Have you heard someone say “It’s cheaper to just do it myself”, or do you find yourself saying it?
You wouldn’t try to build a house by yourself, or give yourself a yearly checkup would you? You leave these things to the professionals because this is what they are trained for. Why would you choose this kind of approach for your business? We all start a business with just the basics, so you can start making money as soon as possible. Bookkeeping is a necessary evil for every business, so it would just make sense that as soon as you possibly could you would hand this over to the nearest professional. It is hard to imagine giving the most important part of your business to someone else but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself, while allowing someone with the experience, and know how to keep your books correctly.
First, hire a bookkeeper, as well as an accountant that can work together but have no allegiance to the other. I always tell all of my clients to hire an accountant to review my work. I do this for a couple of reasons. I have nothing to hide, and because expensive mistakes are caught faster and easier with two independent people looking them over.
Second, be aware of some general bookkeeping without bogging yourself down. Don’t waste your time trying to learn how to keep your books but have a general idea of what you are spending, and where you are spending it. You don’t need to take an accounting class to ensure your bookkeeper is doing what they are supposed to do without taking you to the cleaners.
Third, make a point to review your books with or without the presence of your bookkeeper weekly. You don’t need to track every single charge or double check every single entry, however reviewing your books regularly ensures you know where your business is at all times. As well as makes it easy to spot when things are not quite right so you can determine if you need a new bookkeeper or not. Ask questions about what you don’t understand, and don’t be afraid to let your bookkeeper know you are watching. They are your books, so any good bookkeeper is going to happily answer any questions you have.
Fourth, don’t give the bookkeeper access to your account that is not absolutely necessary. Don’t allow your bookkeeper to sign checks, or withdraw money. It makes my job easier if I can view your account online, or print your statements right from your bank website, but this is also not necessary to keep your books. It just means I need to make sure that I am clear as to what I need to get the job done when we communicate with each other. Don’t sign anything given to you without a thorough review, and absolutely do not sign checks unless the invoice is with it and you are familiar with the charge, if you don’t recognize something talk to your bookkeeper, maybe someone else within your company ordered something, or purchased something that you aren’t aware of.
While it is good to know the financial stability of your business it is not a good business practice to spend your day pouring over receipts, reconciling bank accounts, or entering the credit card statement. Protect yourself and your company but don’t waste your precious time. Trust the professional to help you it will save you more money than it will cost you.