When looking to engage a bookkeeper, you should have an understanding of the key deliverables you are looking for. Be clear on the functions you are looking to outsource, and ensure those functions are within the skill set of the bookkeeper you are considering engaging. This is imperative to get the most from your outsourcing experience.
Different bookkeepers have different skill sets, often reflecting their background or particular areas of interest. Some also develop areas of specialisation. In general, however, bookkeepers normally have the following skills/knowledge:
Other than the above general traits, some bookkeepers may have particular specialties including:
Typical bookkeeper responsibilities include, but are not limited to:-
Obviously, if there are any other duties that you would require your bookkeeper to do, always ask. If they feel that they do not have the necessary skill set, then they may be able to recommend someone to assist you.
The Australian Bookkeepers Network has put together a list of reasons why outsourcing your Bookkeeping is a great idea! I have therefore copied it below for your information.
Thus, when deciding whether or not to outsource your bookkeeping, start by asking yourself these three questions:
Again taken from the Australian Bookkeepers Network's website is a list of Myths associated with outsourcing your Bookkeeping, and the explanation why they are in fact myths.
MYTH #1 I don’t need to outsource because I can do it myself
Outsourcing has nothing to do with your ability to perform the function yourself. You outsource because you have made a conscious decision as to which functions are of the highest value to you and the best use of your time.
MYTH #2 It’s cheaper if I do it myself
Rarely is this the case. Consider the raw costs involved in performing a task in house compared with outsourcing. If you accept that an expert is more efficient than you (or your in-house option), then consider the cost of the extra time you spend performing the function. For example, if the expert is 50% faster than you and you spend $50 for one hour’s worth of the outsourced function, then divide $50 by 150 (1 plus 50%) and you have valued your time at $37.50 to do the same task. But perhaps the greatest fallacy is considering only the raw cost of the function. What is the opportunity cost resulting from you devoting your time to a function that you could outsource? Invariably, outsourcing the task to a professional and devoting the time you save to sales and marketing, customer and supplier relations, or strategic planning will yield a better return on your time.
MYTH #3 It’s faster if I do it myself
Unless you are a skilled operator of software and have a detailed working knowledge of tax and GST laws, then rarely will it be cheaper to do your bookkeeping yourself.
MYTH #4 The job is only done right if I do it myself
As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes we don’t know everything. And unfortunately, it is also the case that we don’t know what we don’t know! We might think we are doing a sterling job but if we do not understand the tax and GST laws or the intricacies of software, we might be making inadvertent mistakes or even dealing with our bookkeeping at a sub-optimal level.
MYTH #5 It’s too hard to find someone to outsource the job to
Finding a good bookkeeper doesn’t have to be difficult—as long as you’re looking in the right places. Here are some good places to start: