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Finding a good bookkeeper is a bit like finding a good family doctor – when you find one, you should never let them go. Now that we are well into the new financial year, we should all make sure we have a great accounts team backing us for the financial year, especially for those of us running our own small businesses.

A good bookkeeper vs a great bookkeeper

A good bookkeeper understands the process well and has the knowledge. A great bookkeeper is not only someone who has the qualifications and the experience, but they are also someone you can trust. The relationship between a client and a bookkeeper is absolutely sacrosanct. A bookkeeper knows more about a client’s financial status and health than anyone else. This is why it is very important a bookkeeper not only help their clients get the most of their accounts, but they can also trust the bookkeeper with their financial secrets, which is basically their whole life.

What to look out for in a great bookkeeper

1.Is registered with an industry body

Whether it be the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, the Australian Bookkeepers Association, the Association of Certified Bookkeepers, or the Tax Practitioners Board; every bookkeeper should be registered or hold a membership with an industry body. This gives their clients the assurance that they have a professional code of practice that they follow and is answerable to.

2.Maintain their qualifications and knowledge up-to-date

All bookkeepers should have some sort of formal accounting or bookkeeping training and the minimum qualification they should hold is a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping. The course teaches the students with the core skills and knowledge required to perform tasks at an entry-level accounting or financial services role such as how to work effectively in the industry, how to carry out financial calculations, how to process financial transactions, how to prepare budgets and reports, how to set up and maintain payroll systems and about business taxation requirements and obligations.You can find out more about what essential knowledge your bookkeeper should have here.

Every bookkeeper should also keep their knowledge up-to-date. New technology, processes, competition and legislation are always surfacing and a great bookkeeper commits to maintaining the currency of their knowledge to be able to service their clients to their best of their abilities.

3.Understand the law and their obligations inside and out

Like most professionals, great bookkeepers understand the law and their responsibilities to the tee. They do their best to stay abreast to industry news and regulatory updates to ensure their client is not disadvantaged in any way.

4.Asks all the right questions and asks for help from other professionals where needed

A great bookkeeper knows the right questions to ask to ensure transactions are correctly organised and allocated and knows the right person to seek assistance from if it is something that is not legally within their scope.

5.Is trustworthy both personally, and professionally

It is important that a great bookkeeper can be trusted, not only on the job, but also off the job. The world is getting smaller and smaller each day and it is said that for every 7 people you know, at least two of them are connected in some way. This is why any information a bookkeeper is privy to should be kept private and confidential, not even to be shared with close friends or partners as you never know if they might cross paths one day and you don’t want them to accidentally blurt out something they should not know in the first place.