Anyone running a small business knows just how much effort it takes to keep things running smoothly, and just how many hours must be invested each day. Entrepreneurs often tend to try to do everything themselves, which can lead to one portion of the business being neglected. After all, if you are spending hours of your time performing bookkeeping tasks or other administrative duties for your business, you are probably not able to invest as much time as you would like or need to the actual service you offer.
Can You Really Handle your own Bookkeeping?
Bookkeeping tends to be the one area that most small business owners believe they can handle themselves, even if they have no formal training. In order to make this work, you need to fully understand bookkeeping principles, be extremely organized, and enjoy working with numbers. You must also be able to devote a certain amount of time to keeping accurate records each day, which means you will not be able to perform your official business duties during this time.
While there are a few advantages to keeping your own books, such as being able to keep a close eye on your business finances, and saving a bit of money on the expense of hiring a bookkeeper, the truth is bookkeeping may actually be a waste of your time. Even with the development of business bookkeeping software, the process is still quite time consuming. In some cases it simply does not make sense to keep wasting your valuable time, when you could easily pay someone else to handle this task.
If you have decided to outsource your bookkeeping to a professional, the best way to find a reputable provider is to seek referrals. There are plenty of small bookkeeping businesses in the market today, who specialize in handling the records of other small businesses. Talk to your personal accountant and fellow small business owners. Find out who these people recommend and then meet with your list of choices.
Upon meeting with your prospective bookkeepers, treat them as you would if you were hiring any other type of employee for your business. Ask for a work history, a complete resume, and references. Make sure you take the time to actually verify the references, as it is essential that you hire someone you will be able to trust with your confidential information. If you are a very small business, and you do not want to add an actual “bookkeeper position” to your payroll, you may be able to pay the professional as a subcontractor or freelancer. This basically means the bookkeeper works for him or herself, and works on a “work for hire” basis, not as an actual employee of your company.
The pay scale for bookkeepers varies a bit, and you can shop around to ask what they charge per hour. Do not automatically sign on with a person offering the cheapest rate; more experienced professionals will cost more, however they come with many more years of valuable experience. This experience can prove quite fruitful for your business and may end up saving you money over the long term.
Always make sure you choose a candidate who you feel comfortable with, as you will be working closely with your bookkeeper. It is perfectly acceptable to take your time with the selection process. In the end, your effort will be well worth the time spent, and you will take a great deal of comfort knowing your records are being managed by an efficient professional, leaving you with plenty of time to focus on what you do best.