Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Bookkeeper

Feb 26, 2024

Thinking of hiring a reliable financial expert to “do the books” for you? Then this article, “Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Bookkeeper,” is a must-read.

The Angel Bookkeeping team has put our heads together and come up with the key queries we think you need answers to. Also, not to put too fine a point on it; not all bookkeepers are the same. Some deliver exacting standards and do so consistently. Others, not so much. With several years of experience in accounting and payroll, we’ve come to realise what excellence looks like. In other words, what sets outstanding apart from ordinary.

So, we’ve included these qualities, too.

 Plans for Growth? There’s No Time to Spare

Let’s start with the obvious:

Being self-employed and running your own business keeps you extremely busy. It may be exhausting, but at last, you’re your own boss.

Perhaps you have designs on an ambitious growth curve or plan to hire your first employees.

New or expanded services may be on your agenda.  As your company evolves, you will find that you have less and less time to focus on accounting and administration. Plus, it’s not really something you’re keen on anyway. Focusing on core skills, client management, and business development not only helps pay the bills, it’s also much more your thing.

From Problem to Solution

Partnering with an outsourced bookkeeper such as Angel Bookkeeping will instantly lift these burdens from you.

Equally, there’s substantial added value:

You can get strategic financial insights from a trusted expert. You’ll understand all your obligations to HMRC, settle your tax bill on time and remain one hundred per cent compliant. And, it’s more flexible and affordable than taking on a specialised employee to do the job. Never underestimate how secure knowing all your records are up to date and in order will make you feel. It literally is one less thing to worry about.

But, there’s more than one bookkeeper out there.

The challenge is identifying which bookkeeping business you can trust with your finances before signing the dotted line.

Make sure, then, that you get all the answers you need by asking the following questions:

Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Bookkeeper

1.What range of services do you provide?

Sounds self-evident? Well, yes, but some bookkeepers offer a limited range of services, while others work like a complete accounts department. For the record, Angel Bookkeeping offers bookkeeping (obviously) and VAT services, and we can prepare your accounts to submit to HMRC within their required deadline. Also, we process self-assessment tax returns.

Did you know that we can also manage your payroll? Paying your employees accurately and on time is vital. We’re here to look after the whole process on your behalf.

In any case, consider the kind of assistance you want now and in the future. At its most basic level, you will require a bookkeeper to:

  • Reconcile your bank accounts
  • Process your accounts receivable and payable, and,
  • Navigate your financial software.
2. What is your level of expertise and experience?

With several years’ involvement in accounting and bookkeeping, we are fully qualified and have in-depth experience. Generally, you will get what you pay for, and perceived value should be one of the main factors in your decision-making.

Although Angel Bookkeeping are generalists – we support hairdressers, trades, beauty salons, garages, businesses in the SME sector, and more – the team also has broad knowledge in construction. If you’re a builder, rest assured that we can help you with your tax affairs relating to the Construction Industry Scheme.

3. How do you communicate with your clients?

Yes, trusting a bookkeeper is a leap of faith, in our opinion, so one of the most important aspects of the business relationship will be communication.

Do make sure to ask how committed they are to honest and open interaction. Why? Because you never want to feel that you are being left out of the loop or that you don’t really know what’s going on.

And which do you prefer, phone calls or emails? A professional bookkeeper will follow your lead on this. Just out of interest, we offer monthly update calls to advise you on how to save money and grow your business.

 4. What systems do you use, and how secure are they?

Cloud accounting offers numerous benefits, and we’d be happy to talk you through how it works and offer you guidance on setting it up. A bookkeeping business with technical know-how is essential. Angel Bookkeeping works with Sage and QuickBooks.

Simply, the Cloud keeps your “business books” online and includes records of income, expenses, assets and liabilities. The data you exchange with your bookkeeper will be in real-time. You’ll always know your financial position, and the figures will be precise and up-to-date.

Regarding security, ensure that the partner you choose takes this issue seriously. Find out what measures they will bring to ensure digital and personal privacy. (And, you may wish to ask what would happen if security were to be breached for any reason.)

5.  How do you charge for your services?

Some bookkeepers may charge hourly. Others monthly. Which is best for you? Whichever option you prefer, always focus on the quality of the services on offer, and the benefits being delivered. In addition, do ask if there are any hidden costs or punitive fees involved, as this is NOT what you need.

Essentially, there’s an opportunity cost in front of you: a bookkeeper’s fees versus the hours spent by your staff on tasks they may not be completely comfortable with.

Often, modesty aside, bookkeepers are worth their weight in gold!

Qualities to Look for In a Bookkeeper

All of the following are of equal value and importance:

  • Knowledgeable. Excellent bookkeepers know their stuff: not only in their everyday working practices, but also how they apply to your specific industry sector. An experienced outsourced partner goes the extra mile and will offer valuable advice on industry trends and even how your competitors may be doing.
  • Organised. Well, of course. A true expert has a well-oiled system. They know deadlines and the figures they need. They can interpret data, prepare reports and store files. Understanding how to work in the “Cloud” takes things to the next level, saving time and money and empowering you to greater profitability.
  • Obsessed with details. OK, maybe not obsessed, but very keen on them, nevertheless. There will be no misplaced full stops or wrong numbers, ever, ever. Importantly, you can make significant decisions based on the financial information they provide.
  • Client-focused. Here, it really IS all about YOU. Or, it should be. Your ideal bookkeeper should offer a positive perspective on customer service and client relationships. Knowing the numbers isn’t enough; not really. Going above and beyond, being available, prompt responses, and proactive (rather than reactive) communication can help you develop and grow a solid business financial strategy.

So, does Angel Bookkeeping have all of these qualities?

It sounds like a cliché, but yes, we believe we do. At least, that’s what our clients tell us. Positive feedback like this delights us, and makes us realise how fortunate we are. Every single day.

We’d love to work with you, too. Five questions to ask before hiring a bookkeeper? Perhaps there are more. Anything else you would like to know? Contact us for more information.



Get In Touch

I can help with bookkeeping for start-up businesses If you’re in Worthing and surrounding areas and need help with your startup business, contact Angel Bookkeeping today on 07867 129210