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How to choose the right bookkeeper for your business

Julianne Leybag
18 February 2017 2 minute readShare

Hiring a good bookkeeper is the key to making a small business grow and thrive. My Business provides some guidelines you can use when choosing the right bookkeeper for your small business.

All kinds of businesses, whether it be small or not, need to keep proper track of how money is being brought into and out of the business. However, this is a very tricky task, and not a lot of business owners have the necessary knowledge and skills - let alone time - to carry this out effectively.

Some of the most basic qualities of a good bookkeeper for businesses include the following:

  • Good industry knowledge
  • Willing to regularly update industry knowledge
  • Reliable
  • Well-organised
  • Accepting of feedback

Good industry knowledge

The responsibilities of a good bookkeeper include managing the critical financial aspects of a business. Although the bookkeeper skills needed for a business—which includes familiarity with business trends and updates and how it relates to the current financial situation of the business—are not essential in bookkeeping, it pays to find a bookkeeper with a wide berth of knowledge of the industry in which the business operates.

The more familiar a bookkeeper is with the business’ industry, the more likely they will be in crafting relevant solutions to any kind of financial problems the business may undergo.

In the long run, engaging a bookkeeper that has good industry knowledge is a good investment: it allows the business to avoid future accounting errors, thereby helping the business to save up and allocate resources to other more important aspects.

Willing to regularly update industry knowledge

Good knowledge and experience is important, but so too is having knowledge that is consistently up-to-date. Of course, while bookkeepers are required to be always updated regarding financial regulations, however a good bookkeeper must be willing to update their current industry knowledge and be able to keep the business at the forefront of its industry as well.

This means that they have to put their updated knowledge to good use as soon as possible in order for the business to keep ahead of its competitors and keep the business up and running.


Reliability is possibly one of the most important bookkeeper qualities that a business owner should look for. While it is certainly a good thing if a potential bookkeeper has all the right credentials and experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they would be reliable from the get-go.

When looking for a bookkeeper, small business owners must not be afraid to ask the right questions that will establish whether or not they will be reliable. These kinds of questions may include asking how they will handle specific financial situations, such as financial errors, or how they manage their daily bookkeeper tasks and responsibilities.


One of the most known misconceptions regarding bookkeepers and their nature of work is that all of them are automatically organised and detail-oriented. However, just like people of any profession, this is not always the case. It can largely depend on the breadth of experience of the bookkeeper.

To maintain strong organisation, things such as proper interpretation, retrieval and reporting of financial data are important, most especially when the bookkeeper handles multiple clients. Business owners can also ask about safety nets and how errors and other financial problems are handled. The more organised a bookkeeper is, the more efficient the business will be in the long run.

Accepting feedback

Let’s face it: No matter how hard business owners try to find the perfect bookkeeper for their business, there isn’t really a perfect bookkeeper. It will definitely take a substantial amount of time before any new bookkeeper fully learns the ropes of the business.

When a bookkeeper is open-minded, is accepting of and gives importance to feedback, this allows them to not only grow as a person but also as an essential part of their client's business. Once they are able to learn from this feedback, it will help them become better bookkeepers who take good care of the business.

How to choose the right bookkeeper for your business
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Julianne Leybag

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