One of the many questions I am asked when discussing bookkeeping services is “what should I look for when interviewing an outsourced bookkeeper?” Here is what I suggest:
I would ask them what types of industries have you worked in? For example, I have a client who is a franchise owner, with specific reporting requirements of the franchisor. It certainly would be if the candidate was knowledgeable with those requirements. Or we have a lot of clients in the hospitality industry and having a knowledge of tip reporting would be helpful.
Another obvious question would be how long have they been doing bookkeeping? I would recommend that they have some experience in the field especially if they are going to be working without any other accounting support. In other words, if they will be performing all accounting duties for you, then you would want them to have experience as there would not be anyone to go to with basic questions.
You would also want to ask them what types of accounting software have you used? You certainly would not want to hire someone who does not have QuickBooks experience if that is the software you use. Specifically, you would also want to ask them what form of QuickBooks they use, online or desktop. There are some differences between the two which could make a difference.
Just for fun, I would ask what their top three favorite clients are (not necessarily the names but the industries) That can tell you a lot about the type of work they would enjoy and if that would be compatible with your business.
I would ask them how they got into the field. What is their educational background in bookkeeping? Was in through an institution or through work experience. Ideally, it would be nice to have a mix of both.
If you have more questions, I suggest consulting with an experienced bookkeeper.
Barbara Flynn, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP