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i need a bookkeeper

6 Things to Check When Hiring a Bookkeeper

Many owners of a small business have reluctance to hire a bookkeeper. Some of the reasons include:

  1. We can’t afford one

  2. I don’t want any employees

  3. I don’t trust anyone else with my money

  4. I enjoy managing the money myself

While these can be valid points for a business just starting out, at some point it makes sense to either hire a bookkeeper or outsource this function so that the owner can focus on more profitable activities, or tasks they know more about, and leave bookkeeping to an expert.

But...how do you know what to look for in a bookkeeper to give you that peace of mind?

Below are the key areas to ask candidates when considering them for your business.

What to Look for in Delegating Your Bookkeeping Services?

Background Check

Will your bookkeeper allow you to do a background check on them? If not, I’d recommend walking away from them, if not running away from them. A background check would reveal many things, like prior arrests for embezzlement that would warn you not to use them.

References

Do they have current or prior clients that have (or will) provided  references on their bookkeeping services? This is one of the best checks for you. A bookkeeper can have all the credentials in the world, but if they don't take care of their clients what good are they to you? Ideally, you would have at least one reference from a business that is similar to yours. But, this isn’t necessary as most bookkeeping tasks are similar across different industries.

Credentials

What credentials does this bookkeeper have?  Do they have a degree in accounting? Are they certified in the programs you use, like Quickbooks? Are they certified in bookkeeping?  Are these posted on their website? You want some evidence that this person has the ability to perform your bookkeeping tasks. Ideally, your bookkeeper has all of these credentials posted on their website for your review. They are typically found on the home or about pages down at the bottom.

Experience

Do they have experience in your industry? If not, it may not be a deal breaker. A lot of the tasks for bookkeeping are similar across business types. But if you have a choice between two people and one has done bookkeeping for the exact industry you’re in, choose that person (all else being equal).

Engagement Letter

Will they prepare an engagement letter that clearly states what services they will perform, what is needed from you as the client, fees…? Knowing and agreeing to everything up front prevents misunderstandings down the road. This letter also shows you how flexible the bookkeeper is. Will they perform extra services later on, will they meet over Skype, will they explain the financials, or just hand them over to you.

Open Conversation

Are they willing to discuss your needs in person or over the phone? If so, do they sound like they value you and understand your needs?  Do they sound professional? Can they answer your bookkeeping-specific questions, so you can test their knowledge? Do you get along with them? Is this a relationship that will work for you?

SUMMARY

Hiring or outsourcing your bookkeeping can be one of the best things to do for your business and yourself. Take the time up front to make sure you on board the right person. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, effort and grief down the road, if you do.

If you’d like to talk to me about working together, I do have room for one more client. Please click the button below to find out more.



Need Help With Your Bookkeeping?

  • Are you working long hours performing tasks for your business you don't enjoy or don't have the time or experience to handle them correctly?
  • Do you not have the money or desire to hire a full-time bookkeeper?
  • Are you tired of the complexity of the finances for your business and want a professional to explain it to you?
  • Are you behind with your books and fearful of upcoming tax deadlines?

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you owe it to yourself to add a qualified professional bookkeeper to your team. Select the button below to start a conversation with no obligations.


Get Customers to Pay On Time

11 Ways to Get Customers to Pay Their Bills On Time

Cash is the life blood of any small business.

So one of the keys to a successful business is proper cash management, by delaying payment as long as possible and collecting payments as soon as possible.

It’s usually easier for an owner to delay payments then to collect, so in this post we’ll discuss the latter.

When you sell your products and services you can collect payments two ways; upfront or bill your customers and collect later. It’s to your benefit to collect upfront and to the customer’s benefit to pay later. So, how do you decide which to do?

PREVENTING THE WORST CASE SCENARIO

Obviously, the worst case is you never get paid and you’ve already given the customer their product or fully performed the service for them. Other cases are the customer pays months later, partially pays, pays after you sue them, or pays and then posts all over social media about how awful you are.

Listed below are many of the time-tested techniques for getting paid and getting paid quickly. Whichever methods you employ, write them down so you have a standard collection process that you can easily send a customer or include on your invoices or statements.

11 Ways to Improve Collections

Bill month to month (great for recurring services)

If your customer has a monthly service, or you send them a product on a routine basis, set them up with recurring payments. Most credit card providers allow you to set up recurring payments for the same amount and same time of the month, so that you don’t have to bill the customer and collect; it’s done for you.

Require a Deposit

Require your customer pay a portion of their total bill up front. This way even if they decide not to pay the remaining portion, you are not out the whole amount.

COD - Pay Full Amount Up Front

Even better than a deposit, have the customer pay the whole amount up front. You won’t be able to recognize the revenue until you’ve provided the service or product, but you’ve eliminated the collection process.

Customer Pays Your Costs Up Front

A variation of the deposit is to have the customer pay your cost of the product or service up front. You won’t make any money if they refuse to pay the remainder, but you haven’t lost anything either.

Establish a Cancellation or Refund Policy

Develop your own, or copy someone else’s policy and paste it on your invoices, statements, contracts...

Create Payment Terms

If you don’t have payment terms, customers will assume just about anything. I wouldn’t go any longer than 30 days. Give them a small discount (like 1% or 2%) if they pay within 10 days. Indicate the invoice due date and payment term right on the invoice and statements. Communicate this to your customers before they purchase. 

Write a Collection Process

Start with what happens if they were given 30 days to pay and now it’s 45 days since the invoice date. What happens? Do you call them, cut off their credit, send a letter, call your lawyer…? Have a process for 45 days, 60 days, 90 days...up to 180 days. Write it down so you don’t forget it. Regularly review your customer accounts and age them into these same buckets to make your process easier. After the balance is over 180 days old, consider either sending the amount to a collection agency or writing it off to bad debt expense.

Charge Interest or Late Fees

Charging your customer if they pay late, either with a late fee or interest can be a good way to entice them to pay on time.  It is also a good negotiating tactic, as you can choose to waive these if they pay.

Making Paying Easy

Most people, and many businesses, pay their bills online now. Giving your customers the option to do this can make it easier to pay the invoice, and therefore they will be more apt to pay you.  Quickbooks has the ability to add a “pay” button on the invoice that you can email your customers allowing them to pay the invoice right from the invoice itself.

Show You Care

Show you care by listening and solving issues - Many times a customer is not paying you because they have an issue with the product or service. Call them and discuss any issues they have. By showing you care to resolve their issues, you may help with them being willing to pay (or partially pay) knowing you will make it right.

Credit Checks/References

Do some due diligence up front on your customers by doing a credit check or a credit reference. This is great if your customers want terms and their purchases are large. Knowing they have paid well in the past, suggest that they will pay well in the future.


SUMMARY

A business needs cash to survive. It doesn't do any good to generate a sale only to have it go unpaid.

The tips above are proven strategies that assist a business in getting paid on time for their products and services.



Need Help With Your Bookkeeping?

  • Are you working long hours performing tasks for your business you don't enjoy or don't have the time or experience to handle them correctly?
  • Do you not have the money or desire to hire a full-time bookkeeper?
  • Are you tired of the complexity of the finances for your business and want a professional to explain it to you?
  • Are you behind with your books and fearful of upcoming tax deadlines?

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you owe it to yourself to add a qualified professional bookkeeper to your team. Select the button below to start a conversation with no obligations.