Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Should You Expect From Your Accounting Services?

It can be difficult for a business to give up control of important functions such as accounting services to an outside agency. Although the argument in favor of outsourcing may look good on paper, there is always the worry that some inept or even dishonest bookkeeper could damage the business.

Once a company has made the decision to contract outsourced bookkeeping services, the decision of which company to work with is more than a matter of throwing a dart at Yellow Pages listings. Finding the right accounting services organization will make all the difference.

What Service Does the Company Offer?

Avoid companies that are just starting out. Although as a business owner you might be sympathetic to the struggling startup, do you really want to deal with getting your books back if their business should fail? Stick with businesses that already have a proven track record of success.

Today's accounting services are all computerized. Even if keep all your financial records written on cocktail napkins and the backs of envelopes, your bookkeeper should be using an accounting software package. They should offer online account services including 24/7 access to your books through a secure internet connection.

Ensure that your books will be handled by the same person all the time and not just whoever is available at the moment. You will build a relationship with this bookkeeper over time and want to have someone who can focus on your business.

Interview Your Future Bookkeeper:

Don't be afraid to quiz your bookkeeper on experience and education. There are a few people out there who offer bookkeeping services and yet don't know an asset account from a cash flow statement.

Continuing education is as important as past experience. It may seem as though fundamental accounting skills haven't changed much, but new skills and technology are surfacing all the time. You want your bookkeeper to maintain skills and knowledge, perhaps even finding new ways to help maintain your company's financial records.

Will the bookkeeper be available during normal business hours? The surge in telecommuting has given rise to bookkeepers who are trying to do their jobs in between personal commitments. While that may work in some fields, accounting services personnel need to be available to their clients during standard hours.

Ask how you will be communicating with each other. Telephone, email, instant messaging, and online project management tools are all common methods. You should also find out what kind of reports you can receive and when to expect them.

If possible, find someone who has specific experience with your industry. Although each industry uses the same financial basics, details such as industry jargon or best industry practices may confuse someone who has experience with other industries. If you can't find someone with specific industry experience, find someone who is willing to learn.

Author is a freelance copywriter. For more additional information on Controller Services, visit

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