"Isn't a bookkeeper an accountant?" I hear most of you say. Well, there's a distinct difference, and it goes without saying that a bookkeeping service is vital for the successful running of any business.
So, what's the difference between a bookkeeping service and accounting service? Well, the first major difference between the two is the fact that an accountant focuses on the technical needs of your business like taxes, business planning, and doing month-end closing entries to create your financial statements. The work of a bookkeeper is the support role in essence, and includes duties like data entry and the creation of invoices. An accountant gets his nose in the dirt and adjusts entries that are done by a bookkeeper. Also, most small businesses hire accountants on a temporary basis, while bookkeepers are full-time. This, however, is different depending on the needs of individual organizations, and their sizes.
What should you look for when wanting to get the most of your bookkeeping service? The first thing is to establish if the bookkeeper is registered with a professional body. This certification is very important, and can mean the world when it comes to seeking the best bookkeeping service in the market. A well known body, for example, is the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. An even better option would be to have the bookkeeper be managed by a CPA you trust.
Next, a bookkeeper who is versatile is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to ensure thoroughness in bookkeeping services. Why is this? It's important to find out, when interviewing prospective bookkeepers, what kind of small businesses they've worked with before. This will give you an idea of the flexibility of their services and if they'll be able to adjust to your business needs without compromising on quality.
A good bookkeeping service is one that pay attention to detail. Given the fact that bookkeeping is basically a numbers game, you want to get someone who will pay attention to the figures so that they come up with an accurate representation of the state of your finances. This is especially important for taxation purposes. The last thing you want to have is the IRS on your tail because the bookkeeper went to town on your financials and forgot to add a few zeros. Awkward, anyone?
Another thing to pay attention to are the references provided by a bookkeeper. Please be sure to ask for accountant references during the interview process. This is because client references might be biased, as some of them might be personally known to the bookkeeper. Most of the time, bookkeepers and accountants only interact with each other on a purely professional level. This will give you that much-needed peace of mind that you're getting referrals that are on a truly unbiased level.
A good bookkeeping service is merged with excellent customer service and natural intuitiveness. A stellar bookkeeper will not only work on your balance sheets, but he will also be on hand to give you extra services long after his contract has ended. In case there are some clarifications to be made, an ideal bookkeeper will take some time and explain, clarify and synthesize their services for your benefit. They'll be on hand to answer all your questions, and help smooth out rough patches. Good bookkeeping services will ensure that your small business achieves efficiency in the long run, which translates to profitability and overall good business health for your organization.