Question: When you need good bookkeeping services in Santa Rosa, do you have specific requirements or a set of criteria to consider?
Recently I received a referral from a member of my BNI (Business Network International) group to a business owner in Santa Rosa. He was interviewing bookkeepers to determine if their bookkeeping services would be the right fit for his business.
In my preparation for the meeting I went online and looked at his website, reading and learning more about him, what his company focus on, who his customers are, and most importantly, if my bookkeeping services were the right fit. In other words, do I have the necessary knowledge, experience, and expertise to not only record his financial activities and prepare his financial statements, but also help him to interpret his financial statements so he can make informed financial decisions?
As a business owner you know it can be really difficult to figure out exactly what you need. Below I’ve identified nine criteria to consider during your process to recruit good bookkeeping services in Santa Rosa.
1. Relevant Education and Experience
Does the service you're looking at have sufficient education and experience to take on your businesses bookkeeping? A certain amount of formal education should be a requirement. And, how do they stay up to date with new tax and accounting legislation that will influence your business? Do they have a certain amount of continued education that they have to complete every year?
What about their past experience - does their experience match your needs? Do they understand your industry? Example: Someone who works with small home services companies may not understand the depths of a tech startup.
Therefore, make sure they have both the education and experience to compliment your business. And, do visit their website. You'll be amazed at what you can learn from scrolling through their pages...
2. Level of Oversight Needed
You are the business owner and you carry many hats. Is one of those hats overseeing your businesses bookkeeping and accounting activities?
Are you able to spend a lot of time checking that the bookkeeping services you selected have recorded all your financial transactions correctly? If not, make sure to check references and confirm that the level of oversight needed falls within your available time and budget.
3. Familiarity with Online Banking and Software Packages
There is no shortage of options to select from when it comes to software packages and online banking options for most businesses today. The bookkeeping services you're looking at should already have familiarity with these systems and software and be aware of the benefits as well as issues that may arise from them.
4. Able to Adapt Accounting Policies and Procedures
A good bookkeeping service should be able to look at your current set of books, policies and procedures and recommend updates as needed.
Our current Tax Code is a great example. The Internal Revenue Code consists of thousands of individual tax laws applied at the federal, state, county and city levels. A good bookkeeping service will be aware of these and know how to apply it to your business thus preventing any issues that could lead to costly penalties or interest payments.
5. Understanding of Data Entry, Reporting and Reconciliation
Along with software, good bookkeeping services in Santa Rosa should have a full grasp of what is needed in terms of data entry, personnel and programs; understand how to run reporting in those systems, reconcile them and deliver accurate, up-to-date reporting.
6. Able to Manage Cash Flow and Credit
Cash flow and credit are two serious issues faced by most business owners. The bookkeeping services you consider should not only understand this, they must be able to help you manage your business's cash flow and credit situation.
Properly managed cash flow and credit can be a major factor in smoothing out the bumps related to large contracts and material orders or during down times when business isn't so great.
7. Tax Planning and Preparation
There are several different ways that good bookkeeping services can help you with your businesses annual tax preparation; whether it's submitting payroll deductions, unemployment insurance tax payments, managing HR paperwork as it relates to payroll, or any of the many other issues that pop up on a regular basis.
However, one of the biggest benefits could be their advice related to your annual tax planning and helping your business to reduce its tax liability as much as possible.
8. Detail Oriented and Follow Through
Among the many things you should specifically look for in Santa Rosa bookkeeping services is their attention to detail; are they focused on getting the job done correctly the first time?
Another area or criteria to consider is their follow through. Past or current clients could be very helpful in determining whether the service follows through when problems show up or solutions need to be implemented.
9. Good Communication
Good communications are vital to getting things done properly. Ask about their communication process – how do they communicate with you and you with them? How frequently can you expect to get feedback or receive financial reporting? What are their preferred communication tools or channels? Good bookkeeping services understands the importance of up to date financial information to run a business and should have the systems in place to ensure that you are well informed.
Now that you have a few more criteria to consider when recruiting good bookkeeping services, please let us know what other criteria you use. We would love to add them to our list. And, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Stephanie Horne is an experienced bookkeeper and Enrolled Agent. She is the owner and founder of Horne Financial Services in Rohnert Park, California along with this website and has over 20 years of in person, virtual and outsourced bookkeeping/accounting and tax preparation experience with businesses of all sizes.
Her love and passion is to work individually with business owners and families to help alleviate any financial stress or concerns by helping them to understand and have better control of their income, expenses, cash flow, and tax liabilities.
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