Are you planning to hire a bookkeeping service to help you keep the books straight?
We think that is one of the best decisions you can make for your business. We think that nothing is more annoying than having to tally up the numbers at the end of a very busy quarter and find that you do not actually know where all your invoices and receipts are. Trying to reconcile 90 days’ worth of sales and purchases will take you all day – if you’re lucky!
Hiring a bookkeeping service is not as easy as hiring someone to mow your lawn, though. If that guy messes up, the grass will grow back. When you have someone poking around in your financials, you need to make sure you can trust them. They must know exactly what they’re doing. The damage from a mistake can be a lot more painful than a bald spot of dirt in the backyard.
When you consider potential groups or individuals to entrust your books to, make sure you review the following 7 key traits.
1. Strong Online Reputation
Any bookkeeping service that makes your shortlist needs to have a great reputation. You can look into this by checking a few places online.
Start by looking on their website for reviews. If they have been around for some time, they should have at least a few testimonials to show for it. You can also check review sites like Trustpilot or Glassdoor to see if any of their clients have shared their experiences.
If the company is working from a hiring platform, there should be a way to look at reviews from past projects there, too. Some platforms will even have a rating system where you can easily look at how popular that service is with its users. Social media platforms are another place to go to search for opinions and ratings. Even if that particular bookkeeping service doesn’t have a profile on, say, Facebook, you can search and find groups and individuals who have shared their experiences.
2. Niche Expertise For Your Business
Any bookkeeping service that you take seriously needs to have niche expertise. They may be the most highly rated online. They may have served thousands of other clients. If, however, they do not have experience working with the type of business that you have, that is a problem.
The service you choose must know how to handle the specific issues and processes that your business goes through. Otherwise, they will be more likely to make mistakes. You will also have a harder time communicating with them to get things done. Experience is key!
3. High Level of Communication
From the first time that you reach out to a bookkeeping service to get more information, take note of your interactions with them. Communication is of utmost importance in any relationship, including a business relationship. Was it easy to get in touch with them? Did anyone give you the runaround? How did the representative handle your questions? Asking questions like these will help you gauge that company’s communication level.
Always aim for the service that reflects the highest communication standards. Out of thousands of businesses that you can hire in this online world of ours, you can afford to be choosy! Don’t settle for less than the excellence that your business deserves.
4. Fair Market Pricing
One challenge when hiring is knowing how much a service should cost. This can get even more complicated when looking at services that operate outside of your local area. You can always do some internet research to find out the going rates. If you do, just be very careful where you get your information. Different websites and individuals will give you different answers.
For example, you will often find so-called keyboard warriors who think they know everything about the internet and the gig economy. These guys will tend to give you very bad advice about going for cheap services from across the globe. In cases like this, remember that you get what you pay for. You also definitely do not want to lowball a good candidate just because they live in a third-world country, making them unhappy and vengeful.
Stick to legitimate platforms and first-hand information from business owners like yourself. You can find many networking groups on social media, for example, where members share their advice on hiring different services.
5. On-Time Monthly Reports
A professional bookkeeping service will always give you on-time reports, without fail. They understand the importance of meeting deadlines, and will not let you down. If you do find a company that has high ratings, expertise, great communication, and reasonable rates but does not meet deadlines, you may have to cut your losses right there. When you provide them with everything that they need when they need it, they should have no reason not to come back with results in an equally timely manner.
In any case, if there is any problem outside their control, they should have already communicated that to you. We do not want to be too hard on our bookkeeper friends!
6. Able to Add On Other Services
The best bookkeeping service is one that can help you hire for other needs as well. Of course, you cannot expect them to have absolutely every kind of skill available. The best ones, however, can often offer you related services like accounting or administrative roles. This is not a make-or-break trait, but you can tell a stable and caring business many times by the add-on service they provide.
7. Overall Accounting and Bookkeeping Expertise
Just like with niche expertise, you want a bookkeeping service that knows exactly what it’s doing in the realm of bookkeeping and accounting. There are always general accounting rules that everyone doing business in your area has to follow. This level of expertise is a must.
Final Thoughts on Bookkeeping Services
Hiring a bookkeeping service can be such a great advantage to any company. Numbers are not something that everyone likes to deal with, not to mention the tedious nature of record-keeping! You should focus on what you do best, and leave the bookkeeping to the professionals.
If you would like more advice on how to find a great bookkeeper, don’t hesitate to reach out!
EcomBalance is a monthly bookkeeping service for eCommerce companies. EcomBalance handles your bookkeeping and sends you a Profit and Loss Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement by the 15th of each month. EcomBalance also has a sister company, AccountsBalance, that caters to agencies, software companies, coaches, and other online companies.