My recent posts have discussed various bookkeeping themes such as thedevelopment of bookkeeping into a profession, what a bookkeeper can do for youand how bookkeepers and accountants can work together. This post will provide some tips to ensure you get a great Bookkeeper for your business at your first attempt.
Hiring the wrong Bookkeeper can have disastrous consequences for your business including:
Fines and penalties from the ATO for incorrect information lodged in your BAS.
Incorrect tax and superannuation paid for your employees that can also attract penalties.
Receiving inaccurate information on how your business is travelling that can lead to the wrong decisions being made or even worse not knowing if you are losing money or getting low on cash.
Incurring additional costs to clean up the mess made from your previous Bookkeeper.
Fortunately there are precautions you can take to ensure that you don’t become the victim of bad bookkeeping.
Some steps you can take to protect your business include:
Ensure your Bookkeeper is a Registered BAS Agent with the Tax Practitioners Board. This is the most critical thing to check and is very quick and easy to do by searching the register on the Tax Practitioners Board website. tpb.gov.au
Ensure they are certified in the software they will be using for your business. For example if they are using Xero they should be a Xero Certified Advisor.
Your Bookkeeper must be prepared to work with your Accountant. A good way to gauge this is to find out what their attitude is to working with Accountants. To get the best results for your business all of your advisors should be collaborating.
Ask people you know and trust if they know any great Bookkeepers. This is a better way to find a trusted advisor rather than taking potluck from the Internet or other advertisements. The best recommendation is from your Accountant.
Don’t be afraid to drill your prospective Bookkeeper on their qualifications, experience, what insurance they hold and names of other clients. To be really sure contact some of these clients for a reference.
A great Bookkeeper will show a genuine interest in your business, how it operates and what you want to achieve. If they don’t understand your business they can’t help you. If a prospective Bookkeeper only talks about themselves and what they do without taking the time to listen to you and understand your business – alarm bells should be raised.
Be wary of shopping around on price. While it is tempting to save as much money as possible this may not always be in your best interests. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Taking this approach could end up costing you more in the long run in some of the consequences mentioned above. Quality advice is not something you should skimp on.
Having a great Bookkeeper in your business can pay massive dividends. I will leave you with this quote from the last annual Xero Conference – “9% of Australian small business use external bookkeeping. 70% do it themselves. Those with external bookkeepers make 16% more revenue than those using casual financial support”.
How do you go about finding a Bookkeeper for your business? What has been your experience – hit or miss?