Collaborating with a Bookkeeper: A Step-by-Step Guide to Streamlining Your Business Finances

April 21, 2023

Maintaining your finances is integral to growing a successful small business. Yet it's one of the most challenging parts of starting a new business!

Working with a bookkeeper can be the key to maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial records for many entrepreneurs. In this article, we will explore finding the right accountant for your business, onboarding your new bookkeeper, and establishing an ongoing maintenance routine to ensure your finances remain in tip-top shape.

The Right Time to Find an Accountant for Your Business

The right accountant can be a massive unlock for growing your small business. Accountants and bookkeepers can provide the financial support and guidance you need to grow successfully.

That being said, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to when you should hire help for your business, as every company's needs and circumstances are unique. However, some common indicators that it might be time to seek professional help include the following:

  1. Your business is multiplying, and you're struggling with financial tasks.
  2. You lack the expertise or confidence to manage your finances effectively.
  3. You're spending too much time on bookkeeping tasks instead of focusing on core business activities.
  4. Your financial records are disorganized or inaccurate, leading to potential compliance issues.

These are not the only situations in which it can be useful to have outside accounting help. Small business owners often have far more complicated tax situations than ordinary individuals, which means that hiring a tax accountant can be incredibly beneficial.

If you resonate with any of these situations, it may be time to find accounting help!

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Onboarding With a New Bookkeeper

Working with any service provider can be a new experience. If you've never worked with a financial service provider, you may encounter processes you're unfamiliar with or requests you're unsure how to respond to.

Finding the right bookkeeper is a journey; it can take several interviews and trials before you find someone who correctly supports your business or specializes in your industry.

Once you've found the right bookkeeper for your business, the onboarding process typically involves three key steps:

1. Architecting the Chart of Accounts

Your Chart of Accounts is the backbone of your financial record-keeping system. An excellent bookkeeper will work with you to design a Chart of Accounts that accurately reflects your business's financial structure and provides meaningful insights into your financial performance.

The Chart of Accounts feeds directly into your financial statements, like your Profit and Loss or Balance Sheet. Without a properly formatted Chart of Accounts, your financial statements will not communicate helpful or insightful information.

2. Collecting and Reconciling Bank Statements

After compiling your Chart of Accounts to accurately reflect your business's needs, your bookkeeper will most likely request access to your bank and credit card statements.

Statements are an essential part of the accounting process. They are the source of truth from which a lot of financial information comes! Bank and credit card statements are used to reconcile your financial records to ensure accuracy and consistency. Reconciliation is the way by which every single transaction recorded in your accounting system is confirmed.

This process helps identify any discrepancies or errors that need to be addressed.

3. Reviewing Your Books

Once your Chart of Accounts has been put together and your bank statements have been reconciled, your bookkeeper will thoroughly review your books.

Often, this means scheduling a call to review your financial statements in-depth. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the performance of your business, catch any miscategorizations or adjustments that need to be made, and confirm that you're receiving the service you expect!

Ultimately, this review aims to ensure that your financial records are complete, accurate, and up-to-date and identify any areas of concern or improvement.

Ongoing Maintenance

One of the biggest tasks for any bookkeeper after officially wrapping up the onboarding phase with a new client is to repeat the process on a regular cadence. Your bookkeeper will continue supporting your business through monthly maintenance tasks!

These tasks typically include:

  1. Recording and categorizing financial transactions.
  2. Reconciling bank and credit card statements.
  3. Preparing financial reports, such as Profit & Loss statements and Balance Sheets.
  4. Assisting with tax planning and compliance.
  5. Providing financial insights and advice to support decision-making.

These five responsibilities encompass the responsibilities and services that most bookkeepers will provide on a monthly basis.

Working with a bookkeeper can be an invaluable asset to your business, streamlining your financial management and providing expert guidance. Finding the right bookkeeper and establishing an ongoing maintenance routine ensures that your business's financial health remains a top priority.

This, in turn, will enable you to focus on growing your company and achieving your strategic goals.

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Jeremy Millar
Written by:
Jeremy Millar

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