Tips for Choosing the Right Bookkeeping Service

When you’re looking to choose the right bookkeeping service, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of options that you have available to you. From full-service accounting firms to freelancers, there are plenty of ways that you can choose to take care of your books and business records. But if you don’t know what to look for in a bookkeeping service, how do you know which one is the best fit? We’ve put together this list of tips for choosing the right bookkeeping service so that you can make an informed decision when choosing your business partner!

Finding A Local, Independent Bookkeeper
Before searching online, it’s a good idea to chat with some business owners in your local community who have hired a bookkeeper. Be sure to ask them how they found their service and what they like or dislike about their bookkeeper. You can also ask them which services you should look for and what questions you should ask when interviewing potential candidates. These conversations will help guide your search and ensure that you find someone who meets all of your needs. Also, be sure to check out sites like Yelp to see if there are any reviews on local bookkeepers; these comments can help narrow down your search as well.

Choosing The Right Price Range
While choosing a bookkeeper might seem like an easy decision, it’s often more complicated than you think. It’s easy to be tempted by low-cost services with little or no experience, but what you save on initial cost, you might end up paying tenfold down the road. Hiring an inexperienced service can cause major delays when your company needs to file taxes or issue paychecks. When looking for a bookkeeper, focus first on quality and second on price. A service that costs slightly more may save you money and headaches down the road. You get what you pay for!

Researching Before You Hire
Before you hire a bookkeeper, research their background and make sure they are properly licensed. In addition to having an active CPA license, ask about any specialized certifications your bookkeeper may have. These could include being a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).

Not only do these certifications prove that your bookkeeper has industry expertise, but they also show they’re up-to-date on current professional practices. If you’re not sure where to begin when researching potential candidates, start with professional associations such as those affiliated with The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), or National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Interview Questions To Ask

Before you choose a bookkeeper, ask these questions:

  1. What’s your total charge?
  2. Do you do end-of-year reports?
  3. How soon can I expect to receive my records at year-end?
  4. Can you share what other clients have told me about your service?
  5. Do you have experience working with my type of business?
  6. Are there any costs involved beyond what I see here today?
  7. Are there any other services or products you offer that might be useful to my business?
  8. May I speak with someone who has used your services before?
  9. Is it OK if I call back next week to follow up on our conversation?
  10. When would be a good time for us to get together again so we can talk more about how you might help my business grow and prosper?
  11. If I decide not to use your company, will you please let me know who else in town offers similar services and prices?
  12. Will you provide references from businesses like mine that are satisfied customers of yours?
  13. Will we meet again before I make my final decision on which company gets my business?
  14. Is there anything else important that we should discuss now?
  15. What happens if something goes wrong with your service?
  16. How quickly can you start providing services for me once I hire you?
  17. Which bank do you use to deposit client checks?
  18. Who is responsible for paying sales tax—you or me?
  19. Who owns all of my financial data once it’s in your hands?
  20. Have you ever had problems with employees stealing client information and using it for their purposes (e.g., identity theft)?
  21. What kinds of security measures do you take to protect my data?
  22. Where are your offices located?
  23. What kind of training does each employee go through before they begin work for you?
  24. What kind of continuing education does each employee go through after they begin work for you?
  25. Does anyone besides me have access to my account information while you’re working with me

Insist On Face-To-Face Meetings
If you’re not happy with your bookkeeper, don’t hesitate to fire them. You have every right to expect professional service from someone managing your finances. Don’t wait for things to get worse. If you decide to fire your bookkeeper and find another one, be sure to tell him or her that expectations weren’t met and see if anything can be done about it. You might even suggest steps he or she can take next time around so that you don’t run into problems again.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fire Your Bookkeeper If They Don’t Meet Your Expectations
While there are plenty of professional bookkeepers out there, you may still encounter a few that aren’t living up to your standards. It’s important to feel comfortable with your bookkeeper and make sure they understand your goals and needs. If you find that your bookkeeper isn’t meeting your expectations, don’t be afraid to fire them! There are plenty of qualified candidates out there. It also might be a good idea to discuss your options with other business owners who use their services as well.

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