Small Business Financial Article

Finding the Right Bookkeeping Service for Your Business

Finding the Right Bookkeeping Service for Your Business

After spending most of their waking hours conceiving, planning, and preparing for the launch of their business, most new business owners never imagined themselves ever being tied down to a desk or a computer shuffling receipts, logging transactions, reconciling accounts, or tracking receivables. Even the least business-minded entrepreneur knows that a business requires financial management. Yet, very few business owners are prepared for the arduous and time-consuming task of keeping the lifeblood of the business flowing.

The stark reality is that most businesses cannot survive past the launch stage without a structural approach to cash flow management and planning. It’s certainly not the most glamorous part of running a business, but even from the beginning, it is essential for a business owner who envisions a successful and profitable future.

Why Your Business Requires Solid Bookkeeping

  • Your books tell you where you’ve been, where you are, and where you are heading. Young businesses rely on daily decisions that will have a significant impact on short-term cash flow. Without a current bookkeeping system, you are flying blind.
  • If you seriously think you will require any financing, capital investment, or basic business credit in the future, your bookkeeping and accounting need to be flawless from the beginning.
  • Don’t expect to win any government audit challenges with shoddy bookkeeping or poorly kept records. You are much less likely to maximize legitimate business deductions without airtight books and records.
  • You can expect your accounting expenses to double or triple if your bookkeeping is not in order. You do not want to pay accounting prices for bookkeeping tasks. Solid bookkeeping will reduce your business accounting cost significantly.

Selecting a Bookkeeping Service

The best source for identifying compatible bookkeeping services is through a referral from another business owner, especially one in similar circumstances. Ideally, the recommended providers have established relationships with many businesses in your area. Your vendors and suppliers can also be a source of recommendations. Trade associations are another source of provider recommendations, either from the association itself or through the network of members.

Questions for your Prospective Bookkeeper

  • How long have you provided your service?
  • How many clients do you have?
  • How big is your staff? (You are looking for the ratio of staff to clients)
  • What are the hiring qualifications?
  • How many businesses do you work with in my specialty?
  • Will you provide me with references?
  • Has your firm been recognized for your quality of service?
  • Tell me about your technology.
  • Do you have a dedicated IT staff?
  • How often do you update your technology?
  • What is your standard response time?
  • Will I be assigned a representative and a direct call line?
  • Do you provide on-site consulting in bookkeeping practices?
  • Do you provide budgeting planning or cash flow management advice?

It is essential to know as much as possible about your provider regarding their qualifications, capabilities, and compatibility with you and your business. Stopping and starting new relationships with bookkeeping services can be costly in terms of down time, so the more thorough you are in the selection process, the better chance of finding the right long-term partner for your business.

Qualifications and service quality are essential considerations. However, in the long term, it is compatibility that will determine the success of the relationship. You would look for the same in any employee you hire, and you should expect nothing less from your bookkeeping provider. In addition to conducting several in-person or phone interviews with the provider, it is essential to meet personally with other clients they serve.


Hiring a bookkeeping service does not have to be an expensive proposition. Most small businesses contract with bookkeeping and accounting services that are paid in proportion to the amount of work they complete for the business. Compared with doing the work yourself or even hiring an employee, the costs of a bookkeeping service are relatively minor. Whatever the cost, it would have to be a far better investment than the cost of your valuable time that will likely produce inferior results.

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