How to find a Great Bookkeeper

Ellen Rohr
Contributing Writer
Bare Bone Biz

Let’s start with your Financial Team:  If you are the owner, you are the Financial Manager and responsible for the money.  There are a couple of Financial Team members who can help you figure out where the money comes from and where it goes. A CPA or accountant can help keep you on the right side of the law and develop a sound tax strategy.   A good bookkeeper can do the heavy lifting when it comes to data entry and keeping the accounting current and accurate.

How do you find a great bookkeeper?  Here are a few tips!

Recruit new parents. The untapped resource of valuable professional skills lies with men and women who choose to work part-time or from home because they have young children. These parents value flexibility even more than money. Remember, all these financial positions are part-time. Also, new parents are great multi-taskers. What they can get done in an hour is astonishing.

Develop the skills of someone who works for you. For the bookkeeper and controller duties, you do not need a degree-ed accountant. Is there someone on your team who has some of the characteristics listed above? Talk to him or her about expanding his or her role at your company by taking on accounting duties. You can learn accounting and financial management skills together.

Be non-discriminatory in your recruiting and hiring. Look for folks that others may overlook. Physical disabilities are not a problem in these positions. I recently met a passionate bookkeeper for a big outdoor goods retailer. This woman was born with only two fingers. She loves her job and I bet she is great at it!

Ask your Accountant and/or financial planner to recruit for you. They know people who know people. Put the word out.  I went through this process myself when I realized that we weren’t making any money and no one was going to figure out how to fix that for me. It was my responsibility. I found a great financial team and I learned enough about finance and accounting to understand how good my team is!

Of course, you should follow solid, non-discriminatory, systematic hiring practices.  Informally, here are a few good indicators…

• She loves crossword puzzles.
• He unconsciously straightens the items on your desk.
• She is impeccably neat — a messy bookkeeper is an oxymoron.
• He takes it personally when the bank reconciliation is out of balance. It will work at him like a flea on a dog until he gets it figured out.
• She is kind, enthusiastic and has a nice voice. After all, this person is going to have to put on the CSR hat at least once in a while.
• When you ask, “Could you …” he replies, “Yes, I can.”
• She focuses on a task. She can enter a stack of payables without getting up even once.

Finding the right financial team to help you build your empire may appear to be a daunting task. Take heart and take my advice: Do not put up with a weak financial team. Learn to do the duties yourself if you must. Do not be held hostage. Know there are people out there who love bookkeeping and accounting and determine to find them. After all, you are building an empire. What a great game to play! They will be honored to join your team.

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