Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Next Bookkeeper

Every business regardless of size needs someone looking after their finances. Otherwise, there is no way of knowing what the organization is spending money on and more importantly, which areas of spending are providing a good return on investment. Some smaller businesses and entrepreneurs do their own bookkeeping, but this is not always recommended, unless you have the discipline to meticulously document everything and keep your books up to date. Accountant

The challenge with hiring an outside bookkeeper in today’s electronic age is anyone who has a piece of accounting software can market themselves as a bookkeeper. For example, if you look on Craigslist in any major city, you will find multiple ads for “affordable” bookkeepers. But do you really want to entrust the finances of your company to someone you know little about except that they have the ability to place a classified ad?

While you may find a reputable bookkeeper through an online ad, you will never really know you can trust this person unless you know the right questions to ask. To help in your search, here are five questions you must ask before hiring an accounting or bookkeeping service; regardless of where you find them:

  1. How long have you been in business? The bookkeeping service you are considering should be an established business in the area and not someone that is just starting out. At a minimum, they should be in business for five years. In addition, accounting/bookkeeping should be their full-time endeavor, not some “sideline” business they do on nights and weekends.
  2. Can you provide testimonials with contact information from existing satisfied clients? If they have been in business for a while, the bookkeeper should have no problem producing references of other satisfied clients. Ask for two or three references and contact at least two of them. The feedback you get from other clients will give you a good idea of what you can expect when doing business with them.
  3. How large is your bookkeeping/accounting firm? Ideally, it is best to deal with a firm that is larger than just a one-person operation. An established bookkeeping service with a strong track record of client satisfaction will most often have a capable support staff to ensure that all clients are being properly serviced. Along these same lines, the firm should have an office you can visit if necessary. While bookkeeping can be done remotely and out of state, if the service you are considering happens to be local, you should make it a point to stop by their office and get to know them face to face.
  4. What is your procedure for ensuring accuracy? It is important to know something about the bookkeeper’s workflow and process so you are confident they are doing everything possible to stay accurate and up to date. Another related area to ask about is which software/system they use and whether or not you can see your data daily and in real time.
  5. Do you offer consulting as part of your bookkeeping services? As your business progresses, you will often have questions about certain aspects of your finances. The challenge with many bookkeeping services is they do not take the time to answer questions and explain areas of concern you may have. Or if they do, they will charge extra for the consultation. When discussing fee structures, ask if your bookkeeper or accounting firm provides free unlimited consulting as part of the package. If they do, this will show that they are client-focused and they are truly interested in ensuring your satisfaction.

BASC Expertise is a small business accounting firm in Mesa, AZ serving individuals and business owners throughout the Phoenix metro area. We offer powerful solutions, whether you are filing personal taxes, a sole proprietor, a growing business, or a well-established company, we have profitable accounting and tax solutions for you to manage and grow your business. Searching for a trusted accounting firm? Contact us today at 480-355-1398.

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