As a bookkeeper, not only am I looking at the financial transactions in the business, but I’m also looking at how these transactions are occurring, because somehow we need to link up who the client is using your software with who the client is in QuickBooks. So bookkeepers have to continually go back-and-forth between those two since they generally don’t “talk” to each other. Therefore, as a bookkeeper, what I do is create this interface between your software tools and your paper stuff, so that you actually can look in that one place and get the answer to all the questions you have. In my dashboard tool, for example, there is no profit and loss statement, because the profit & loss already exists in QuickBooks. There’s no reason for me to re-create it. Instead, my dashboard will tell things like marketing dollars spent, prospects generated, new clients obtained, gross revenue received, then it automatically calculates your actual net profit for the month compared to your target goals.
In one of the firms where I worked, the owner had a need to print paychecks with a lot of information on the stub. QuickBooks doesn’t do this very well, so we created a mockup of a check that we could then print out onto the checks with the exact itemized breakdown. In QuickBooks, we had the general categories of deductions, but we’re still able to provide the employee with a very detailed breakdown. This type of improvement over straight accounting software is yet another thing that separates an administrative bookkeeper from a professional bookkeeper. We understand what the goal is and do the books correctly. Everything is in support of that one goal, which is precision and accuracy.
You can then use the data generated by having precise books to make projections and speculations about the future and to evaluate past performance. It’s about tuning the financial piece of the engine called your business. If your car is not running right, but it is still running, you notice. When the engine doesn’t rev just right, we know we need to take it into the shop. When it feels a little funny, the shop knows it’s supposed to be tight, and it should run smoothly, so they look for all the things that cause it to be loose and inconsistent.
As a bookkeeper, I do the same thing. First, we get the business records to precision. We get everything up to date, reconciled and filed. Then I create whatever is necessary to capture and display the information to answer the questions you have about the financial health of your business.
How many business owners know how to do all of the things that their employees do as well as they know how to do it? When we start to step away as the owner and develop our staff to take up the responsibilities we had, an interesting thing happens – we start to lose touch with some of the details of working in the company. This isn’t a bad thing, but if we’re not careful, not knowing how to do the jobs our employees do for us can put us in a tough position.
When it comes to bookkeeping this is especially true. If your bookkeeper walked out today and never came back, would you be able to sit down and know where they were in taking care of your business? How long would it be before you were able to get a bookkeeper you could trust, who would be able to sit down in that same chair and do the job as well as the person who just left? That’s a lengthy process, and it’s one you shouldn’t have to go through, to begin with, if you have the right person. This is the advantage of hiring a firm to do your bookkeeping, instead of hiring a person to do it. If that one bookkeeper no longer does your books, the company has somebody else who does it the same way and would be able to jump into it right away.
To summarize, hire a great bookkeeper as quickly as you can afford to. If you can’t afford someone full-time, get them part-time. If you can’t afford them part-time, get them on an hourly consulting basis to help you along and provide support. If your business is not making enough money and you’re not sure why – then get a bookkeeper. If they’re good at what they do, they’ll tell you where you need to focus your efforts. It’s not as simple as more customers and less spending.
If you consider your business to be a vehicle to make you money, then think of a great bookkeeper like a great mechanic. If your business is more like a garden, nourishing your soul, think of a great bookkeeper like a botanist or a farmer. They’re the ones who tend to the garden, pull the weeds, tell you when you need to order soil, and generally take responsibility for the health and success of your operation. This is one area where you’re better off referring to a professional. We’ve seen it in every case, when you are able to safely release control in this one vital area, amazing things start happening to your company.