Whether you’re just starting your business or you’ve been in business for years, choosing the right bookkeeper is essential. So why is your bookkeeper so important? This is a more complicated question than you may realize. Today many people call themselves and consider themselves a bookkeeper. Some know basic accounting and are proficient at keeping accurate books. Some know how to use accounting software, but don’t truly understand accounting. He or she may look like they know what they are doing, but are simply making a mess of your records. If you end up hiring the latter, you run the risk of receiving a large accounting bill from your CPA at the end of the year to fix your bookkeeper’s errors. You also run the risk of paying more taxes because of missed deductions, or worse, you risk filing erroneous tax returns resulting in an audit in Uncle Sam’s favor.

So who is the right bookkeeper for your company?

People applying for bookkeeping positions have a wide range of actual accounting skills. So don’t let the title on their resume fool you. Let’s start with identifying which duties you would like this person to perform.

  • Do you want a full-charge bookkeeper who handles everything from cutting checks to invoicing customers, to reconciling at the end of the month?
  • Do you prefer to handle the everyday tasks of invoicing customers and paying bills? The right bookkeeper for you simply needs to know how to record these transactions.
  • Do you simply want someone to come in and reconcile at the end of each month or quarter? If you’re not sure exactly what you need, ask your CPA.

Once you have identified the right bookkeeper, let’s discuss how to hire a good bookkeeper. What does a good bookkeeper look like and what does he/she do for you? Besides the typical traits you would look for in any employee, a good bookkeeper has at least a few years of experience in the role you would like them to fill. Ask for a recommendation from the former employer’s CPA, they will best know how well your candidate performs accounting duties. The other important consideration is does this person have experience in your industry? This person may have excelled in the retail industry, but may not be able to adapt to the construction or service industry. Different industries are also subject to different tax treatments as well.

If this sounds like more than you want to bite off, you have another option. Many CPA firms offer bookkeeping services as well. Here at Nigro & Nigro, we only hire good accountants, with experience in many different industries. We know you, your company and your needs. Accounting is our passion, second only to our clients themselves. Whether an internal bookkeeper is the right choice for you, or outsourcing makes more sense, we’d love to help you through this process.

Written by Lori Hawkins, Accountant