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What Does a Bookkeeper Do?

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

All bookkeepers are not created equal. A common misconception regarding bookkeepers is that they all offer the same services. Another one is that the only thing they can do is enter and reconcile your transactions.


Some small business owners are hesitant to hire a bookkeeper because they think their needs are too specialized. This can result in hiring an employee, which is costly and sometimes unnecessary.




Bookkeeping can be approached in different ways. There is a wide range of additional services which a bookkeeper can offer which are outside the typical entry and reconciliations, and most bookkeepers offer at least some of these.


The best way to determine what is right for your small business is to meet with a bookkeeper or several, carefully explain your bookkeeping goals and get their advice.


Some bookkeepers will only take on clients that have minimal needs. They may prefer to keep it simple and stick to data entry, reconciliations and reports reviews. Others are full service providing their clients with a full complement of services including data entry, payroll, inventory, asset management and depreciation, bill paying, accounts receivable, staff training, virtual CFO services and more. Most bookkeepers, you will find to be somewhere in the middle. Some will have more experience with certain things than others and so it’s important to find the right bookkeeper for you.


How to Present Your Company for Evaluation by a Bookkeeper What should you show or tell your prospective bookkeeper to make sure you’re getting the most informed advice possible? What’s important to you, as a small business owner, is not something a prospective bookkeeper will necessarily know right out of the gate. You’ll need to help him or her get to know you and your company before he or she can make any solid recommendations.


When you consult a prospective bookkeeper, the very best thing you can do is provide access to your accounting software and have him or her take a look around. This will give him or her a good understanding of the way you run your company and the current financial arrangements. Additionally, here is a list of things you can bring to a consultation to help get the best advice and most accurate estimate possible:


· Copies of 3 recent bank statements

· Number bank accounts

· Number of company credit cards

· Number of long term (12+ months) loans

· Number of months (if any) your books are out-of-date


Some things a prospective bookkeeper will need to know:


· What type of accounting software (if any) do you currently use?

· What type of business do you have?

· How many years in business?

· What tax form do you file?

· What was the last year taxes were filed for?

· What is the size of your business (in terms of annual earnings)?

· Are there assets and liabilities that need tracking?

· Are there special circumstances or functions you’d like help with?

· Do you do job costing or income classing?

· Do you do customer invoicing?

· Do you maintain inventory?

· Do you have yourself or employees on payroll?

· Do you have 1099 contractors?

· Do you pay sales tax?


What If I Need Services Not Listed Here? Just ask. Most bookkeepers are very familiar with molding their services to fit the needs of the client. If they aren’t interested in doing what you need, move on to the next one. Eventually you will find one that does what you need.


What If I Don’t Know What Help I Need? This is more common than you may think. You started your business because you know your product or service, not necessarily because you know all about running a business. If you understood as much about bookkeeping as bookkeepers did, we would be out of a job. Nonetheless, a good bookkeeper will strive to help you learn more about your business finances.


If you’re not sure what you need help with, tell this to your prospective bookkeeper. After giving him or her the best possible picture of your business, he or she should be able to make recommendations as to services that may be a good fit for you as well as tailor their services to fit your needs.


In Summary Bookkeepers come in all shapes and sizes with all different ranges of services. If you use the guidelines in this article and do your due diligence, you will find the right bookkeeper for your business.


I hope this article has been helpful to you in making the right bookkeeping decisions for your business.


If you have any questions about bookkeeping or are considering hiring a bookkeeper for your business, please feel free to contact us at info@peggysbookkeeping.com.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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