Bookkeeping is interesting, challenging and rewarding. A bookkeeper has responsibility for all accounting functions from sales invoicing through to management accounts and VAT returns and is therefore fully involved with the finance function of a business. This frequently includes providing support and advice, managing cash flow and processing payroll. Having a bookkeeper in your business is a valuable asset - but only if they are good at their job.
Much of our new work comes from businesses who are not happy with the bookkeeping service they currently have. The bookkeeping they receive is basic with little feedback on debtors, creditors or management reporting so the business owner has little idea, apart from looking at the bank account, how the business is doing. And we know the bank account doesn't tell the full story! Bookkeeping isn't just about entering transactions.
Bookkeepers are in a position of trust and therefore business owners often allow the bookkeeper full rein with no understanding of what is really going on with their customers, suppliers, bank accounts or VAT returns. Whilst it is great to be in that position of trust bookkeepers have to earn it and business owners need to maintain an understanding of what is happening with their business and not absolve themselves of responsibility. The business owner, whether sole trader or director of a limited company, is ultimately responsible for the accounts and the figures submitted to HMRC for VAT or tax and therefore should have a good understanding of their finances.
I believe it is really important that bookkeepers are qualified because without the knowledge that bookkeeping training and subsequent qualification provides it is difficult to solve accounting issues or develop appropriate recording methods. A bookkeeper who has the foundation knowledge from studying can more easily understand what the end result needs to be and how to record accounts transactions to achieve that end result accurately. And having, or studying towards, a bookkeeping qualification shows commitment to the role.
Of course there are good bookkeepers who are not qualified who have the ability, common sense, and attention to detail to carry out bookkeeping efficiently. And there are qualified bookkeepers who can pass exams but never have the full range of skills needed to succeed at bookkeeping.
In our practice we only have qualified bookkeepers doing bookkeeping work. They may be a trainee part way through a Level 3 qualification but they will have the support of the other bookkeepers in the team who are experienced and knowledgeable and who will train them to a high standard and ensure their work is accurate before it is finalised. Trainees are good because they have chosen to study bookkeeping and accounts and are keen to keep learning. Trainees in our practice quickly become Bookkeepers to their own group of clients managing the full bookkeeping function that each client needs with support from other bookkeepers on hand when they need it. And then they can become a Senior Bookkeeper taking on more complex bookkeeping work. The bookkeepers in our practice would not be able to manage the more complex work we do without the foundation knowledge they gained through the various levels of bookkeeping qualification they have achieved and the training and support they have received on their journey.
If you choose to use our qualified bookkeepers to maintain your accounts:
- You will be guaranteed that your bookkeeper will do what needs to be done accurately and efficiently
- Your VAT returns will be accurate and submitted before the deadline
- You will receive regular reports and information
- You will know that if your bookkeeper is no longer available another qualified bookkeeper will take on your accounts with no change of system or process and most importantly no concerns over missed deadlines
- You will have the confidence that your accountant will find your bookkeeping records a dream to work with
We are not accountants and will work with your bookkeeping and VAT throughout the year, leaving your accountant to work with you on tax planning, compliance and more involved advice as this is not our area of expertise or knowledge. Accountants may offer you bookkeeping services, but they may not be as comprehensive as ours as it is not their area of expertise. We work with accountants to provide business owners with the best service from two professionals who each have a place in keeping your finances on the right track.
I believe it is important for bookkeepers to be qualified to do a good job and add value to your business. Just as important as it is for an accountant, a doctor, dentist, solicitor, mechanic, electrician or plumber to be qualified. We wouldn't choose to go to a dentist who didn't know what they were doing - or at least I wouldn't!