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Hiring a Bookkeeper? Ask Yourself These Questions First

Posted by Ann Irons, CPA

Mar 20, 2014 5:04:00 PM

bellingham-ma-bookkeepingWhen you put your heart and soul into your small business, there’s always the temptation to take on everything yourself, from daily minutiae to strategic planning. Sometimes, though, the “little details” turn into a major distraction. You don’t want just anyone keeping your books, says Ann Irons, CPA, who offers bookkeeping services in Bellingham, MA. Before you cede control of your company's accounting responsibilities, ask yourself whether a candidate meets these criteria:

Does he understand accounting and bookkeeping terms? Can anyone learn the basics of accounting? Absolutely. Do you have time to teach him? Definitely not. Look for someone who can demonstrate a proven ability to interpret and apply these principles.

Is the individual detail-oriented? You don’t have time to focus on the tiniest details, just like you don’t have time to babysit.

Does this person understand the Big Picture, too? Look for someone who understands the complex relationship between a few simple numbers and the success of your business. If you purchase a piece of construction equipment, will your new bookkeeper know to set up accounts for liability principal and interest expenses? It's more than just spending.

Can you count on her to follow through? You have enough on your plate without constantly checking in to ensure that projects have been completed. Sure, you will be on hand to answer questions, but there is no time for hand-holding.

Has this person mastered financial statements? You rely on financial statements--profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets--to make important decisions about growth and allocation. If your bookkeeper cannot present this information in a timely, accurate manner, it's time to look elsewhere.

Does he understand the concept of job costing? Without job costing, you have no way to accurately gauge the cost of your projects.

Can your bookkeeper communicate effectively? It's inevitable that a question will need asking somewhere along the line. Is this person willing to ask, or will he forge ahead and risk the accuracy and results of the project? A willingness to seek answers is just as important as the ability to work mostly autonomously.

Is the candidate willing and able to further his education? Regardless of your industry, current knowledge of accounting and finance principles is necessary. Although the basics rarely change, your bookkeeper must be willing to learn new methods to improve accuracy and efficiency.

You can count on Ann Irons, CPA, LLC, and her team for all this and more. To learn more about our bookkeeping services, or to request a consultation with Ann, contact us at 508-966-0700. We provide small business accounting and bookkeeping, individual and business tax preparation, and financial services in the Bellingham, MA area.

Topics: Bookkeeping

About Ann M. Irons, CPA LLC

ann_irons_head_shotAnn spent over 25 years in the financial service industry, gaining knowledge and experience that allows her to provide an array of tax, bookkeeping, and accounting services for her clients. Relying on a stringent code of ethics and a dedication to maintaining the highest industry standards, Ann works hard to ensure her clients receive the quality service they’ve come to expect. A member of AICPA and MSCPA, Ann has also had an article featured in the renowned publication, Banker and Tradesman. 

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