Why businesses need to really consider outsourcing their bookkeeping.
For many years, bookkeeping was the bane of my business existence. I’m embarrassed to say it now, but when I bought my first business over 30 years ago, my idea of bookkeeping was to put everything in the clichéd shoe box and take it to my poor accountant once a year and leave him to sort it out.
I would like to think I’ve come a long way since then. For starters, I’ve really learned the importance of having your finger on the pulse with the money side of my business. If you don’t know that, you are flying blind. Having said that, it’s one of the biggest issues that many small businesses face.
Business owners are generally great at what they do to make money but terrible at doing bookkeeping. So they put it off. Over time it gets worse and worse, becoming a bigger mess, and then when BAS is due, it’s a very stressful nightmare.
OK, you know you’re ready to outsource your bookkeeping, so how do you actually do it?
My advice is simple:
1. Don’t put it off any longer. Address the issue today.
2. Let go of an embarrassment or concern that you will be judged. Any experienced bookkeeper will have seen it all, so matter how terrible you think your books are, they will have seen far worse.
3. Not all bookkeepers are created equal. Take some time to do your research, ask for referrals from others and really investigate any potential bookkeepers to make sure they have a proven track record.
4. It will take some time to hand everything over and for them to get up to speed with your business and your books. It’s probably taken you years to create this mess, so give them a little time to get it sorted.
5. Don’t look at bookkeeping as an expense, look at it as an investment. Once your books are sorted, you will know exactly where you are sitting financially at any given moment and that is a very comforting feeling.
6. Develop a good routine with your bookkeeper. Create the right rituals and internal processes to make their job easier, so they can focus on getting the best results for you.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask ‘silly’ questions. You’re great at what you do, not bookkeeping. So make sure you have a bookkeeper who is prepared to help you learn and become better at understanding your numbers and how bookkeeping works.
After I finally learned the value of having accurate and up to date records in my business, a lot changed. Today, and for many years, I’ve been across every financial aspect of my business. This has meant that my business has been more profitable, had fewer bad debts, and I know which projects make money and which don’t. Best of all, I feel far more in control than I did before, so I’m a lot less stressed.