Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How Good Is Your Bookkeeper?

Everyone with a business wants their accounts kept accurately don't they?
Then why is it that many businesses persist in continuing to work with bookkeepers who consistently make mistakes and keep a messy set of books?
Not sure if your bookkeeper falls into this category? The easiest way to make a quick assessment is to compare your accountants Financial Statements; both the Profit and Loss and the Balance sheet in that nicely bound book you get each year, to the same reports produced from MYOB.
If the account names are all over the place compared to the accountants and the amounts are haphazardly different then you know you have a problem.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking your accountant would let you know if there was a problem with your bookkeeper. Here are two recent quotes from accountants with whom I know quite well, but don't complete much work for due to their location (and potentially the threat to their fees!)
"We see the bookkeeper as a threat, if we let the client know they are dealing with a dud, chances are they may fgo out and find a good one who could steal the client from us down the track or push us to reduce our fees by keeping the accounts in order, lodging BAS's and being the first port of call for the client. It suits us when we receive a jumbled mess at the end of the year."
- 2 Partner Firm in outer Sydney.
"It isn't our problem what the client does during the year to keep their accounting sorted. We don't get involved in that, we only take what we're given at the end of the year and work with it. Fees are levied according to the work required, which are higher if there is more work to complete"
- Well known franchisee of an Accounting Business
Still not sure? Rely on your gut. If you ask for things and you don't get them, answers to questions seem a bit uninformed or you struggle to get the work done on time and within a fair budget, then the chances are your bookkeeper could do with being replaced.
Often the business owner knows their bookkeeper is not really with it, but don't really know what to do about it. It seems like such an effort to make the change to a more reliable and knowledgeable bookkeeper, and how is a business owner to know that the next bookkeeper chosen is not as bad as the last?
When you look to engage a new bookkeeper, have them look over the past work while you sit with them.. a good bookkeeper will navigate the software smoothly and will point out and explain any problems within the data entry or software and should give you peace of mind you are dealing with an expert. If you don't feel this, then keep looking.