How to Find the Right Accountant + 4 Questions to Ask
You’ve decided that it’s time to hire someone to handle your business finances. I know it feels like such a load is coming off your shoulders, but I also know there’s some fear and hesitation around what you may find in the process. I want to share some tips that will help you hire a professional who removes fear and hesitation from the process for you.
And the best way to do that is through conversation, i.e., an interview. We call the interview many things today - discovery call, sales call, introductory call, and the list goes on. But they all boil down to the same thing. They’re a chance for us to talk and see if we’re a good fit to work together on all fronts. It’s a chance to see whether what we’re offering is what the other person needs and vice versa.
So, what exactly should you ask someone you’re interviewing to handle your finances? After all, your bookkeeping is your gray area, and you can’t ask what you don’t know.
No worries, I’ve got you covered!
Here are 4 simple questions to ask any candidate who’s interviewing to become a partner in your finances:
1. What are your credentials and experience?
A good bookkeeper will have both. Your goal is to determine if the candidate is knowledgeable about bookkeeping, maintains a standard of professional excellence with continuing professional education, and has real-life applicable experience.
2. How familiar are you with my industry and its inherent accounting issues?
Each industry has its own set of quirks when it comes to bookkeeping. It’s important to have a bookkeeper who understands or asks the right questions to gain an understanding and determine what those accounting issues are for you in order to resolve them.
For example, irregular income and cash flow is a major issue with creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. A good bookkeeper knows this and can provide advice on what steps you could take to mitigate the issue.
3. What is your process for working with clients, and how do you communicate?
It’s important that you understand the process. You need to know what tasks they’ll perform, what reports they’ll provide, and when and how often they’ll provide it. You also need to know what they’ll expect from you - provide bank statements, answer questions in a timely manner, etc.
The same applies to communication. Understanding both the method and frequency of your communications is key.
Knowing this beforehand is integral in finding a professional who meshes well with you and your work style, and it helps set expectations for a good working relationship should you decide to move forward.
4. How do you maintain my privacy?
The privacy of your personal information should be of the utmost importance to the professional you hire. Taking measures to securely store passwords using services such as LastPass, using secure file storage through Google Drive or Dropbox, encrypting emails, and destroying printed documents outside of the digital environment are just a few of the ways accounting professionals work to ensure your data privacy. In addition, a confidentiality clause should be part of any service agreement you sign. That binds your accountant from speaking to anyone about your finances without your consent.
Grab our checklist for interviewing candidates, below. In it you’ll find more questions to help you in your interviews, as well as spaces for taking notes.
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