Why you may need a bookkeeper more than you think

This article from Entrepreneur magazine gives tips when it comes to deciding when to hire a bookkeeper or accountant.


Entrepreneurs thrive on a DIY mentality: Do everything you can yourself and don't pay for anything new until you have absolutely have to. It's especially difficult to justify hiring financial help like a bookkeeper.

Everyone who can relate to that paragraph, raise your hand! Bookkeeping software has made it so easy to do it yourself as well. However, doing it yourself requires that you actually DO IT yourself, and that is often the problem. When you would much rather be walking in your fields checking on the status of your crops/livestock...or interacting with customers at the farmer's market...or teaching the school children who are at your farm on a field trip about composting...and not so much entering transactions into your software, that's a clue that you might need to hire a bookkeeper.

Entrepreneurs who hire accounting help usually discover they weren't doing nearly as well on their own as they thought they were.
Zalmi Duchman, chief executive of The Fresh Diet, a meal-delivery company based in Miami, lasted five years without a bookkeeper then hired one three months ago. The new employee cleaned up records that incorrectly mingled expenses and assets, reviewed employee purchases for duplications, and took over the mundane but critical task of paying bills. Duchman estimates his company is saving $500 to $1,000 in late fees every quarter. "I definitely have been able to make better and more educated decisions," he says.

I have helped clients with this very thing. We've discovered phone bills that were being paid for lines no longer in use, deductions from the owner's paycheck that had been taken out for 3 years each pay period when they should have only been taken out one time, etc. A bookkeeper is hyper-focused on the finances, rather than focused on the other operations with occasional glances at the finances. So out-of-the-ordinary expenses jump out to a bookkeeper faster.

Also, an operation's success depends on frequent analysis, not just a once-a-year look (after cramming all the expenses from the year into the software all at once). A bookkeeper can help you look at patterns of income and spending and give you guidance into things you might want to change. There is more to running a financially sound operation than reducing the amount of taxes owed each year. Unfortunately that is where most attention is focused each year.

At Sustainable Bookkeeping, our focus is on helping your business to be sustainable. Accurate and timely bookkeeping is an essential part of that.