How does a Founder find a BOOYAH bookkeeper – one who not only manages the books but also helps you navigate them?
If you're grappling with getting started, rest assured you're not alone. Many Founders don't know what to look for in a bookkeeper or the right questions to ask when meeting with them. Not all bookkeepers are created equal, and not everyone can meet your unique business and technology needs. This is why the interview questions below can be helpful as you commence your search.
But before delving into the interview process, here's a quick tip: I call it The Rule of Three. Anytime you're hiring, including for bookkeepers or accountants always interview three candidates, and ask all three the same questions. This way, after careful review, comparison, and consideration, you'll be able to make an informed decision on the winning candidate.
Here are ten interview questions to consider when enlisting your new bookkeeper.
WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS?
Inquire about their qualifications, a Certified Professional Bookkeeper designation [CPB] is ideal.
Inquire if they are registered to file sales tax in your country.
WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF YOUR BOOKKEEPING SERVICES?
Understand the range of services they offer, considering your business needs.
Clarify responsibilities for tasks like bank reconciliation, invoicing, income reconciliation, bill processing, financial report preparation, etc.
WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU USE?
Assess their proficiency with bookkeeping software, documentation apps, and other tools used for automation and streamlining.
Ensure they're familiar with the e-commerce platforms your business uses.
WHAT DOES YOUR PROCESS ENTAIL?
Explore their established financial protocols to ensure accurate transaction processing.
Don’t shy away from asking to chat with two or three of their clients to better understand their strengths, weaknesses and core deliverables.
HOW FAMILIAR ARE YOU WITH MY INDUSTRY?
Gauge their industry knowledge to avoid a steep learning curve.
Seek examples of common bookkeeping issues related to your industry and how they might resolve them.
HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CLIENTS?
Evaluate their communication style and frequency.
Determine their preferred mode of communication – whether monthly calls, weekly Zoom meetings, or email correspondence.
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL RESPONSE TIME?
Address concerns about responsiveness and adherence to scheduled deliverables.
Establish expectations for weekly/monthly updates and response times for queries.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT MY CONFIDENTIAL DATA?
Ensure a secure handling of sensitive company and financial information.
Inquire about their measures for client account protection, internal controls, and segregation of duties.
HOW DO YOU PRICE YOUR SERVICES?
Clarify the pricing structure – fixed monthly fee or hourly rates.
If it's a fixed rate, seek clarity on inclusions and exclusions.
WHAT'S YOUR SECRET SAUCE?
Uncover their unique selling proposition [USP].
Understand what sets them apart without necessarily being 'better' than others.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS...
Your bookkeeper is your financial gatekeeper, it's a crucial symbiotic partnership. Take the time to find the perfect fit, ensuring mutual understanding and trust between you and the chosen candidate.