Most small businesses are happy with their bookkeeper. They searched long and hard to find someone who was the perfect fit for their company and never looked back.
However, not everyone will be so lucky.
Bookkeeping may not be astrophysics, but it is essential for the smooth running of your business.
You are busy doing 101 other things, so having faith in your bookkeeper is essential for a happy ship. But how can you be sure yours is doing their best for you?
There are six tell-tale signs to look out for that may suggest things are not as rosy as you first thought.
Your bookkeeper is unresponsive
How frustrating is sending your bookkeeper an email with a simple request only for it to be ignored or not answered for a week or more? A good bookkeeper will be responsive, even if that’s just a holding email, to let you know they’ve received your query and will get back to you ASAP.
What you need is a proactive bookkeeper who prevents disasters.
Late with the books
An experienced professional bookkeeper will always be ahead of the game. They’ll know when deadlines are looming and move heaven and earth to ensure they’re met. If your books are constantly late, or it’s a mad dash to get them done, not only do you need a new bookkeeper, but you could also be missing out on opportunities to grow your business.
Does your bookkeeper shy away from using basic bookkeeping terminology? I’m not talking about full-fat jargon, but the simple things like understanding the term reconciliation or not knowing the difference between a balance sheet and a profit and loss account.
Your bookkeeper is an essential part of your team and should (as a minimum) have a good knowledge and skill level to do the task they have been hired for.
Reports fail to materialise
If your bookkeeper runs regular financial reports for you that give a clear picture of your company’s financial health, you’ve found a good one.
However, if your bookkeeper goes quiet when you ask for reports, you could have a problem. These are the basics you require to make informed decisions about the future of your business.
Playing Hide and seek with your Bookkeeper
It is a fundamental right, as the boss, to request to see the books now and then. If they are presented to you promptly, you are on to a winner.
On the other hand, if it’s like asking for sight of the Holy Grail, you could have a massive problem. Let’s face it; if everything were above board, there would be no reason for holding back your books. Therefore, if you’re finding it difficult to see them, it could be due to something being covered up or hidden.
You’re questioning things
You’re the boss, not an expert bookkeeper. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to question their work. If you see constant mistakes or feel the need to ask why things have been done in a certain way, it could be time for a change.
What else you should look out for in a new bookkeeper
So far, we’ve looked at the signs that suggest you should be looking elsewhere for your bookkeeping services. But it’s also worth remembering a couple of things you should expect your bookkeeper to have.
Here, we’re talking about having the correct and up to date accreditations, such as with the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) and in possession of a money-laundering license (ALM)t to show a professional body that regulates them.
One thing that also deserves a mention here is the bookkeeper/client relationship. It works both ways. If you want your bookkeeper to provide a responsive service, it’s down to you to make sure you provide all the monthly information they require to do their job.
Financial mismanagement could spell disaster for your business. That’s why you must make sure you work with a professional bookkeeper who knows their onions.