9 Desirable Qualities in a Small Business Bookkeeper
As a small business owner you may be managing several aspects of your venture such as marketing, finance, production and more. However, as your business grows and work increases you may find it easier to hire someone to take care of the some of these functions. Whether you produce office stationary or provide business services, the following are desirable qualities that a small business bookkeeper should possess.
1. A bookkeeper should be knowledgeable – Make sure that you check a candidate's basic knowledge of accounting. Quiz her on essential accounting terms such as assets, liabilities, owners equity/capital, income, profit, expenses, losses, asset and liability accounts, etc.
2. The "attention to detail" quality – Being meticulous and conscientious are great qualities for effectively carrying out most jobs, but are all the more important for the accounting and bookkeeping professionals. By avoiding small errors in accounting, a conscientious bookkeeper will save you from big problems later on.
3. Ability to prepare financial statements in time – A good bookkeeper should be able to prepare monthly financial statements latest by the 10th of each month. The monthly financial statements are the balance sheet, profit/loss and the cash flow statements.
4. The confidence to work independently – When you hire a specialist for handling the accounting function of your business, it is reasonable for you to expect that the person in charge will handle the financial aspects of your projects and operations independently. And without you having to do act as a guide at each step. Of course you'll be there to help with questions and tricky situations, but in general the person should be willing and confident to take on the responsibility on herself.
5. Ability to accurately estimate costs – In addition to being knowledgeable, a good bookkeeper should be able to identify and assess all the relevant cost items in detail. Accurate projections and tracking of costs will not only help you plan better but all manage your cost well. So the person in charge should be able to come up with reliable costing information about your business.
6. Experience in a relevant industry – In general, the accounting standards, conventions, procedures, formats, etc are uniform for businesses, but all industries don't work the same way and the environments in which they operate differ. A bookkeeper with an experience from the industry that you cater to will be more adept at understanding the intricacies and nuances of your business than the one who isn't. Don't skip considering relevant experience while hiring. The candidates should possess at least some knowledge of your industry.
7. Good communication skills – While not as important for an accountant as for the marketing and PR staff, good communication skills are nonetheless invaluable for all employees including bookkeepers. The accountant should be able to coherently and articulately seek clarification, ask questions, in addition to explaining and providing relevant information when asked to.
8. Good computer skills – Today, handling bookkeeping and accounting using software is the norm. Software programs such as word processors, spreadsheet programs, presentation software, database applications, etc are commonly used to better manage business operations and enhance efficiency. As a result you should hire someone who has fair knowledge of these software programs.
9. Motivation to update their skills – As is the case with any specialty of work, old rules and techniques are replaced by new, the field of accounting and bookkeeping is no different. As a result, it's better to hire someone who is willing not only to update her skill set, but is motivated to track the changes in regulations, laws, etc that are relevant her work.