Choosing a bookkeeper

You can't judge a bookkeeper by his/her cover
You've taken that first step: You've decided to start a company. Now you just need to find someone you trust to keep those books. The task can be daunting — after all, this is supposed to be your livelihood — but if you know what you need in a bookkeeper and how to find it, you can conquer your fears and focus on growing your business.
  • What is bookkeeping?

  • A bookkeeper is a paraprofessional who manages your business's accounts. While many accountants can and do handle the day-to-day affairs of a business, the bookkeeper really is the most hands-on and the one who oversees those daily tasks.

    Bookkeeping providers usually offer accounts receivable and accounts payable, check writing, purchasing, billing and bank interactions, among other services. Depending on your bookkeeper's experience and what you might be looking for, a bookkeeper may also offer financial advising.

    If you find bookkeepers who advertise themselves as financial advisors, be sure to confirm that they have the proper credentials of a financial advisor before taking advice from them.

  • How to find a bookkeeper

  • It's best to find one that specializes in your industry. Start your search by checking these profiles of local bookkeepers.

  • Doing it yourself vs. hiring a professional

  • You may ask yourself this age-old question, especially when you're starting your own business: Why hire someone when I can just do it myself?

    First, consider whether you really want to do this yourself. Bookkeeping is very detail-oriented, specific and precise — if you mess up your books, you can seriously mess up your business.

    Many small business groups recommend you hire a professional to at least get you started and create a system that, down the line, you can implement yourself.

    If you have an interest in bookkeeping, there are many professional programs that offer courses. Bookkeeping is a lucrative industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 39,000 new job opportunities for bookkeepers by 2010.

    So if your initial business doesn't work out — you know, the one for which you were going to hire the bookkeeper in the first place — you know where you can look next.

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