Bringing in a bookkeeper can help take your business to the next level. With the right professionals by your side, your business can save money, run more efficiently and have someone to help you with any tax problems that could arise. But not all bookkeepers are created equal: Like all other professions, there are good bookkeepers and there are bad ones.
We take pride in the level of expertise and professionalism our bookkeepers bring to the table at Hacker Accounting. We know what a good bookkeeper can do to help a business thrive. If you are wondering if your bookkeeper is helping or hurting your business, read on and see if any of these things strike a chord.
Since you hired your bookkeeper, has your business been able to save more money? Have you found ways of cutting costs and expanding your business, or has your situation failed to improve? A good bookkeeper will find ways of saving money, and with their expertise they should be able to get you to recoup and cut your expenses.
A major benefit of having a bookkeeper is the amount of time you will save by outsourcing your administrative duties. If you find that you are still spending a good amount of your time helping your bookkeeper or picking up their slack, then they are not helping your business. On the other hand, if they are competent and efficient, they can add hours and hours of free time for you to devote to growing your business.
Are your records up to date? This is where a bookkeeper can really shine by organizing and ensuring that all your receipts, records, invoices and payroll are up to date. If going through your records and finding a document you need is a breeze, then your bookkeeper is a boost to your business. If your records are out of date and a mess, then that could seriously hurt your business. It’s easy for invoices that need to be paid and tax issues that have to be dealt with to get lost in the shuffle when your records are in disarray.
In most cases, when a bookkeeper is hurting your business they aren’t doing it maliciously. Everybody makes mistakes, and sometimes people bite off more than they can chew. But there are worst-case scenarios where your bookkeeper may be actively defrauding you. You should give people the benefit of doubt when possible, but if you notice multiple red flags you should seriously consider bringing in an accountant or another bookkeeper to double-check and make sure that nothing funny is going on.
Here are some warning signs that you can keep an eye out for:
- Does your bookkeeper’s lifestyle seem be at odds with their earnings?
- Have they asked for signature authority on your checks?
- Have you been getting tax delinquency notices that your bookkeeper keeps explaining away as government error?
- Do your deposits seem too small?
- Do they protest if you try to bring in an accountant or any other kind of financial oversight on your business?
- Have they been consistently misfiling documents like estimates, payroll receipts and deposit records?
Some of these things could have reasonable explanations. If you see several of these red flags, then you should definitely look into it.
Trust is a very important part of your relationship with your bookkeeper. This is someone that you are entrusting your financials with, someone who could save your business through their economic savviness or help bring it to ruin by making mistakes and poor judgment calls.
The only way to build and maintain that trust is through communication. You can’t know if your bookkeeper is helping or hurting you if they don’t tell you what’s going on. It’s essential that they keep you updated on what’s going on behind the scenes so you don’t lose track of where your money is going and what it’s doing. If they are doing a poor job of communicating with you, or are actually trying to keep you in the dark about your books, you should look for another bookkeeper who can and will tell you what you need to know.