How to Choose a (Great) Bookkeeper
Finding a good bookkeeper is an investment in your business.
Many small business owners see their bookwork as an obligation to stop the taxman knocking. In fact it's an integral part of running and managing a successful business. Your accounts, bookwork and transaction history, when accurately recorded, provide an important tool for all planning and decisions you make in your business and without it, you're running blind.
Unfortunately, finding a good bookkeeper can be tricky, so what should you look for when choosing a bookkeeper for your business?
BAS Agent Certification
This is without a doubt the most important thing to look for in a bookkeeper. The Tax Practitioners Board holds a register of all qualified bookkeepers in Australia. Qualified bookkeepers must prove they have sufficient knowledge, qualifications, experience, insurance and ongoing professional development to sufficiently serve their clients. It is illegal to provide BAS services including entering GST transactions, Payroll and bank reconciliations without being registered.
There are some things you just can't teach and being a good bookkeeper is one of them - a good bookkeeper should have sufficient experience to answer your questions, know their way around accounting software, know where to go to get answers to the tricky questions and know when to refer to your accountant.
What range of business and accounting software can they use? Do they have a sound understanding in more than just the basic MYOB and Reckon (prev. Quickbooks AU). There is a huge range of software available and in many cases these out-dated program's may not be the most time or cost-effective software for your business. If you're going to change things up, will your bookkeeper be able to handle it?
What else can your bookkeeper do? Do they understand computers, marketing, how to manage your employees, cloud services and other technology devices?
All registered BAS agents must hold a bookkeeping or accounting qualification. You should ask a potential bookkeeper what qualifications they hold so you know their level of understanding of the accounting systems. Ensure you have a bookkeeper who understands the important relationships between transactions and Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet. Holding additional or extended qualifications shows they have a varied or higher knowledge base.
Membership to Bookkeeping or Accounting Association
As with many industries, there a large number of associations available that are dedicated to providing backup support, tools and industry updates to ensure your bookkeeper is at the top of their game. It also means that your bookkeeper is working efficiently and effectively to give you the best value formoney.
Drive for Professional Development and Continuous Learning
Is your Bookkeeper set in their ways? Do they already know all there is to know about bookkeeping? If they think this way, they’re not doing the best work for you. As with all industries, bookkeeping has changed significantly over the last few years. Technology, software and legislation are constantly changing and you want a bookkeeper who has a proactive attitude to keep up.
Range of Services Offered
Write down the list of jobs you’d like your bookkeeper to do for you. Are they willing to go beyond the scope of a regular bookkeeper and help you out with other services like administration, business growth and cash flow management, marketing and brand development or tech support? What qualifications and experience do they have to provide this additional support?
Are they Available and Reliable?
Check your bookkeeper's referrals and testimonials to find out how easy it is to get hold of your bookkeeper. What hours are they available? How quickly can you get hold of them in an emergency? What will you do if they go on holidays or they’re sick? Most importantly, will they follow through on their promises to you?
Do they do “Dodgy” Work?
Some bookkeepers may have a relaxed attitude to “cash jobs” or not-quite right deductions. This may seem great at first, but you need to consider how this is effecting your business reporting and decisions. Moreover, a bookkeeper with an audited client is more likely to have their other clients unnecessarily audited if they’re seen to be letting things slide.
While an important thing for all small businesses, pricing should not be your priority. Like all products and services, you get what you pay for. The cheapest bookkeeper isn’t always the best bookkeeper. Don’t sell yourself and your business short. Shop around for a good deal and match it to the quality of the service. Generally, independent bookkeepers are a little cheaper than your franchise or the in-house bookkeeper with your accountant.
Referrals and testimonials are the most telling thing about your bookkeeper - what their clients say about them will tell you much more than you can gather from their website and marketing. Good word-of-mouth is everything.
How Do We Compare?
BAS Agent Certified?: Yup! Rego #26014003
Experience: Over 15yrs experience in Business Management, Administration & Bookkeeping.
Skill Set: Professional Partners with MYOB, Reckon, Quickbooks, Wave and Freshbooks. We use both Windows and Mac as well as a range of other business software. We also use a variety of online tools and social media to effectively promote and foster growth for our small business clients.
Education: Run by certified, registered bookkeeper with a degree in Accounting and Business Management. Additional certificates in online marketing and IT.
Bookkeeping Association: Associate Member in Practice with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.
Professional Development: We have a policy of Continuous Learning to constantly explore and develop our knowledge not just in bookkeeping but in all avenues of small business – to make sure we are doing the very best work for you.
Range of Services Offered: Cinch is the only local bookkeeper that provides such a wide range of services to small businesses including cash flow management, business development, quality assurance, marketing and brand development, administration and personal assistance so you can get back to business. See a full list on our website.
Available and Reliable?: You betcha!! We guarantee to return your call within 3 business hours. Contact us by phone, email, text, Facebook and even online chat. We have implemented systems to ensure we deliver on our promises, get your ATO and Super lodgements in on time and cap our Support Officer's clientele so they’re not over-committed.
Dodgy Work?: We believe in doing the right thing by your business and that means accurately reporting your business transactions so you can make informed decisions.
Pricing: Starting at just $40/hr plus GST, our pricing is based on the type of work performed and additional discounts are available.
Referrals: Check out our website for some genuine recommendations from our happy clients.
Want more information? Head to our website