The case for engaging a professional bookkeeper to take care of your limited company was put across in our March article, 3 Ways a Bookkeeper Makes a Wise Investment for a Limited Company. If you have decided to go ahead and hand your everyday bookkeeping over to a professional, you’ll no doubt be thinking about what you need to consider before choosing one. Precisely what we are looking at in this article.
How to Choose the Right Bookkeeper
The following are good questions to ask when choosing a bookkeeper:
Do they come recommended?
The best way to find a good bookkeeper is to ask for recommendations from people you trust. Your accountant may offer bookkeeping services, so it is a good idea to check with them. Otherwise talk to clients and suppliers to see who they recommend. Over and above everything, you need to be able to trust your bookkeeper; their honesty, especially in the event of an error, is vital.
Are they members of a professional body?
Bookkeepers who are members of professional bodies must meet certain criteria and are regularly audited to ensure their standards are exemplary. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers is one such body. Also check for accreditations such as Investors in People which demonstrate that the bookkeeping firm is dedicated to quality in all respects.
Do they have experience in your industry sector?
If you operate in a niche industry sector, it is often useful for those taking care of the financial side of your business have a good understanding of the individual needs and challenges you face. This way they will be able to provide you with solid guidance that is appropriate to your business.
What accounting software do they use?
First and foremost, the accounting software your bookkeeper uses MUST be compatible with Making Tax Digital so that they can submit all the necessary returns for you in line with the new HMRC regime. Secondly, the software should be straightforward to use, and absolutely without compromise you must have administrative rights to it so that there are no issues should you wish to access and use it yourself. Lastly, look for a bookkeeper with certifications in the software so that you have reassurance that they are thoroughly knowledgeable in all aspects of it. Are they are certified partner? What level of certification do they hold? Many accounting software providers set criteria for their partners to meet before they can become certified.
What qualities do they have?
You’ll want to see accuracy, independence, commitment, initiative, resourcefulness, excellent organisational and communication skills and foresight. All of these are essential qualities in a bookkeeper. They’ll also need to have a good amount of experience. The more experienced a bookkeeper is, the more useful their advice on things such as improving your profitability, operations and overall business success.
Are you looking for a bookkeeper?
Office Assistants is a family run bookkeeping business. Members of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Investors in People accredited, we are also a Silver Partner and Certified Advisor of Xero, a leading MTD-compliant accounting software system.
Should you wish to discuss your bookkeeping needs, we would be delighted to hear from you.