Ten Things to Look for in Your Bookkeeper

Your bookkeeper works closely with you and your business and is very familiar with your processes, systems, current financial state and your business goals.

Bookkeeping these days is far more than simply data entry and reconciliations.  Bookkeeping is understanding you and your business, taking the time to understand your needs, assessing your procedures and practices to offer suggestions for improvements, asking questions about where you want to go with your business and providing accurate and current reporting.

If your bookkeeper is spending a lot of time doing data entry then it’s time to upgrade your systems!  

Consider these questions in relation to your current bookkeeper—or use them as guidance if you are selecting a new bookkeeper.

  • Is your bookkeeper qualified and certified?  They need to have a minimum of a Certificate III in Bookkeeping, and if providing BAS services they must also be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a BAS Agent.
  • Is your bookkeeper a member of a professional organisation such as the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers?  Professional membership ensures the bookkeeper is kept abreast of industry developments, best practices and news from essential organisations such as the ATO and Fair Work Ombudsman.  
  • Is your bookkeeper a part of a professional community of peers?  This is vital to keeping informed about software issues, industry matters and learning from each other.  Bookkeeping professionals are a great resource for continuing development and education for each other.
  • Does your bookkeeper regularly undertake professional development and attend industry events?  It is important that bookkeepers keep up to date with the continual changes that affect business owners and their legal obligations, as well as developments in the software and related applications.
  • Does your bookkeeper challenge you with questions?  Your business no doubt goes through cycles and changes and therefore the bookkeeping and related processes may need to evolve accordingly.  Is your bookkeeper willing to adjust their own processes in response to your business needs? Does the bookkeeper regularly ask questions of you to ensure they are in sync with your business?
  • Does your bookkeeper look at the big picture of your business, the systems, the processes, the people and offer you insights?  Your bookkeeper can be an advisor to your business and assist in making important business decisions.
  • Can your bookkeeper admit when they need to do some research?  Bookkeeping is a massive area of knowledge and we don’t all know everything.  What is important is that your bookkeeper knows when they don’t know something and knows where to go for the answers.
  • Does your bookkeeper take care of online security?  This is a reality of business today and your bookkeeper must assure you of their own online security and integrity practices as well as maintaining confidentiality of your information.
  • Do you have a great relationship with your bookkeeper?  Business owners often share information with their bookkeeper in confidence, that is highly sensitive in nature.  There should be regular professional communication from your bookkeeper to yourself.
  • Do you enjoy working with your bookkeeper?  While your bookkeeper is providing you with reconciliations, reports, data integrity and accuracy, you want to be able to enjoy the working relationship with your bookkeeper!