According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,730,500 people in the United States call themselves a bookkeeper. These individuals range in skill set from being certified bookkeepers to someone who’s opened Quickbooks here and there with no formal training.
Here are some things to consider as you search for a reliable bookkeeper:
Checks and Balances
One problem with an in-house bookkeeper is they have complete control over the company's books. This individual controls everything coming in and going out of the business, including control of all cash. We use a system called Bill.com, where the owner must approve anything that is paid. We also request read-only access to bank and credit cards. This helps ensure the bookkeeper can only pay approved items. Bookkeeper embezzlement cases are common across the country. Make sure you have checks and balances in place to ensure you have control over cash.
Policies and Procedures
Unlike most outsourced accounting companies, we maintain customized procedures for each customer to formalize the process and who does what along the way. This includes procedures for sales invoicing, vendor payments, payroll processing, and month-end close. Documenting the processes helps to ensure uniformity in how things get done and are easier to transition to new team members and identify process improvements.
Hiring a bookkeeper means you have a team of one. You’re limited to that one person’s skillset, and when they are on vacation, you may not have anyone to cover. Worse yet, it’s not uncommon for a bookkeeper to stop showing up giving you no time to find a replacement. Without documented procedures of how things get done, it is a painful process to get a new person up to speed.
Our approach is to have a team working together to help ensure business continuity throughout the year.
The team works in tandem day after day, processing transactions, filing supporting documentation, collaborating with key touch points to ensure proper accruals are maintained, and working with the business owner to understand what numbers are driving their business.
Consider hiring an outsourced accounting and bookkeeping company over an individual to help add confidence in your financials and continuity for your business.