The relationship between client and bookkeeper is very much a two way street with effort and commitment required from both parties. Without this the relationship will be doomed to fail.
Here are some things that can be done to ensure the success of the relationship and to enable you to get the best possible value from your bookkeeper:
Decide what you need before engaging the bookkeeper. This will help you to choose the right bookkeeper for your needs. Things to decide on are what sort of services you require such as MYOB or Xero, BAS lodgement only, reporting, payroll, full function bookkeeping etc. At the initial consultation ask a lot of questions to ascertain if the bookkeeper will be a good fit for you. If you are not comfortable after the initial meeting it is best to part ways and find another bookkeeper who can better meet your needs.
Establish roles and expectations at the beginning of the relationship. This is the most critical thing that needs to be done. Both parties have roles and responsibilities to play and they need to be aware of them. Best practice is to have an engagement letter in place signed by both parties. If your bookkeeper doesn’t give you an engagement letter to sign, ask them for one.
Raise any issues or concerns you are having with your bookkeeping or the services being provided to your bookkeeper immediately. This will enable problems to be nipped in the bud early before they become major issues. If your bookkeeper doesn’t know about issues, they can’t resolve them for you. It is vital to keep the lines of communication open by communicating regularly.
The bookkeeper will give you processes to follow in your business such as how to manage the paperwork and providing it to the bookkeeper by a due date. It is very important that you follow these procedures, as your bookkeeper will not be able to complete the work. If there is a delay in providing information to your bookkeeper, it may result in your BAS not being lodged on time as the bookkeeper will have other clients to look after as well. If the bookkeeper ever contacts you for further information it is best to make yourself available and get back to them in a timely matter. For the bookkeeper to help you, you need to help them.
What steps do you take to ensure a good working relationship with your advisors? Do you take the advice of your bookkeeper and communicate with them regularly?