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7 Steps to Hire the Right Bookkeeper For Your Small Business


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Your business is growing, and new opportunities are around the corner, but you are struggling to determine whether you can move forward with them. Why? Most often, business owners are wearing multiple hats, and while an opportunity might bring greater sales and potential profits, the truth is they don’t have enough time in the day to take on the additional work and responsibilities. How can you change that for your business? It starts by delegating specific tasks, such as your bookkeeping, to a professional. But what are your options, and how can you successfully meet the challenge of hiring a bookkeeper for all the life stages of your small business? Let’s start by diving into the various options available for hiring a bookkeeper for your small business and what each of them offers.


hiring a bookkeeper for a small business


What Are the Bookkeeper Options For a Small Business?


1. Bookkeeping Service

Bookkeeping services provide a number of options for small businesses. Not only can they handle the daily bookkeeping tasks of recording and categorizing your financial transactions, they can also assist with bill pay, payroll, and creating financial statements. Some bookkeeping services also offer accounting options, meaning that you have access to an accountant for tax advice and financial planning. Most bookkeeping services provide a wide variety of options at different price points, making it easy for you to effectively grow your business while maintaining a relationship with your bookkeeper.

Additionally, bookkeeping services can specialize in different business models, allowing you to gain access to expertise that fits the needs of your business, whether you are a startup, small business, e-commerce, or growing your business through investments or mergers. A bookkeeping service can also be budget-friendly since most of them offer price plans based on the services you choose, your sales, or the number of transactions you have monthly.


2. Freelance Bookkeeper

A freelance bookkeeper can provide many of the services you might find with a bookkeeping service, including recording and categorizing your transactions. You can also work out a payment schedule that fits your budget. Most freelance bookkeepers average between $18 to $23 per hour, depending on their level of expertise, years of experience, and education. Another benefit of a freelance bookkeeper is that you don’t have the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training a new member of your staff, plus the ongoing payroll expenses. Freelance bookkeepers can also work virtually, meaning they can access your accounting software and keep it up to date without having to be in the office. With technology allowing video calls and regular communication through chats and other apps, you can enjoy the benefits of having a bookkeeper without the additional expenses associated with expanding your team.


3. In-House Bookkeeper

An in-house bookkeeper means they are working solely on managing your financials, not any other small business. However, having an in-house bookkeeper also means you are taking on the additional costs associated with expanding your team. While you might have a number of transactions and a large enough payroll to make this worthwhile, it is important to review your bookkeeping needs before committing to an in-house bookkeeper, especially since you will still need to have all your financials reviewed by your accountant during tax season.

If you are ready to hire a bookkeeper for your small business, there are several things you need to keep in mind, regardless of whether that bookkeeper is going to be in-house, freelance, or bookkeeping service. Let’s dive into the 7 steps you should take before you decide to hire a bookkeeper.


7 Steps to Hire the Right Bookkeeper For Your Small Business


hiring a bookkeeper for a small business


Step 1: Get your financials together

Before you hire your bookkeeper, you should have all your transactions together, along with how you want to account for them, either the cash-based or accrual method. You should also have a basic idea of how you want to categorize your expenses, so your bookkeeper can set it up in your accounting software. The goal is to know what you want them to handle and to make sure you have all the information available. Outlining your expenses can also give your bookkeeper an idea of what to expect each month in terms of the number of transactions. It is important that you are familiar with what a bookkeeper does, so you can know what they can handle or not.


Step 2: Depict your perfect virtual bookkeeper (know what you want!)

Part of deciding on hiring the perfect bookkeeper for a small business is knowing what you need them to handle for your business. Be clear about what you expect on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. While it can be easy to find a bookkeeper for where your business is right now, you also want to know if your bookkeeper will be able to handle additional tasks in the future. Be very clear about your expectations, so you can choose the right fit for your business.


Step 3: Decide which type of bookkeeper you want (listed above)

Now that you know what you want in your perfect virtual bookkeeper, compare that to the different types of bookkeepers available. For instance, a freelance bookkeeper might work for your business right now, but they might not be able to grow with your business as you need them to take on more tasks, such as payroll or bill pay. Once you are clear about what you need your bookkeeper to accomplish, it is easier to find the right fit.


Step 4: Meet and get pricing from multiple options

Talk with different bookkeepers and bookkeeping services to get pricing. Be sure that you are clear about what you need them to do, so you can get an accurate comparison of costs. Will they bill by the number of transactions, your annual sales, or on the number of tasks assigned? With several quotes, you get a clear idea of how much you can afford to have completed by your bookkeeper and what you may need to handle in-house.



Step 5: Evaluate your top options

Evaluate the options that closely fit your perfect virtual bookkeeper. Do they offer options for future growth? Does their pricing fit your budget? Will they be able to meet your deadlines? By comparing your options, you get a clearer idea of which one is the right fit for your business.


Step 6: Go with your “most perfect” option

Once you determine which is the closest to your perfect fit, then you want to sit down and get all your terms in a written contract, being clear about your expectations and the pricing.


Step 7: Evaluate every year to make sure you’re happy

Every year, you want to sit down with your bookkeeper and determine if the relationship is still a good fit for you both. It is also the time to address any changes in the workload or pricing. If you find that your bookkeeper is no longer the right fit for your business, then you should start searching for another option right away.


Finding the right bookkeeper or bookkeeping service for your small business is critical to your long-term growth. By shifting these tasks to someone with the right knowledge and experience, you can turn your focus toward finding growth opportunities to take your small business to the next level.


Final Tips on Hiring the Right Bookkeeper


Tip #1: Determine your budget and expectations before hiring your bookkeeper.

Tip #2: Find a bookkeeper with the skills and experience to grow with your small business.

Tip #3: Working with a bookkeeping service can give you access to bookkeepers who specialize in your industry.

Tip #4: Consider hiring a bookkeeper for your small business from within. You might have the right person in-house.

Tip #5: Maintain relationships with local colleges and universities since a new graduate might provide bookkeeping services and be aware of the latest accounting methods.


What Is AccountsBalance?


AccountsBalance is a bookkeeping service that specializes in working with online and small businesses. We provide the right options to fit your needs right now but also tools and experienced advice for your business as it grows. Our team will provide your monthly financial statements, review transactions, handle payroll, and much more. If you are ready to shift your focus away from bookkeeping tasks and onto growing your business, then our team can help!


In Summary

Hiring the right bookkeeper for your small business involves knowing what tasks you want your bookkeeper to perform, your budget, and the needs of your business. Recognize that your business is best served when you can delegate tasks, including bookkeeping, to a qualified professional, whether that is an in-house bookkeeper, a freelance bookkeeper, or a bookkeeping service that specializes in working with businesses just like yours!


Want help with your bookkeeping? We make it easy. Get startedSpeak w/ a Founder, or Schedule a Callback

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Tracy Knepple

Tracy Knepple

As a writer and editor with 20+ years experience, Tracy Knepple offers practical tips and analysis on accounting, bookkeeping, small business, and many other topics. She has authored over 100 books as a professional writer for the Raymond Aaron Group. She received her Bachelor's degree in Communications from Indiana University.

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