You've decided it’s time to hire a bookkeeper. But before they start, there are a few things you can do to be prepared and prepare them.
It should go without saying but we always encourage setting goals, establishing boundaries, and practicing regular communication in your relationship with your contractor. This way you will be able to get the most value from your bookkeeper.
When you are regularly communicating with one another, this opens up more space for collaboration and growth.
For more must-haves to get started, we’ve curated a checklist for you to reference.
1. Lay Everything Out
You probably have a clear idea of the answers to most of these questions, but just in case you don’t, it’s time to figure them out.
- Figure out what condition your current accounting records are in and how they can be improved or tweaked.
- What changes do you need to make to the back end of your accounts and systems before someone has access to your accounts?
- Do you have everything in one place or are your documents scattered?
- Have you recently reconciled your accounts?
2. Establishing Systems
Working virtually as a team often coincides with needing mutual access to communication and storage tools.
Creating a password sheet or a password manager for your bookkeeper will allow them to have access to your files and documents before they go on a hunt looking for them.
Decide which systems you want to continue to use that your team needs to maximize productivity.
Here are some apps we use as a corporate team and that many of our Bookkeepers use with their clients.
Drowning in papers, notes, business cards, and documents? With CamScanner, any document can be digitized and saved to your device. Take a photo, and CamScanner will allow you to access, edit and manage documents anytime from anywhere.
LastPass is a freemium passwords manager that stores encrypted passwords online. The standard version of LastPass comes with a web interface, but also includes plugins for various web browsers and apps for many smartphones.
Bill.com is a provider of cloud-based software that automates back-office financial operations for small and midsize businesses. The company’s AI-enabled platform creates connections between businesses and their businesses manage their cash inflows and outflows.
Expensify is a software company that develops an expense management system for personal and business use. Expensify also operates a venture funding arm known as Expensify Ventures.
These tools will help you get everything organized and in a good place to hand off to your rockstar Bookkeeper.
3. Locate Documents
Saving your documents in one place will help your Bookkeeper know where to go to find what they need the moment they need it and save you the hassle of having to search over and over. Start with this list first.
- Prior tax returns
- Bank, credit card, and loan statements
- Operating agreement
- Account reconciliations
- Articles of Incorporation
- EIN and state registration numbers
4. Setting Guidelines
Think through what will be best for you as far as communication and deadlines go. Your Bookkeeper will help you with this, too, but it’s helpful to consider the following beforehand.
- How often will we communicate? Will it be over email, text, phone call or something else?
- Where will all documents be saved?
- How much cleanup and reorganization will need to be done?
5. Establish, Explain and Execute
After you have all of your tools and systems in place, it’s time to establish, explain and execute.
Now is the time to clearly share your expectations, availability and scheduling. Outline your more general, overarching expectations — of them and their role, as well as any measurable objectives.
Here are some communication tools we recommend.
Slack is a one-stop shop for messaging, tools, and files to help you save time while collaborating with your team. Channels can be divided up however is most relevant to your organization — by team, project or client. And threads and direct messages can keep side conversations from overwhelming channels.
Track, manage and connect your projects across any team with Asana. Organize your work in the best way for you using lists, boards, calendars and charts. Asana is where all of your projects across companies and teams live and where conversations can be streamlined.
Google Workspace is a collection of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools for businesses of all sizes. It is a one-stop shop for all things spreadsheets, documents, forms and storage.
Setting your own expectations before your engagement starts will help you to begin to build trust — which will lead to you gaining the most value in your business and finances.
To not have any questions about what it’s like working with a Bookkeeper, check out our Ultimate Guide to Bookkeeping.