Yes, you do really need a bookkeeper.
I admit, I’m a little biased as I offer bookkeeping services. But as an accountant and a bookkeeper, let me tell you that in no uncertain terms: you need to hire a bookkeeper as soon as you can afford one. Even if you’ve already hired an accountant.
That’s because bookkeeping is different than accounting. A bookkeeper handles the ongoing financial management of your business, while an accountant handles the higher level stuff. They aren’t a one or the other kind of thing – you need one AND the other to have a successful business.
Your Books will be Done Every Month
I’ve worked with enough small business owners to know that if they try to do their own books, the books rarely get done regularly. I know they have the best intentions, but bookkeeping is just one of many tasks on their to-do lists – and it is not urgent. So bookkeeping gets put off until tomorrow when something urgent pops up. The next day, it gets put off again. Before you know it, it’s two months later and you still haven’t done March’s books! Hiring a bookkeeper means that her sole job is to take care of your books, so you know it will be done on time.
Your Books will be Accurate
Let’s say you do make the time to do your books every month. That’s great! But are you sure they are accurate? Bookkeeping can be another language, with rules and nuances that can be easy to miss. Trying to do the books yourself can be tricky, especially if you are new to the bookkeeping software or even trying to use Excel. (Still trying to use Excel? Check out the 4 reasons you shouldn’t!) A bookkeeper knows exactly what they are doing, and they’ll ensure your books are accurate.
You’ll Save Time
Be honest: do you really have time to do your own books? Most small business owners don’t. By the time you get around to actually doing the books, they are months behind and have to sacrifice other important work or cut into their work-life balance to try to catch up – only to do it all again a few months later. Save yourself the time by hiring a bookkeeper to take care of it.
You’ll Save Money
And finally, I can assure you that you will save money – or maybe even make money – by hiring a bookkeeper. Sure, you have to pay a bookkeeper. But a bookkeeper’s rates are typically lower than an accountant’s, and a good bookkeeper means you’ll need less time from your accountant. Plus a bookkeeper will help you stay on top of sending invoices, collecting payments, and paying bills. That means more money coming in (on time!) and no more late fees for missing or late payments to vendors. A good bookkeeper can truly pay for himself within months.
Take a hard look at the state of your current books and decide if you can still rationalize not hiring a bookkeeper – whether you’re in your first year of business or not.
Deb Howard Greenleaf, EA, CEO and Principal, of Greenleaf Accounting Services provides virtual accounting and bookkeeping services and specializes in financial management to consultants, coaches, solo professionals, and other small business owners across the US. Deb is an Enrolled Agent (EA)—an IRS-licensed tax professional—and specializes in small businesses and entrepreneurs filing Schedule C or as an LLC. As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Deb spends her day in QuickBooks Online and specializes in providing QBO support.