How to Know if You’re Hiring a Qualified Bookkeeper
How can I tell if I’m hiring a good bookkeeper? Small business owners and other accountants that hire bookkeepers to work in their firms ask us this question all the time.
When we interview bookkeepers, we pay special attention to these areas to make sure the person we’re hiring is qualified.
Certifications and Education
Ask about certifications and documentation. Most accounting software companies have certifications, and usually those invested in their profession will get certified.
A college education in accounting is also a key indicator the bookkeeper can appropriately perform accounting tasks. If they don’t have an accounting degree, 5-7 years of consistent experience will usually cover the gap.
Referrals from a Trusted Source
Ask other business owners for a reference. Your local chamber of commerce is a good source for this information. If you are hiring from an online platform like LinkedIn or Indeed, request references and follow up with those references.
Additionally, look at the candidate’s connections on LinkedIn and see if you can find a common connection. Reach out to their connections and ask about the person you are hiring.
Finally, Google their name. This is the easiest way to find out more about a bookkeeper from many sources.
Skills and Expertise
Your bookkeeper should be detail oriented and have good basic math skills. They should know accounting principles and be able to apply them to your finances. Have them take a simple accounting exam. This allows you to test their knowledge on basic accounting concepts.
Have they worked for a small business before? In what industries? Did they specialize in accounts payable, payroll or accounts receivable? Check out the work they have done for other companies—is it similar to the work you want done?
Do they understand the schedule needed to fulfill their tasks? Are they proactive in getting financial information and delivering it in a timely manner? Can they manage their time well?
Work ethic is hard to measure before a bookkeeper starts working for you, but you’ll see it in action quickly once they are hired. You can also ask your referral source or their references these questions.
The best advice we’ve heard: “Hire slowly and fire quickly.” It saves you money, time and frustration. Take your time going through the hiring process to find a bookkeeper—you will be rewarded for your hard work.
Still not sure about hiring a bookkeeper? Give us a call! We can help you with all your bookkeeping, controller and CFO needs.