Hiring a bookkeeper is quite the task. You need to make sure that you find someone who is a good fit and who will really take care of your books without any errors so that you can focus on running your business.
Although there are a lot of different questions you should ask when interviewing a potential bookkeeper we have found that these four, often overlooked questions, are crucial.
1)What software do you use?
There are several kinds of accounting programs that your bookkeeper can use. Quickbooks, Sage, Quickbooks Online, Freshbooks etc.
You need to know what program your bookkeeper is using so that you can ensure it will be compatible with your accountant. In the end you hire a bookkeeper so that you can save money on the cost of your accounting. There won’t be any savings if your accountant can’t access your bookkeeping file.
At Homeroom we use Quickbooks because it is the most reliable and common program used by accountants.
2) What happens if you quit?
You need to know that if your bookkeeper quits it won’t throw you into a stressful situation. Are they a one person operation or do they have staff? Do they have a person they can refer you to if they decide to change careers? Can you agree on a notice period? If they have staff can their staff seamlessly hand over your file to a different staff member?
We regularly receive calls from small business owners who are panicking because their bookkeeper has decided to change careers or retire and they need to find a replacement ASAP. It can often be quite the process to find a new person to take care of your file.
At Homeroom we have developed procedures so that if one of our staff leaves a new staff member can easily take over your file without you experiencing any issues.
3) Do you back up my file?
You need to make sure that your bookkeeper is backing up your file onto a cloud or external hard drive (preferably on a cloud). If they are saving it to a personal computer only then you run the risk of having your entire file deleted if something happens to the computer.
At Homeroom we have all of our files stored on a server that we regularly back up. That way we can ensure that no matter what happens to our office or our computers, your file will remain safe.
4) Are you a member of IPBC?
You don’t have to be accredited to become a bookkeeper. This means that anyone can buy the software and start entering bills.
However, if you want piece of mind when hiring someone to take care of your books, look for bookkeepers who have become “Certified Professional Bookkeepers” through the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada. To become certified you need to sit a test that ensures you have the required skills to be offering bookkeeping services.
In the end we recommend that you always go with a bookkeeper that has great testimonials and that was referred to you.