HIRING A BOOKKEEPER
What to look for and questions to ask
Are you a contractor who is considering hiring a Bookkeeper to assist with the day to day, back end of your business? Are you working with a Bookkeeper and not receiving the correct information in a timely manner? Are you feeling lost or confused in the process? You have come to the right place!
What does a Bookkeeper do?
By trade and definition, a Bookkeeper is the person responsible for an organization's accounts, also known as the general ledger. They record transactions and complete reconciliations to produce financial statements and other reports for business owners. An experienced Bookkeeper is also capable of handling payroll, sales tax and projections for your business.
When you hire a Bookkeeper you are not hiring a CPA. Most small business do not need a CPA in the day to day business operations. From an overhead perspective and depending on the size of your business, a CPA is best utilized on a quarterly or annual basis.
We hear it all the time, "QuickBooks is so easy!" That is correct, QuickBooks was made with the business owner in mind, allowing for ease of data entry. But what do you do with the data once it's entered? How is it tracked, classified, reconciled and used to report accurate Financial Statements? At Construct Bookkeeping we don't just enter transactions. We implement the required steps to complete the full accounting cycle for you, including job costing and profitability.
When interviewing a Bookkeeper make sure you are asking the following questions:
Is the Bookkeeper accredited and experienced?
You wouldn't subcontract to an Electrician who only had a minimal amount of electrical experience. Same goes for bookkeeping. Prior to allowing access to your books I would recommend discussing the Bookkeeper's previous experience and education in depth.
Is the Bookkeeper familiar with your industry?
Construction is unique when it comes to industry standards and costing/budgeting by project. Find a Bookkeeper who has experience in your industry. Are they familiar with job costing and WIP? Do they know what retention is and how to apply it? Can they book a change order? Can they review a contract and determine the requirements for billing?
Is the Bookkeeper financially stable?
When you hire a Bookkeeper it can be intimidating, especially if your books are a mess or you have missed a few deadlines in the past. You want the person advising you to be of sound financial status. Ask them what their financial picture looks like? What successes and failures have they had as a business owner? Are they goal oriented? Will they keep you on track to meet your own goals? This is a great way to open the dialogue with your Bookkeeper and build a trusting relationship. It also allows you to see any red flags.
What are ethics in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)?
All certified Bookkeepers are required to follow a code of ethics. This rule book of accounting is controlled by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and upheld by FASB, the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Do not work with a Bookkeeper who isn't familiar with these standards.
These are all important questions to keep in mind when hiring a Bookkeeper!