bookkeeper is to see whether he/she is adept at using a variety of accounting software and technologies. The use of further business tools is also a good sign. This is mainly because keeping with the times and technologies indicates that your bookkeeper is committed to increasing efficiency and streamlining functions like payments, payroll, and invoicing. A great bookkeeper will use the latest technologies, workflows, and tools to show you how every aspect of your business – both operational and financial – tie into each other.
2. Great Communication Skills
You can tell that a bookkeeper has excellent communication skills not by just how clearly he/she speaks, but by their ability to explain complex ideas in ways that are easy to understand. A bookkeeper with great communication skills will also ask important questions about your business, proactively follow up on tasks, and always listen closely to what you say. If you’re finding that your bookkeeper regularly uses bookkeeping and accounting jargon that you find difficulty keeping up with, it may be a good idea to switch to someone else that can talk to you in the language you understand and at the pace you are comfortable with.
3. Experience in Your Industry
It is often the case that bookkeepers specialize in particular industries or verticals. Therefore, it is no surprise that working with a bookkeeper with expertise in, for instance, the medical industry would be quite different from working with one with experience in the tax preparation outsourcing industry. Great bookkeepers often specialize in particular industries and may be able to offer you more focused solutions. They may also be able to help you gauge how successfully your firm is performing as compared to your peers in the industry.
A great bookkeeper is someone who has refined his/her skills and developed thorough teamwork and organizational prowess. A great bookkeeper will work with you as an extended part of your team and provide you with a sense of unity. A great bookkeeper will also seamlessly work with your internal bookkeeping teams to get the job done and foster a sense of comradeship while doing so. Therefore, if you get a chance to work with a bookkeeper, it may be good to ask yourself whether the bookkeeper shows signs of great organization and teamwork skills.
No one likes to deal with dishonesty, and this is especially true when you have to work with bookkeepers who have access to your confidential financial data. It may be important to ask and gauge whether the bookkeeper is transparent and forthcoming about how they are pricing their bookkeeping offerings. A red flag could also be if and when they become unresponsive to bookkeeping requests. Also, if you find yourself continually being unclear about what value your bookkeeper is adding to your firm, it may be time to get a new bookkeeper that is more forthcoming and transparent.