All of the bookkeeping services.
There. This article is done. EASIEST ONE I’VE EVER WRITTEN.
(Got this one here)
Seriously, though. You need all of it. And, I mean it. If you’re going to start a business, don’t half ass the bookkeeping.
I say this from experience.
From just over 11 years of owning a bookkeeping company, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the books being done, as an afterthought, in the basement, at the end of long, poorly lit corridor, in a room with one barely flickering florescent bulb, by the lowest paid person in the company, sitting on an overturned bucket, using an old cardboard box as a desk… You get the point, yes?
One example of this that comes to mind is back in 2006. I was doing a conversion to QuickBooks for Mac and was sitting with the receptionist, who was also the bookkeeper. Now, I have NO problems if someone is hired on as a receptionist AND a bookkeeper, but more often than not, it doesn’t work out like that. “Quickbooks a plus” is something I’ve seen too many times in job postings.
In this particular case, she had been given next to no training, didn’t bother to really try to figure out the way to do things properly, and mostly likely didn’t have time anyway. The books were an absolute hot mess.
(The direct result of the aforementioned lowest paid, basement-dwelling, cardboard-box-desk-having, untrained employee being assigned the task of keeping the books).
The one thing I remember most is going through a bank reconciliation with her—she had checked off everything in Quickbooks, everything on the statement, but the difference on the screen in Quickbooks didn’t say zero. When I asked her: “Now, what would you normally do?” She said, “Oh, I just hit enter enter enter enter until all the windows stop popping up.”
(Got this pic here)
What do we do in these situations? We either take the time to train that employee properly, or we talk to the owners and explain that we can take on these tasks and get them done much more efficiently (and give them solid numbers to make decisions about their business!), so that their employees can focus on doing stuff that will, you know, help make them money.
Want to avoid a bookkeeping nightmare like the one I described above? Get yourself a bookkeeping service.
Here are the bookkeeping services your business needed, like, yesterday.
That last one might seem a bit, oh, nebulous? It is, until you start working with someone that will help you figure all of it out. It’s also the first step in getting some procedures in place—before you need them—that will alleviate any growing pains.
Now, I bet you’re thinking to yourself, “Gee, self, yes! But where do I find someone to do this? Whatever shall this relationship look like? How much is all of this going to cost me??”
(I got this pic here)
There are a few ways to find a rockstar bookkeeper.
Since I think that everyone should be using Quickbooks Online, you could start with findaproadvisor.com and search for someone in your area. But if you like using another accounting software, that specific software will likely have its own directory of bookkeepers. Check it out.
If you belong to a local business group or chamber, they usually have a list of members and I would bet money there’s at least one in there that does this stuff—and if not, then another member will know of one. Or ask around to other business owners or your tax preparer and see if they have a recommendation. Going with personal referrals is a great way to ensure you’re getting someone good.
If you belong to an online forum specific to your industry, ask that group if they can give you some referrals; these might be best, because they’ll have experience in your industry.
You might even be able to find a good bookkeeper on a financial blog or website that you really trust. However, it’ll be harder to weed through your options this way.
As far as what the relationship looks like, that is really up to you and the person or company you hire. (I’ll be giving more specifics about what this should NOT look like next month.) The two most important things are that you should trust this person and feel comfortable with them. You want to make sure that it’s a good fit for both of you.
At Kildal Services, we have a very specific process that we go through before we take on new clients, to make sure that everyone is cool with each other. We have some clients that we are in contact with via text or email almost every day, and some clients that we only hear from every few weeks.
Regarding pricing – everyone does this differently. We have what we call Base + billing for our bookkeeping services; it’s a la carte pricing, but we also provide custom pricing as well. Regardless, unless it’s data clean up, our pricing is always flat fee. Some others, like my friend Laura Redmond, offer set package pricing and others will charge by the hour.
Once you determine who you want to work, what you want or need to do, and the stuff you need or what THEM to do, you’ll be able to develop specific systems to run your back office. Systems that need to have 3 attributes in order to facilitate the growth of your business: they need to be repeatable, they need to be trainable and they need to scalable. Which is an entirely different article…
See? You do need all of the bookkeeping services.