Small Business Bookkeeping Service Questions

by Lynnea Bylund on October 19, 2010

Bookkeeping for your small business is an important, often overlooked, piece to your business success. Sooner or later small business owners realize that they need to get better financial controls in their business and they set out to look for services that can improve their business finances.

Source: Justin Earl

quickbooks bookkeeping accountingSmall business owners can tell you some horror stories about hiring the wrong bookkeeping service for their business. From incorrect numbers that lead to tax issues to slow reporting and even fraud, the cost of getting your books done incorrectly can be devastating.

The great news is that there are great bookkeeping services available to you, provided that you ask the right questions. If you are thinking about putting a bookkeeping service in place for your small business, here are 5 questions to ask (in no particular order).

Question #1- What kind of experience does the potential bookkeeper or bookkeeping service have?

This is as much a question of how long the bookkeeping service has been doing bookkeeping as much as what kind of knowledge and qualifications they have. Make sure you are able to assess their knowledge as well as the ability to verify the certifications that they have.

Question #2- How often will they be able to report?

In today’s business environment, you need reporting at the tip of your fingers to be able to make quick and informed decisions. With a bookkeeper, you need to know how often they will update your books. Will it be daily, weekly or monthly? What would you prefer?

Question #3- How is your data protected?

This is an often overlooked piece to hiring a bookkeeping service. I have talked with several business owners who lost critical financial data for their business simply because their bookkeeper didn’t find it necessary to back up their work. You can’t afford a mistake like this so make sure you find out how your information is secured and stored.

Question #4- Do they have a back up plan?

What if you hire a bookkeeper and they are injured and out of work for a significant period of time? Even more, I am sure your bookkeeper will need a vacation at some point.

What will you do then? Does your bookkeeper have the ability to work remotely? All of these questions must be answered before your proceed with a bookkeeping service. You are too busy to look for someone in the spur of the moment.

Question #5- What type of reporting is available for your business?

Some bookkeepers will do your books and leave it at that. Is that going to be good enough for your business? We talked about frequency in question 2 but that is an irrelevant question if they don’t report at all. Make sure you know if your bookkeeping service provides reports and if so, what type of reports they provide.

Like I said at the beginning, bookkeeping is an important service for your business. As a business owner, you have to know the score at all times. Make sure that before you enter into a bookkeeping relationship, you answer the above 5 questions. Your business will thank you for it.

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