Questions to ask while hiring a bookkeeper

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Questions to ask while hiring a bookkeeper

  • By Ravleen Tuteja
  • November 29, 2017

Bookkeepers have always been a major team member in any firm. Every small business owner needs to get their finances ready for their accountant. Yes!! Bookkeepers and accountants are different. So before hiring a bookkeeper, the first thing is to describe the scope of the bookkeeping work and defining the employee persona. Do you just want a data entry bookkeeper or a management accountant who can read financial data and help in forecasting next budgets?

Here are a few sample Questions that can come handy while hiring a Bookkeeper:

1) Qualification:

A bookkeeper generally does not need a license to practice, and therefore inquiring about their training experience and certifications becomes necessary. With professional bookkeeping services they should provide services using Quickbooks, MYOB, Xero and other widely accepted accounting software.

2) Experience in your industry:

Every industry has its own format for maintaining their books. And thus having a previous experience in the same industry makes the training process faster and the new person is able to add value from his own experience. Having industry reference also helps to assure the credibility of the bookkeeper.
One can also ask about previous financial reports they have created and how was the previous employer using it andhis learning from past situations, which has helped him develop on professional front.

3) Communication flow:

If your bookkeeper is in-house then one can always check their emotional quotient by asking them situational questions and checking their response time towards the work assigned.
With outsourced bookkeeping services, always check their customer support and work updating process on what’s late and what is coming up. Analyze their hourly rates and the work completions in it. Ask if they provide their office tour to check facilities and meet their staff.

4) Skills:

Ask if the bookkeeper is proficient in the software you want them to use. You don’t want someone who still works on excel spreadsheets.(Also make note of who would hold the account credentials for the software, it is generally advisable for the company itself to own them).Checking how they review their own work will also show consistency and unbiased working ethics.
With that, asking some technical questions regarding the scope of work you expect should also be tested, in fields like bank reconciliations, bill handling procedures, cash flow forecasting, etc.

5) Safety:

Since you are providing a person or a bookkeeping business with your company’s sensitive data, you need to make sure that they have proper internal review procedure and quality control. One needs to question about how do they segregate duties i.e. having multiple people with different responsibilities to make sure there is transparency.

With all that said, a standard guideline with the mentioned points in mind should be used to asses every candidate. It helps in prioritizing yournecessities while making decisions.