When should you get a bookkeeper?

May 22, 2012

I get asked this question quite a bit – when should you get a bookkeeper? A great bookkeeper can really free up your time and keep you on track with your accounting records.  A bad bookkeeper can really mess your records up and give you no additional knowledge of your business.  I’ve seen both, I have some true horror stories of ‘rogue’ bookkeepers and know quite a few really decent ones.

My advice goes something like this.  When you start your business it may be a good idea to start the bookkeeping yourself.  Very simply putting your sales and expenses on a spreadsheet can give you a good knowledge of your business. 

Pretty soon though, you’ll get mega bored (unless you love it, in which case, come and work for me) and at this point it would be good to either get a firm of accountants to do your bookkeeping such as ours or a freelance bookkeeper.  Very generally speaking, a firm such as ours will be 100% quality on the bookkeeping but you won’t have a bookkeeper in your office, you would send us the records and we would complete it for you.  Plenty of clients like this idea since we deal with all the year end work as well.  However, in some cases, a freelance bookkeeper is a good idea, particularly if you have a transaction heavy business and need to speak to your bookkeeper regularly.

Then what happens is that your business gets so big that an employed bookkeeper is the better option.  You can probably get to £350,000 sales and rely on an external firm of accountants but after this, you do really need closer contact with the bookkeeper i.e. in your office answering questions.  Also, it becomes less cost-effective for an external firm to do the accounts the bigger you get.

Hope that answers this question, tomorrow – what makes a good bookkeeper.  I’ll leave you today with the fact that bookkeeper is the only word in the English language with 3 lots of 2 letters the same in a row i.e. the ‘o’, the ‘k’, the ‘e’.  

Yes, I don’t get out much.

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