We all get behind on things from time to time. Life can get busy and work can pile up. Sometimes you can get overwhelmed and wish you had some help. That can be especially true for the small business owner. Here are a few signs you might need a bookkeeper.
1. You don’t have enough time to do it or you are more than 3 months behind on your bookkeeping
You may have your bookkeeping system in place and know what you are doing, but maybe your business has grown to the point where you have less time to work on your record keeping. A lot of small business owners manage so many different things they can find themselves having less and less free time and working around the clock. A bookkeeper could take on the task of recording your financial transactions which may free you up to be more focused on other areas.
If you are really behind on your monthly bookkeeping (like three months or more), it may be a sign that you don’t have time for it or you simply need a little help catching up because life has happened and it’s only a temporary situation. If it’s because you are temporarily behind, you could make use of a bookkeeper just to get caught up. It could be an opportunity to see what it would be like if you had one working for you every month.
2. Your financial statements are usually not ready at tax time
Has another year gone by and you still haven’t entered you sales, costs and expenses into a format your CPA can use? If you bring a box of receipts and other paperwork to your CPA and ask them to sort them out for you, it may very likely cost you much more than if you had paid a bookkeeper to do it each month throughout the year. Or maybe you are so overwhelmed by the situation that you don’t get your taxes done at all.
A bookkeeper may be more affordable than you think. You might at least contact one to help you get your books ready for taxes even if you are behind. It can help give you a little peace of mind when faced with getting your taxes done.
3. You don’t like doing it
Some people just don’t like dealing with paperwork or working with numbers or sitting in front of a computer and typing a lot. It’s not that they don’t have the time or ability to do their bookkeeping, they just don’t want to. If this is the case for you, consider speaking with a bookkeeper to learn more about what they can do for you and how much it would cost.
4. You are behind on billing and/or collecting from your customers
There are many reasons a business can get behind financially. Some you have control over and others you do not. Obviously you don’t have control over when your customers pay you, but you do have control over your billing system.
If you aren’t able to get your invoices and statements out on time each month, it can be more difficult to get paid by customers who don’t pay on time in the first place. Not every customer will set the money aside for you until they get a bill. They may spend the money because they forgot about you and if they get two invoices at the same time, they may choose to pay only one.
Are you having trouble getting paid? You bill your customers on time every month, but some are falling behind on payments. You need to follow up with them, but don’t have a system in place to send out reminders. You could benefit from having someone help set that up and keep on top of your Account Receivable.
5. You can’t forecast with any amount of accuracy
Bookkeeping is necessary for tax reasons, but the most important reason for doing it is so you have accurate information at all times. You can and should use this information to identify problems or opportunities for growth. By looking back over certain periods, you can see what the numbers were and consider what events or actions you took that led to an increase in sales or a decrease in expenses. You can use that information to help you when you are making decisions for your business.
Many small business owners are do-it-your-selfers. I know, because I am one too. You may have a hard time trusting someone to do things the way you want them done to maintain your high standards. Maybe you don’t know that it is possible to outsource your bookkeeping in a way that would work for you.
Ask for Recommendations and References
Talk to other business owners about their experiences and see if they can recommend someone. If you can’t get a referral and are looking to hire someone through an ad or business listing, be sure to ask that person for a list of references of existing clients you can talk to. Be sure the list of references has businesses you can verify are real.
Whatever you do, if any of the above signs apply to you, look for a bookkeeper today and see if it is something that will work for you.