How many years of experience do you have? – This is a starting point only. But recognize that someone could be very experienced at doing a poor job. So don’t assume 10, 15 or 20 years assures quality. Conversely don’t assume someone with only a few years of experience isn’t qualified.
- What training and education do you have? – Here I recommend you seek detailed answers. Did they only take a 12-week course in high school? Did they only work through the tutorial of the accounting software? Find out exactly how much effort they’ve put into learning their profession.
- How many hours of training do you take each and every year to keep honing your skills? – This is a significant distinguishing trait. Hire a bookkeeper dedicated to continual learning. They should be dedicated to getting better and better at handling your financial records.
- What types of clients do you serve? What industries; size of business; and types of service do you provide? – If the bookkeeper has only done books for the one-man hot dog vendor outside the mall . . . and you own a restaurant with 37 employees . . . you may want to look further. In contrast, some bookkeepers are very experienced in a variety of businesses and offer complex business advisory and consulting services. Dig deep and ask lots of questions to find the bookkeeper who can best serve your needs.
Are you a Certified Professional Bookkeeper (CPB)? – This coveted credential is only available from the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada (IPBC). www.ipbc.ca Below you’ll find more on why this credential is so important to you. The website offers a job board for companies to place an advertisement for an outsourced or employed bookkeeper.
- Are you willing to let me talk to some of your past and current clients?
These questions are a good start to performing your due diligence before hiring a bookkeeper. The financial life of your business is at stake, your business assets must be in good hands. It’s worth the effort to dig deep into a bookkeeper’s qualifications.
You will also have more confidence when you turn your books over to your accountant at year end. The right bookkeeper saves you money and your accountant a lot of time, expense and headaches.
A CPB credential gives you independent
proof of skill level. All CPB bookkeepers must pass a rigorous standardized national exam; adhere to a code of ethics; and take 20 continuing education hours annually. The CPB credential helps ensure your financial data is accurate the first time . . . every time.
Dianne Mueller, CPB