No matter how large or small your business, keeping track of your books is a necessity. From tracking your sales to recording your expenses, proper bookkeeping provides you with an ongoing view of your business’s health, as well as making things easier when it comes to tax time. If you are planning to get a bank loan or sell your business, you’ll need to have your books in order.
If you’re like most business owners, however, you’re probably not trained in bookkeeping. Even if you are, you probably have dozens of other more important obligations on your plate that only you can do.
On the other hand, most small businesses don’t have enough work to employ a full-time bookkeeper. For this reason, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are outsourcing to bookkeeping services.
Whether you’re just getting started in your business, or you’ve been in business for a while and are ready to outsource certain tasks, if you’re considering hiring a bookkeeper, here’s what to look for:
Technological savviness and efficiency
The tools a company uses daily constantly evolve as technology advances and software becomes more intelligent. Companies that want to stay on top of current trends or even get ahead of the curve should make it top priority to find a bookkeeper who is up to date on the current state of technology in the prescribed industry.
Finding an individual or team that is excited to work with you on updating and integrating your current technology systems is far more significant than someone who can just do your taxes. It’s not only easier for you, but puts your company in an advantageous position moving forward.
As part of keeping their fingers on the pulse of technology, many bookkeeping services also add value by partnering with other companies such as payroll services, HR providers, and software providers. These partnerships can help fulfill other business needs you might have at a discount.
Reputation and trustworthiness
For such an important role, you’re obviously going to do your research into whether or not a bookkeeping service is reputable and trustworthy. Along with developing a reputation for high integrity, you also want to find a company that hires local people, that way you can know for sure who is taking care of your books.
Some bookkeeping companies outsource their clients’ books to offshore locations in order to keep their rates competitive. It’s not unheard of to receive emails from international companies claiming to be able to do your bookkeeping at an absurdly low rate. Just like many things in life however, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Understand the narrative behind the numbers
On the surface, the job of a bookkeeping service may look simple: to keep the books in order. But in reality, the best bookkeeping services are also trained to go beyond data entry and reporting to give you powerful insights into your business.
A bookkeeper who pays attention to the narrative behind the numbers can spot anomalies that could be costing you. These could be things like catching errors from utility companies that may be running your expenses up by thousands of dollars. A strong bookkeeping firm can address that for you. Another example of where they can save you money lies in their knowledge of industry services. Good bookkeepers know when paying a premium for a service is worth it and where there are free options that are just as efficient. Catching these discrepancies, along with others, could be the difference between a profitable year or not for your business.
Insights from a savvy bookkeeping service can even help you make informed business decisions. Successful bookkeeping teams not only look at the data to see where you could be saving money, but they also interpret that information to predict ways that you could make more in the future. This could be as simple as tracking where clients are coming from to hone in on a target market, or even using that data to alter your advertising and marketing campaigns on what may be most successful for your business.
When should you hire a bookkeeper?
It’s always a good time to begin searching for qualified bookkeepers, especially if you are feeling lost or overwhelmed doing your own bookkeeping services. In order for you to get the most out of your bookkeeper, it is generally recommended to begin hiring three months ahead of tax season, as that is usually when the need for their services is at its peak.
While most bookkeeping services will still take new clients further into tax season, it is less advantageous to the business owner. A wise entrepreneur knows to always be a few steps ahead of the rest, and setting a reminder for yourself to get started early may not be a bad idea.
The bottom line, if it’s time to hire a bookkeeper for your small business, don’t wait! Get in touch with a reputable service today.