What does a bookkeeper do? They can have many duties within the business, depending on the size. The job may include recording sales and purchase invoice, updating accounting records, paying suppliers, credit control and preparing accounts.
If you have a large organisation, you may have several people to oversee different parts of bookkeeping.
A bookkeeper needs to ensure that their work is accurate and put procedures in place to run the accounting system.
Why Hire a Bookkeeper?
There may be many reasons why you want to hire a bookkeeper. In my experience, most small businesses want to concentrate on what they do best, and that is the work. Others do not have enough time, and some are great at their trade but struggle with figures.
They will take the stress away from having to enter paperwork, chase clients and prepare for year-end. If you get the right person, they might put procedures to make the system more streamlined.
What is a Bookkeeper – Duties and Responsibilities
Depending on how much you want to be involved in the accounts will depend on which duties you pass on to get completed. Duties can include raising sales invoices, chasing customers for payment, entering purchase invoices, paying suppliers, VAT returns, payroll, preparing management reports and year-end figures.
What does a Bookkeeper do for my Business?
Duties may include the following:
Data entry – Recording the financial transactions, including sales invoices, bank transaction and purchase invoices.
Bank Reconciliation – Ensure all the bank transactions are posted and allocated correctly. Check that the balance in the bank equals the balance in the accounts.
Monthly Reports – Business owners and accountants will require monthly reports to see the position of the business. These reports might be the profit and loss, balance sheet, debtors and creditors. There will be other reports required.
Accounts Receivable – Ensuring that clients pay business on time is an important role. Without keeping the cash flow under control, the company may get into financial difficulties.
Accounts Payable – Paying suppliers on time and reconciling their statements is an important part. Some businesses would have financial problems if suppliers cancelled their credit agreements.
Payroll – Some bookkeepers offer a payroll service in-house. The other options are using a payroll service or using the service on some good accounting packages, including XERO, QuickBooks and Sage.
Do I still need an Accountant?
An accountant can give you expertise in finalising year-end accounts that need to be submitted and ensuring that the reports are produced correctly. The most important reason for using an accountant is for Tax purposes; they usually have expert advice that you can take on board and maybe even save you some money.
Why Hire a Bookkeeper
If you are looking to recruit someone to complete your books, there are several places you can look:
Internet: Complete a search on the internet looking for a local bookkeeper. If you are already using accounting software, check the provider’s website for a directory. Check on business directories; there are many listed.
A recruitment agency: If you require a permanent staff member or someone to cover for the short-term, recruitment agencies can be an excellent place to start. They will have already interviewed candidates and will send suitable ones for your review.
Advert: Post an advert in local papers, jobcentre and even social media.
Accountant: Accountants often do not want to deal with general bookkeeping but may outsource the work and recommend someone suitable.
Speak to local businesses: Find out if other companies use a bookkeeper and if they recommend them.
Bookkeeper Interview Questions
There are several questions worth asking when trying to recruit the right person, including:
Certification: What qualifications do they have? If they are a member of an accounting body are they a member in practice? Accounting bodies can include the association of Accounting Technicians and Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.
Experience: Some can have many years of experience but not have a certification; this is OK as long as their knowledge is acceptable. Have they had experience in your line of work?
Insurance: All should have insurance in place; ask to see a copy if you need to.
Anti-money laundering: All bookkeepers and accountants need to register for Anti-money laundering; if they are a member in practice, they are covered; if not, they may be directly from HMRC.
Pricing: Cheap may not be the best, try and get a fixed rate agreed or an idea of the number of hours will require to complete the work. Some will offer a monthly fee, so the cost is spread over a year.
Software: There are many different accounting software packages available, and choosing the right one can assist with preparing the accounts. Are they certified with any software, and what do they recommend? If you already have software in place ask what experience they have.
What does a Bookkeeper Do? Virtual Bookkeeping
Virtual Bookkeeping or office visit? It will depend on how the company deals with its paperwork and if you feel they can complete it away from the office. It may be that you never see your bookkeeper and send them all the paperwork in the post, or they collect it from the business regularly. Some only work from home so they can complete their work around other customers and family commitments.
What Does a Bookkeeper Do? – Conclusion
Although some small businesses do not see the need to hire bookkeepers, it is a fact that every business owner needs one. Many small business owners say that they would prefer to pay an accountant to handle their financial matters, but they find it cost too much.
It is because an accountant will charge a fixed monthly fee, and bookkeepers do not come cheap. On the other hand, business owners can pay an accountant hundreds or even thousands of pounds to handle their bookkeeping and finance-related tasks.
Many business owners also use bookkeeper’s services if they become too busy to handle their accounting work or decide to sell their company. Bookkeepers can indeed be highly specialised professionals who can only carry out specific tasks, but the vast majority of bookkeepers can perform all the basic accounting tasks.
To read more about what does a bookkeeper do, read our bookkeeping basics section.
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