Many small business owners hit a point where they find it is necessary to hire a small business consultant. I imagine there are a lot of reasons that an owner brings in a consultant. Most likely they either don’t know how to take the business where they want or they lack direction in general. Other owners may doubt that they have the skillset or mindset to take their business to the next level. In order to achieve their goals or gain direction some business owners hire a consultant. I have met some great business consultants that really add value and those that don’t. One thing to consider is to see if you can get your bookkeeper to act as a small business consultant.
Are They Smart Enough?
First, do you believe that your bookkeeper is smart enough to consult you? If you did your homework during the hiring process I’m hoping you at least hired a decent bookkeeper. If they are handling the bookkeeping for multiple businesses then they probably have a good amount of practical business experience. You should consider asking them for advice on the business problems or questions you are having.
Do They Know Your Business Well Enough?
A good way to find out if your bookkeeper knows your business well enough is to audit your bookkeeper. When you are conducting your financial analysis ask them questions about some of the numbers you are seeing. See how quickly they respond to your questions. Also, do they know the answers off the top of their head or do they have to do some research? If they are answering your questions quickly and accurately then they probably know your business pretty well. Quite often a small business bookkeeper knows the finances of a business as well as, if not better than the business owner themselves.
Have They Made Good Recommendations In The Past?
If you bookkeeper has made suggestions in the past that have saved you money or made you money that is a positive sign. If you bookkeeper is approaching you with ideas or concerns you should be listening. As I said before your bookkeeper may have a more intimate knowledge of your businesses financial health than you do. If your bookkeeper handles your small business financial analysis you should listen up when they make comments. Over time you may trust your bookkeeper as a consultant rather than just a record keeper.
Do You Trust Them Like A Business Partner?
Your bookkeeper should act like a business partner, not just a data entry person. If you can make your bookkeeper feel like a part of the team they should act in the best interest of your business. If you clearly communicate your expectations of your bookkeeper to them they will perform to meet or exceed those expectations. By offering your bookkeeper incentives you will have a team member that acts like a business partner and not just a record keeper. Having a good bookkeeper that cares about your business is like having a financial watchdog. They will scrutinize your financial activity to make sure nothing is slipping through the cracks. Additionally they will look for concerns and opportunities in your financial reports to make sure profits are being maximized. A bookkeeper that acts like a business partner creates a win-win situation for both the business owner and employee.
Not every bookkeeper out there is fit to be a small business consultant as well. However, there are some excellent bookkeepers that have skills beyond basic bookkeeping. Recognize when you have found an excellent bookkeeper and find a way to retain them. Having a good bookkeeper on your team that is qualified to offer small business consulting advice will help you maximize your profits.