4 Huge Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Bookkeeping Service

Accountant working with client on outsourced bookkeeping services

Good news! Your small business is thriving. But unfortunately, your success is leaving less time to keep up with day-to-day bookkeeping tasks such as sending invoices, posting payments and processing expenses. Instead, you are spending more time – every week and sometimes every day – handling financial responsibilities rather than focusing on aspects of your business that are at the core of your passion and talents. 

Does this sound familiar? If so, it may be time to reclaim precious hours in your schedule by hiring a professional bookkeeping service. 

In addition to saving valuable time, outsourcing the bookkeeping function for your business can provide you with peace of mind knowing that experienced accounting professionals are handling your financial in-flows and out-flows so you can focus on doing what you do best and what you love most. 

Before you dive into a relationship with a bookkeeping service, consider your goals and expectations to avoid these four common mistakes that businesses often make when choosing a service. 

Mistake #1: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Avoid trying to find a quick fix to your bookkeeping needs by hastily selecting a service. Remember, you are seeking a long-term partner that will not only handle bookkeeping tasks, but also provide you with knowledgeable guidance and advice to help your small business grow.

The bookkeeping service you select should be equipped to understand the unique needs of your organization and industry. Look for a bookkeeping firm that is willing to tailor a package of services that is just right for you.

Keep in mind there are many aspects to bookkeeping. Your business may not need all of them, which is why the ability to customize is important.

Services may include:

  • Accounts payables management
  • Accounts receivables management
  • Bill paying
  • Bank and credit card reconciliation
  • Monthly financial statement preparation
  • Sales and use tax filings
  • Cash flow management
  • General ledger maintenance
  • 1099 preparation and filing
  • Check writing
  • Franchise and other specialized reporting

Mistake #2: Are We Compatible?

The finer details of your business can be taught, but it’s best if the values of your organization and the bookkeeping service you select are aligned from the start. 

Your values and how they guide your business practices matter, so invest time to get to know a prospective bookkeeping partner to determine if your values align. Request an informal meeting in-person to get to know the firm. Use this opportunity to explore and assess values and conduct that is important to you as a small business owner. 

Examples of values and behaviors to look for: 

  • Good Communication – A good bookkeeper is not only a good number cruncher, but a good communicator. You’ll want a bookkeeper who proactively asks questions and communicates back to you in a clear, timely and transparent manner. 
  • Innovation – Identify a firm that seeks to constantly improve, embraces change and actively keeps up with best practices in the industry. Additionally, make sure the firm you select stays abreast of enhancements to QuickBooks and other cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting technology platforms. 
  • Problem Solving -This might be the most important trait of a good bookkeeper. A trusted bookkeeping service will tackle questionable transactions and analyze new ways of doing business instead of glossing over problems and doing things as they have always been done. 

Mistake #3: Experience Counts

Don’t assume that if your bookkeeping service is insured against errors and omissions that you are off the hook. Incorrect bookkeeping can lead to misreported taxes which can result in IRS penalties for your business. That’s why it is essential to select a bookkeeping service that has experience with your specific type of business in your specific industry. The books of an ecommerce startup are different from the books of an automotive service center. Take time to find an outsourced bookkeeping service with experience in your niche. 

Mistake #4: Bookkeeping and Accounting are Not the Same

Don’t mistake bookkeeping and accounting firms as offering the same scope of services. Both are necessary to operate your business successfully, but they differ in purpose. Bookkeeping services manage day-to-day financial tasks and provide you with accurate financial information about your business. Accounting services help you understand your financial information to make informed decisions for your business like forecasting growth and applying for a loan to expand your business. Each discipline offers its own specialized knowledge and skill set.

If you are considering outsourcing your bookkeeping, consider Gift CPAs. Our firm offers a full range of bookkeeping and accounting services which can be tailored to your small business. We have specialized experience in a wide range of industries and sectors including nonprofits, construction trades, automotive companies, fire and emergency service agencies, and food services and restaurants.

Gift CPAs also is committed to the core values of honesty and integrity, providing quality service in every interaction, building positive relationships, embracing innovation, continuously expanding our competencies – and having fun along the way.

Get Connected Today

Contact Gift CPAs for more information on our full scope of accounting and business services. We have years of experience working with small businesses to help with bookkeeping, taxes and other business needs. Make an appointment to meet virtually or at one of our five locations in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, Myerstown, Ephrata or Lancaster

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