Entrepreneurs often start by wearing many hats. But as the business grows, it becomes harder to keep up with the demands. A bookkeeper’s hat is one of the earliest you should take off. Not only will it enhance the financial management of the firm, but it also frees you to focus on other aspects of the business.
But, how do you tell great talent from a bookworm?
We spoke with Tania Usowicz of Building Blocks for Business and drew seven qualities and personality traits that you can look for.
When looking for someone to handle the financial management of the business, start by checking if they are organized. Whether it’s a freelancer, small accounting firm or an employee. Consider how well-organized they are.
Are they organized or will they wait for you to put them in order?
Bookkeeping entails lots of routine tasks which must be completed promptly. Choose someone who can manage time and prioritize tasks effectively. As Tania puts it: “You want to have peace of mind knowing your books are in order and tax season won’t be a scramble”
Honest and Gutsy
It’s rather obvious that your bookkeeper should be an honest person. After all, they are privy to confidential information such as bank statements and contracts. But the bookkeeper is more than a stooge who keeps your secrets and nods yes to every request. According to Tania, “A good bookkeeper should be gutsy. Someone who’s not afraid to criticize or express a difference of opinion. Since you are relying on their accuracy. A good bookkeeper should never cut corners.”
As we’ve mentioned above, a good bookkeeper should be willing to go the extra mile when numbers don’t add up. In Tania’s words, “bookkeeping is not all about receipt wrangling – It’s a role that takes the curiosity and drive to always get to the bottom of unresolved questions. They should be willing to do a little sleuthing when the numbers don’t add up.”
Your candidate should be comfortable with the idea of regularly examining books and asking questions.
A good communicator
A bookkeeper whose reports are often esoteric could be a bookworm.
Granted, some bookkeepers are better with numbers than they are with people. But, you should pick a candidate who can communicate. Not only should they maintain sales records and payments to suppliers, but they should also report it in a way that’s easy to understand.
Tech Savvy and willing to improve skills
Bookkeeping is no longer what it used to be 15 or 25 years ago. Today, most financial management and bookkeeping systems are digitally powered. Pick someone who is conversant with common accounting software and is tech-savvy.
But they should also be inquisitive, willing to learn, improve their skills and update their knowledge.
Your choice bookkeeper should also be well qualified. But they should hold more than a mere degree certificate. They should have a track record of excellence in service delivery.
If it’s a freelancer or a bookkeeping firm, do they have stellar reviews from current and previous clients? Can you interview some of the clients?
If you’d like to hire someone to join your team, do they have verifiable referees?
Look for firms or individuals who display integrity, and can deliver timeliness, efficiency, and confidentiality.
Lastly, pick someone who sees the big picture
The qualities above show that a good bookkeeper is more than just another service provider or an ordinary employee. Since they support the core – proper financial management of the firm, the person/firm must be disciplined and visionary. Also, they should be familiar with the ropes of the industry and understand your goals.
As Tania puts it, “a good bookkeeper can help you craft a vision which you know that with discipline and application you can achieve.”