7 Strategies to Find a Top-Notch Bookkeeper

Author: GuYDanS Bookkeeping | | Categories: Bookkeepers , Bookkeeping , Bookkeeping Professionals

Bookkeepers Edmonton

 

We always like to find professionals of any kind that are excellent at what they do, provide us with value, and are a good fit. The search for the right professional is doubly important when it comes to bookkeepers.

Not only are you trusting bookkeepers with your finances, but you also (unfortunately) can’t know for sure what you’re going to get simply because someone calls themselves a bookkeeper. 

If you go to a physician, you know they have a medical degree. If you go to a hair salon, the stylist should have a cosmetology license.

But a bookkeeper?

The term “bookkeeper” is unregulated. Yes, there are some helpful definitions describing what a bookkeeper should generally be able to do. But in reality, some “bookkeepers” operate as administrative assistants, some may only do data entry, and some do everything the average accountant does.

So if someone calls themselves a bookkeeper, all you know is … they have made the decision to call themselves a bookkeeper.

How then do you begin the search for a bookkeeper who will best support you and your goals?

Here are 7 things to look for:

1. Search for bookkeepers in your area and check out their websites to see if they offer the services you need. 
Ask yourself...
  • Does the website have a professional look?
  • Does their website have any certification badges for software?
  • Do any of the blogs give useful information you can use in running your business?

 

2. Do they have the Certified Professional Bookkeeper (CPB) designation?

The Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada (IPBC) is a national certifying body for professional bookkeepers. The organization has, and continues to, elevate the standards and quality of bookkeepers so as to be worthy of being seen as trusted accounting professionals. Bookkeepers with the CPB designation have completed and passed the required exam. To maintain the designation, bookkeepers must devote at least 20 hours to continuing education each year. 

3. How much experience do they have?

As you now know, anyone can call themselves a bookkeeper. Because being a great and knowledgeable bookkeeper only comes by experience, you need to determine if your business financial transactions are simple enough for someone with 1-2 years experience, or whether you need someone who can handle your complex transactions.

4. Have they done books for businesses like yours before?

Looking at their website, ask yourself...

  • Are they targeting a specific group of business owners? Determine if you’re one of those target businesses.
  • Have they done books in your industry? A bookkeeper who has had experience in your industry, or from a wide variety of industries, would be more likely to be able to handle a more complex set of books.
5. Get a referral.

Referrals are the holy grail for both business owners and customers. Think about the last time you tried a new restaurant—you were likely given a recommendation to try it out.

The benefits of referrals outlast a good dinner when it comes to searching for a professional bookkeeper. 

Because bookkeepers handle companies’ finances, their clients need to be able to trust that their bookkeeper won't mess up their books or steal from them, and will give them reliable advice where applicable. The best way to feel confident about the competence and integrity of any prospective accounting professional is if someone you know is already using their services.

6. Check online reviews.

You can’t always get first-hand referrals for a bookkeeper. And even if you have been referred, your business may be substantially different from the business of the person who referred you. So, just like deciding on what restaurant to go to, it can be helpful to look for reviews not only on their website but also on unbiased platforms, such as Google. 

Read both negative and positive reviews. Remember that a negative review doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad bookkeeper. 

Look at how the bookkeeper responded to the negative review, if the forum permitted a response. If most reviews are positive, and the bookkeeper seems like they might be a good fit on all other counts but there’s a negative review that’s still concerning you, ask the bookkeeper about it. Share your concerns and determine whether their response puts you at ease.  

7. Don’t forget to use your initial phone call to see how you felt after hanging up.
Ask yourself...
  • Did you feel they know how to help you? 
  • Did they give you any practical advice or tips on your first phone call?
  • Did you feel comfortable speaking with them?

 

The bookkeeper in your sights doesn’t have to check all the proverbial boxes on the list above, but if the majority of the criteria are met, you’ve got a great start to finding a top-notch bookkeeper.



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