How to Hire the Best Bookkeeper for your Business 1

A bookkeeper will be a crucial part of your business operations. Keeping your financials accurate and up to date, they will become an invaluable resource.

With that in mind, you want to make sure you choose the right bookkeeper for your business.

Fortunately, this process doesn’t have to be a needle in the haystack situation!

A big part of being able to hire a bookkeeper that is a great fit for your business will be asking some key questions upfront.

Let’s explore what some of those key questions are now.


The Questions To Ask

1: What services do you offer?

Each small business will have different needs, so you want to ensure your chosen bookkeeper will be able to service your requirements. Arrange a time to chat with them about the kind of services they offer so that you can make an informed decision about who to hire.

Many bookkeepers will offer a mixture of vital financial services. These can include:

  • Basic recording of and maintaining financial transactions, usually in an accounting system like Xero, MYOB or similar
  • Managing Accounts Payable and Receivables
  • Reconciling your bank accounts to the transactions in your financial system
  • Managing and processing Payroll
  • Calculating and preparing GST returns
  • Compiling and generating financial reports and statements
  • Assisting with budgeting and forecasting, then monitoring progress against the projections
  • Providing information and reporting for use by business and/or financial advisors
  • Software training and support for systems like Xero, MYOB or similar

Some of these services will be particularly helpful for your business, while others may not be applicable to your needs. Having the conversation upfront will ensure you get a bookkeeper with the correct service offerings for you.


2: What kind of experience do you have?

Sometimes it can be helpful to work with a bookkeeper that has experience in your specific industry. That is particularly true if you work in a field with a lot of moving parts like a trade or hospitality. It can also be helpful to have a bookkeeper with small business knowledge as they have different nuances to bigger businesses.

Asking these questions before engaging a bookkeeper will help you to choose someone with the right experience and knowledge to serve your business effectively.


3: Which software systems do you work with?

Having a bookkeeper with proficiencies in the financial software you use will be really helpful. So, it is good to ask them how familiar they are with specific systems. Inquire about their depth of knowledge too as some financial functions will need more than just a basic understanding.

If you use Xero, try to find a bookkeeper that has expertise in Xero. Likewise if you use MYOB.  It will make the road ahead much easier if you are both familiar with your chosen system.


4: How do you like to communicate?

If you are someone that likes to communicate via email, it can be frustrating to have your bookkeeper calling you regularly! Or, if you prefer to chat through things over the phone, you may not appreciate an email.

That’s why it can be helpful to discuss communication preferences so that you can both connect in a way that is convenient. You’ll also want to set the right expectations by discussing response times so that everyone is on the same page.

While certain financial functions will require a set form of communication, like a face-to-face or video meeting, other things can be communicated via email, messenger app or phone. Find a bookkeeper that is happy to communicate in a way you are comfortable so that there is no cause for conflict or frustration down the line.


5: What is your availability?

Most bookkeepers will have multiple clients they are already servicing, so you want to ensure your potential choice has the availability and capacity to take on your workload. Carefully discuss your needs to ensure everyone has an understanding of the level of work that needs to be completed.

Discuss timeline expectations for both parties - what will you need to provide to your bookkeeper and when, along with when they will complete certain tasks for you. Knowing this information upfront will allow you to both see if you are a good fit to work together.


6: What are your payment terms?

Bookkeepers offer a range of payment terms and structures. Some will charge a monthly retainer or set fee, whereas others will charge per service provided. Having the discussion about payment options will ensure their services fit within your budget and align with your cashflow.


7: How would you work with a business like mine?

Getting an understanding of how you and your bookkeeper might work together will set you up for a good working relationship. These are just a few of the extra things you might want to cover off with your bookkeeper before diving in head first:

  • Can you provide testimonials or reviews from current and previous clients?
  • What are your data security protocols - password management etc.
  • How often do you attend professional development opportunities?
  • What business practices are your top priorities?
  • What sets you apart from other bookkeepers?

Getting a feel for your bookkeeper’s vibe and personality will help you to establish if you can work together harmoniously.


Bonus Questions: Are you a member of the ICNZB?

If your bookkeeper is a member of the ICNZB then you know you can trust their professionalism and skill. Each ICNZB Certified or Master bookkeeper has passed an assessment to demonstrate their knowledge in bookkeeping and are bound by a code of ethical conduct. This means they meet the professional standards set out by a recognised professional body, offering you reliable and trustworthy service.

At the ICNZB we connect NZ businesses with highly skilled bookkeeping professionals. So, if it is time for your business to hire a bookkeeper, the best place to find one is within our Directory. With great options all over Aotearoa, you’ll have access to the largest collection of Certified and Master bookkeepers in one handy place.

Check out the ICNZB bookkeeper directory now.