What should you look for in a bookkeeper?

Author: Russell Smith
May 23, 2012

As said yesterday, there are lots of bookkeepers around and the quality does vary massively (like lots of things I suppose).  So what are the top qualities that a bookkeeper should have?

The best bookkeepers I have seen are those who are able to take control of accounting records that may be in a mess and be able to untangle them and bring the numbers to an accurate position.  Accounting records in businesses can often be messy and not inputted correctly but a bookkeeper should be the one that brings order out of the chaos!

Bookkeepers are often quiet individuals who have very high attention to detail which obviously helps in bookkeeping.  However, one quality of a bookkeeper that you don’t see often but do see in the very best bookkeepers is they have the ability to kick the director of the company up the butt when they don’t comply with the smooth running of the finances of the business.  What do I mean?

Things like…

– Spending money without keeping receipts
– Making cash withdrawals that nobody knows about
– Taking dividends that are not approved by the board or a board meeting
– Taking from petty cash without giving the information why

So in a nutshell, taking money and not telling people why!

The tricky thing for a bookkeeper is that often the director is the owner and so the owner thinks he can walk around and do what he wants.  This is unlikely to change.  However, the best bookkeepers will be those who sit the director down and give them a right earful if the above things happen, something like “do you want to be on the wrong end of the argument with HM Revenue & Customs in the middle of a tax investigation.  No?  Then listen here and listen good, DO NOT take money without giving me receipts”.

If there are any bookkeepers reading this, feel free to use the above script verbatim.

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