8 Essential Factors to Check When Looking for Professional Bookkeeping Services
Bookkeeping is a vital yet often overlooked aspect of any business. If you lack in-house resources, you find reliable bookkeepers by searching “bookkeeping services near me.”
Of the results that pop up on the results page, not all service providers are created equal. Therefore, you’d have to do a bit of cherry-picking to find the ideal firm to deal with. In this article, learn about eight essential factors to consider when prospecting professional bookkeeping services.
Type of Bookkeeping Service Provider
The first thing to check is the type of business the bookkeeping service provider is. Some services work with an online-offline hybrid model. So, you can visit their offices and get the work done online or offline as per your preference.
Then, there are businesses limited to online presence. These professionals are referred to as “virtual bookkeepers.” They may even be located overseas. So if you’re in the US, you might be dealing with bookkeepers in India, the Philippines, Australia, or any other part of the world.
Before hiring any bookkeeper to work on your accounts, figure out what type of service provider you’d like to work with.
Experience in Handling Accounts
The next thing to consider is the bookkeeper’s experience in handling accounts. They must have substantial experience in this field.
Ask them how long they’ve been in the business. A longer duration often correlates with better knowledge and capability to deal with any accounting system.
Also, inquire about expertise since there are multiple fields within bookkeeping like invoicing, recording transactions and expenses, account receivables and cash flow, preparing financial reports, etc.
To verify their experience and expertise, they should have some accreditations or certifications to showcase. So, check for them accordingly.
Before working with a service provider, you may want to know their exact work process. Ask them about steps they will take to manage your accounts before they get started, and this would make communication far easier down the road.
Most bookkeepers offer an initial consultation. This is where they demonstrate what and how they’ll be handling the work. And this is your opportunity to learn the process.
Data Security Systems in Place
In this digital age, you cannot afford not to consider data security. If there’s a data security breach within your company, you’re likely to attract fines. There are penalty systems even for YouTubers and individuals. So don’t get thinking it’s only for large corporations.
Ensure that the servers and software they’re using are genuine, well-guarded, and secure. They should be GDPR compliant as well.
If they are handling paper records, too, you may want to know the measures they’re taking to ensure physical security and prevent theft.
Collaboration and service availability at any time of the day is essential for partnering with an online bookkeeper. So before working you’ll want to know the working hours of the bookkeepers.
These service providers manage multiple clients. And they may not offer assistance to every client 24X7. Especially the ones located overseas, they may even have an odd working hour. So get clarity over these things.
The location might not be an important factor for every business that wants to outsource its bookkeeping workload. But some will have to consider this.
For example, if you have a complex workflow, work with multiple vendors, manage foreign employees, and ship worldwide, you may want to discuss these things with the bookkeeping service provider. You’d want a service provider close in such cases — preferably within the same city that you’re in.
When requesting quotations and proposals, you may want to ask if they have a local office if that’s your requirement.
A professional bookkeeping service provider will charge you for the services rendered. As a business owner, you should have clarity over what you will pay eventually for the services.
Some bookkeepers may charge an hourly rate. So you’d have to pay for the hours they work on your books. Others may charge a flat monthly fee for the same work.
It would help if you didn’t necessarily opt for the cheapest option, but it’s better to pick a cost-effective solution.
Policy Violation and Termination
When you start working with a bookkeeper, you’re likely to enter into a contract. Among other things, you should know your obligation as a business owner and how you’re being held accountable. The same goes for the bookkeeper. This will help you decide when there’s a violation and what you can do to terminate the contract.
To find bookkeepers near you, open Google and search “bookkeeping services near me.” Adept bookkeepers can help you save thousands of dollars and human resources.