Accurate bookkeeping is one of the most essential tasks you perform when it comes to operating your small business. If your business grows large enough, you’ll no doubt want to hire an on-staff bookkeeper to handle the workload.
But even if your business doesn’t reach the point where it requires full-time bookkeeping, you may want to contract for outside bookkeeping services to help you manage this all-important task. Here’s where to find the best bookkeeper for your small business.
One option you have for bookkeeping services is a firm. Bookkeeping firms usually carry anywhere from a few bookkeepers to several dozens. Because they’re typically fully insured and offer guarantees, and because they maintain physical offices, the cost of a bookkeeping firm can be on the steeper side. On the other hand, a bookkeeping firm is always able to assist you, even when your dedicated bookkeeper is on vacation or otherwise occupied, as during the hectic business year-end.
Consider researching and contacting bookkeeping firms in your local area. While much of the work can be performed remotely using bookkeeping software, you may find it desirable to be able to see your bookkeeper in person. A local firm affords you this opportunity. Note: make sure that the software your bookkeeping firm uses is compatible with your own, or that you are willing to acquire and learn software that is compatible.
Bookkeeping firms are often part of a larger accounting company, so you may be able to contract with the same firm for tax preparation and other financial matters as well.
Independent bookkeepers are freelancers with bookkeeping expertise who assist you in maintaining your books. You can often find them by word of mouth or through local advertising or internet directories.
Because they lack the overhead, independent bookkeepers are generally cheaper than hiring a bookkeeping firm and therefore may better fit your business budget. Know that there are few regulations around bookkeeping, though, so make sure you hire a reputable person, especially since, as the business owner, you are fully responsible for the accuracy of your books.
You will also want to hire an independent bookkeeper with experience in your type of business. Bookkeeping processes can vary widely, especially when it comes to businesses that make a lot of cash transactions. A bookkeeper with specific knowledge in your business area can be invaluable.
Online bookkeepers use interactive, cloud-based software to keep your books. These bookkeepers may be located anywhere in the world, but that shouldn’t scare you. Many online bookkeepers have developed a solid reputation for accuracy and professionalism. Importantly, the use of automation, along with less office overhead, makes online bookkeeping very affordable for small businesses.
Just because your bookkeeper is online doesn’t mean you don’t know them. You’re typically assigned one person with whom you develop a business relationship. But unlike an independent bookkeeper, there’s always somebody else to step in and assist you in cases where your normal bookkeeper is unavailable.
And like many bookkeeping firms, online bookkeepers are typically part of a larger accounting company that also offers tax preparation and advice. Even if you already have a tax accountant you trust, though, an online bookkeeper will routinely work with your accountant to provide the information they need. For many small businesses, an online bookkeeper can offer you the best of both worlds.