When your bookkeeping chores have become too onerous for you to handle alone, even with your QuickBooks software, the next logical step is to hire a bookkeeper. Many business management professionals are understandably reluctant to do so, however, as they are nervous to hand their business finances over to a complete stranger.
Consider this however, a competent bookkeeper can not only take over many mundane tasks, such as tracking expenses, invoicing, payroll and paying bills, but they can save you a lot of money in late fees, as well as allowing you to better track expenses and determine where your money is going. A competent bookkeeper can be a real asset when it comes to business management as they can give you detailed current reports on where your business stands.
Whether or not you retain access to your books depends on your bookkeeper. If your bookkeeper is not a full time, “in-house” employee, he or she may insist on keeping your QuickBooks file at another location, where it may be inconvenient or impossible for you to access them. Also, some bookkeepers don’t like to have anyone else touch the books, for fear they will make an erroneous entry or somehow foul them up. If your bookkeeper is the one signing off on your tax forms and official income statements, he or she may insist on being the only one with access to the books.
That said you really should have access to your books, even if you are not entering accounting data yourself. You need regular access to this data in order to run reports, verify whether a customer has been invoiced, or payment has been sent, in response to daily inquiries you may receive, which cannot be answered by your bookkeeper if they are not a regular employee. You will also be able to maintain good business management practices which could help prevent fraud.
There are outsourced bookkeeping options that allow you complete visibility and lack of daily responsibility for tasks. One example is a cloud server hosting your QuickBooks (or other software) file. This can allow access to your bookkeeping service, and strong oversight by you. This arrangement is something you will have to work out with your bookkeeper, and an important consideration to keep in mind in making your selection.
Barb is the CEO of Fisher Bookkeeping, an outsourced bookkeeping consultancy that provides small businesses with a full-service financial department. Her favorite aspect of work is to break down the accounting to meaningful bits, so entrepreneurs can make a powerful difference in their own business. She's also a power lifter (squat: 215, DL: 270).