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Qualifications of A Small Business Bookkeeper

by abrill on November 19, 2012

What should be the qualifications of a small business bookkeeper? What is the role of a bookkeeper?


1) Bookkeepers are NOT Accountants!

Bookkeepers enter data into your accounting system. Accountants (CPAs) check and sign off on your books after the bookkeeping is complete, give tax advantage advice and sometimes provide general business consulting. They are the ones who stand with you when the IRS audits your books.

Bookkeepers make sure the accounting entries are complete, coded properly, timely, and that the entries are from the business. They take the numbers and record them accurately.

Because bookkeepers simply record data, they are less expensive to hire. Paying an accountant to do bookkeeping would be a real waste of cash!

Still, the skill range of bookkeepers varies. Here are 7 qualities that you should look for in a bookkeeper.

1.      Ask for Extensive References.

The more the merrier. If they have 8-10 references to offer, you have many to check with to build your confidence in the candidate. Remember, this bookkeeper will know everything about your business and probably your personal finances too. They need to be trustworthy and dependable. Take the extra time up front. You won’t regret it later.

2.      Bookkeepers Must Be Detail oriented.

This can be ambiguous, but you need to find a candidate that can prove he or she is accurate to the penny. Accountants often know good bookkeepers because they work hand in hand.

3.      Bookkeepers Must Be Super Organized.

They need to keep things clean and easily understandable. Ask them how they organize their apartment/house or how do they manage their calendar. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from other clients too.

4.      Bookkeepers Need to Be Process focused.

They need to be able to plan out a task and get it done on time consistently. You need to know they can get the eggs to each basket without losing any or before they spoil. You also want to know how long it takes them to get simple tasks done, like bank reconciliations.

5.      Certified On The Software You Use For Bookkeeping.

Whether you use QuickBooks or Peachtree or any other accounting software, the candidate should have a certification from the software company when possible. When one isn’t offered they should be able to offer references that can back up their claim to qualification.

6.      Understands the Regulatory Filing Requirements of Your Industry.

They should understand what taxes and forms need to be prepared. If you would like a lawyer or CPA to manage taxes and fillings, then you can hire a bookkeeper without a high understanding here.

7.      Technology Savvy.

A key qualification of a small business bookkeeper is the need to be comfortable with technology. This point might seem obvious, but they will be using a computer for all their tasks, so they need to know how to use one well. Maybe they have grown up on a mac and will be using a PC to manage your books. Are they comfortable with a Mac? PC? Which platform does your business use? This would seriously affect their productivity. Check out free bookkeeping software.

Make sure your small business bookkeeper measures up to these qualifications. Also, your bookkeeper should provide you with a checklist on a monthly basis of what they have done for you.

Qualifications of a small business bookkeeper was made possible by the information generouslyprovided by Gerry Anderson, M.Sc., CMA from Logicon Solutions. Logicon Solutions is a leading boutique consulting firm and specializes in helping organizations with the “art and science of better”.






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