Finding a good bookkeeper and accountant is a step that every new business owner will have to take. Since you landed on this blog, our guess is that you’re ready to take this step now or in the near future! We know how stressful it can be to find a qualified and experienced bookkeeper and accountant for your small business. That’s why we’ve created this video to help you know which questions to ask to find a good bookkeeper and accountant.
We’ve got a summarized list of the 5 most important questions to ask to find the right bookkeeper and accountant for your business. But before we get into these pro tips, it’s important that you first understand the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant.
What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?
In general, a bookkeeper’s job is to keep a record of daily business transactions, create invoices, and take care of payroll. While an accountant can do a lot of bookkeeping duties, their job is at a higher level. Accountants use the information obtained from bookkeepers to analyze a business’s overall financial state and cash flow.
There are 3 levels of bookkeepers:
- Someone who is self-trained with no educational background
- Someone who is self-trained and has achieved a certificate in the field
- Someone who works in a professional practice and has achieved a diploma in the field
And there are 2 areas of accounting knowledge and training:
- Someone who has achieved an Accounting Designation (CPA). This person most likely has experience with audits, taxes, or management and has had little experience with bookkeeping during their training.
- Someone who has a degree in accounting from a University and has worked in a professional accounting practice.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to those burning questions!
5 questions to ask before you hire a bookkeeper or an accountant
1. What is their rate and is it accurate?
You can judge a bookkeeper’s rate by assessing their educational background, how they received their training, and how much hands on experience they have. The rate for bookkeepers and accountants in Canada differs based on your province or territory. We recommend that you go with a package rate per month for a bookkeeper, and choose your accountant based on the going rate and whether or not they specialize in your business area (more on that later!).
2. Do they keep up with their personal development?
Its important to know whether your bookkeeper and accountant keep up with the industry changes. Are they using the newest software to do your books, or are they using a black ledger book? Accountants are required to upgrade their professional development training each year, and most will be happy to show you proof that they have done so.
3. What does their availability and turnaround time look like?
If you work from home, having a bookkeeper and accountant who are available virtually is a big bonus! And of course, you want to hire someone who has a reasonable turnaround time.
4. What specific tasks can they complete for you?
Is the person you’re hiring able to file your taxes, do your payroll and your ROE? Try and find someone who can tick all of your boxes.
5. Do they specialize in your industry?
If you’re about to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant, ask them what type of clients they specialize in working with. For example, do they work for a lot of clients who work from home and own small businesses? Or d
o they work for a lot of doctors and nonprofits? If their answer is “all types of clients”, keep looking! You want to hire someone who specializes in your field so you can turn to them for advice and trust that they know what they’re talking about.
Finding the right bookkeeper and accountant for your small business
The most important thing to consider when hiring your bookkeeper and accountant is whether or not they are the right fit for you and your small business. The financial side of your business is a big one, so you want to feel confident that your financial team knows what they’re doing. You might need to do your research and shop around before you find the right person.
This is a lot to think about, we know! CorePro8 can guide you through the steps to finding a good bookkeeper and accountant. We are here to make sure you feel confident and secure in making these types of business decisions. Find out more about how CorePro8 can walk you step-by-step through these decisions and registering and/or incorporating.