When maintaining your accounts records becomes too much as your business grows and you realise you need some help how do you find someone to help?
Maybe you will decide to use someone you know – the PA you use already, a friend or family member or someone you met at a networking event.
Maybe you will do a Google search for a bookkeeper. That will bring up a lot of choices, some local, some not.
So how do I know who to choose?
You may be a business owner who has been very hands on with the accounts and is only giving up through lack of time so you will know exactly what you need.
But you may be a business owner who just doesn’t want to do it at all. Accounts is not your thing and you know someone else will be able to do it better and give you time to do what you are best at. But you aren’t sure who to contact or what to ask because you don’t know what you need.
Someone you know already may seem the ideal choice because they know you but if they are not experienced bookkeepers they may not be what you need if you have a growing business. Only you will know how much support, efficiency and accuracy they can give.
A Google search will have identified a few options for you and at this point you will need to decide whether you want someone who is in your area or whether you are happy to work at a distance. Someone local is great if you would like to meet with them from time to time but remote working is so much easier now and if face to face meetings aren’t important for you then you can work with a bookkeeper anywhere in the country. The best thing you can do now is make contact with the two or three that appeal to you from their websites and see if they are someone you want to work with.
How do I know what to ask for?
If you haven’t had a bookkeeper before it can be daunting but I suggest writing down the concerns you have and why you think you need a bookkeeper now. It may be that you think you are reaching the VAT registration threshold, or you have no idea if you are making money because you don’t have any records. Whatever the reason you will be able to talk this through with each of the bookkeepers you contact and you will begin to get a feel for the one you want to work with.
The bookkeeper will give you an idea of what they can do for you and whether you are the type of business they can work with. You will find that some bookkeepers specialise in certain types of business.
What about the cost?
You may think a qualified bookkeeper will be more than your business can afford but you have to look at the value they can bring to your business and the time they release for you. A good bookkeeper will provide tidy accounts records to your accountant which will help to keep their cost down. If you choose to use someone with less experience that could mean additional charges if the accountant has to redo any part of the accounts.
An experienced bookkeeper will bring you far more value than just tidy accounts. Their experience with a variety of businesses means they have more knowledge to share and more experience of registering and de-registering businesses for VAT, dealing with HMRC, managing cash flow and setting up accounts software.
What can we do to help you?
I have been providing bookkeeping services to small businesses for over 17 years. I have a team of bookkeepers who each work with a business from start to finish but are able to draw on support from the rest of the team as needed. We work with VAT and non VAT registered businesses from start up through to £1-2m turnover at which point we encourage them to have an in-house bookkeeper as this is usally better for their business.
The businesses we work with often start off with a couple of hours bookkeeping support each month but as their business grows the volume increases and we can provide support up to 2 or 3 days a month. Each of the businesses we work with is charged an amount which reflects the work that is needed and if that work decreases then our charges reduce just as they will increase as the business grows.
With this in mind we will not be able to give you a cost for bookkeeping services without knowledge of what you need. So if you are in touch with us expect to be asked a few questions about your business before you receive an idea of cost. That helps us to get to know you, and you will be able to create your impression of us and the service we provide.
What do I do next?
Make a decision. You will most likely have spoken to more than one bookkeeper (unless you received a recommendation) and will be able to choose based on that contact. Cost is not necessarily your deciding factor because unless you work with two bookkeepers at the same time you will never know which is the best value. Everyone works differently and value is perceived differently. Know what you need and who you think will be best for your business long term.
If you think we can help your business please give us a call and talk to one of our bookkeeping team. You will find us friendly, approachable and efficient and not as costly as you might think.