Would you prefer that your bookkeeper has worked with a few businesses in their career or hundreds? I guess the answer to that question really depends upon what your goals are with your small business bookkeeping. If you need a full-time 40+ hour per week bookkeeper then maybe you want someone that has a job history of longevity with their past employers. However, if you are a small business that only needs part-time bookkeeping services then maybe you want a bookkeeper that has worked with all kinds of different businesses. At SLC Bookkeeping we have done bookkeeping for hundreds of different businesses and here is what we have learned.
Bookkeeping Is The Same, But Different
When I am training new employees I always find myself telling them that in general the bookkeeping for our clients is the same, but also different. Let me explain. The fundamentals and the foundation of bookkeeping is the same for all clients. However, each client has something unique about their particular business and bookkeeping system. Additionally the needs of each client are different. A business may have the need to do job costing or class tracking. While another business may be so simple that they only require a monthly or quarterly reconciliation. A well rounded bookkeeper will recognize that most business bookkeeping should reach a similar end result, but will require different methods of arriving there.
Understanding The Industry Is Important
If you bookkeeper has a solid knowledge of your industry that will certainly help. While we have experience with all kinds of industries we specialize in restaurant bookkeeping, yoga studio bookkeeping and real estate bookkeeping. When we get in front of a business owner in one of these industries it is usually a home run fit for both sides. I have an expertise in restaurant bookkeeping so let me take that as an example. I was the general manager of a restaurant for six years where I managed the front of the house as well as handled the bookkeeping. I understand how and where restaurants make and lose money. I know how to control theft in restaurants and manage inventory. Additionally I know specific ratios that you need to monitor such as your prime cost ratio, labor ratio and cost of goods ratios. When I get in front of a restaurant owner I connect with them on a higher level. Having a bookkeeper that understands the specifics of your industry will go a long way towards your success.
In working with literally hundreds of businesses we have worked with an array of different business owner personalities. Some business owners are so good at running their business from a financial perspective that we have meetings about them. We study the smart things they do and figure out ways to apply it not only to our business, but to our clients businesses. Then there are the business owners that we don't find as impressive. It could be a lack of caring, general disorganization or just that we disagree with decisions. However, those clients are a great learning experience for us as well. We take decisions that we disagree with, learn from them and further mold our business mindset. Handling the bookkeeping for hundreds of different clients is like getting an MBA in small business.
Customized Bookkeeping Solutions
One thing I have definitely learned over the years is all small businesses need a customized bookkeeping solution. That is why we don't offer cookie cutter services to our clients. We don't have a set fee because every client has different needs and therefore needs a customized bookkeeping solution and rate. It could be the specific needs of the business, the industry they are in or the owner's specific needs. Each business needs their own bookkeeping solution because they have a unique need that differentiates them from every other client we have worked with.
When you are hiring a bookkeeper think about what type of experience you are looking for. A bookkeeper that has worked with hundreds of different businesses may be able to offer you very unique knowledge. Even if you currently have a bookkeeper a more experienced bookkeeper may be able to offer consulting to solve your higher level issues.