When’s The Right Time To Outsource Your Bookkeeping?

Good question. And one we get asked an awful lot. When you first started your business, you probably tried to do as much as you could in-house. After all, if you could do it, then it would save you money, and while you’re still working to build up your client base you probably have the time to get it done. But as you get busier and your business gets bigger, that valuable bookkeeping time gets smaller and smaller, until suddenly you’re drowning in a pile of receipts and your accountant is getting annoyed because you haven’t submitted your books yet, so now your accounts will be late.

Sound familiar? Then you’ve passed the ideal point of outsourcing. Now, it’s not a question, but a fact. You need to outsource. But let’s go back a little bit and look at what the signs might be that you’re getting close to this point. That way, you can recognise it and get your bookkeeping outsourced in time, saving you a lot of stress, hassle and apologetic pleading with an angry accountant (no one likes those!)

When The Numbers Just Don’t Make Sense

Look, some people just get numbers. And others don’t. That’s OK! We need a variety of people in the world. But if you understand numbers and you still can’t get your head around what your business numbers are saying? That’s is a sure-fire sign you need a bookkeeper’s eagle eye. Maybe you’ve completed your bookkeeping for the year, handed it to your accountant and they’ve come back with accounts that look nothing like your own records. Or maybe your accounts just came back with a list of adjustments you need to make. All of these are signs that your own bookkeeping isn’t up to scratch any more, and you would be better off hiring a professional. Because bad bookkeeping is no use to anyone.

The Software Is Getting Confusing

Odds are the software itself isn’t changing, but what you need to be able to do with it is. Whether that’s making the leap from excel to actual accounting software, or just starting to use new functions within the software you’ve been using for years, suddenly not being sure what’s going on isn’t a great feeling. Most of us have seen the television ads for QuickBooks or Xero that make out that by using their software, completing a VAT Return will be a simple click of a button. And whilst that may be true in some cases, you need to understand how to complete a VAT Return and how to use the software for that scenario to pan out in reality. So, if instead of powering through your bookkeeping, you’re sat at your computer, getting increasingly frustrated and wishing you’d stuck with Excel, it’s probably because you need some help.

You’re Registering For VAT

If you’re near the VAT threshold and have finally decided to bite the bullet, it’s worth getting a bookkeeper on side now. They can help guide you through the set-up process and make sure you get it all right, and then keep accurate records for you from the get-go. While VAT itself isn’t too complicated, it can get very confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing, and that confusion can end up in fines. So, get out ahead of the game on that one and just hire a bookkeeper before you start.

Top Tips For Choosing A Bookkeeper

This one could be an entire blog in itself, but for now, here are a few quick tips to help you choose the right bookkeeper for you, once you’ve realised you need to outsource.

  • Choose Someone You Trust. This is essential, since you’re going to be working closely with them for a long time. The best way to find your bookkeeper is to talk to some people you trust, preferably in your industry (though that bit isn’t essential). They will be able to give you a real insight into how a bookkeeper works and give you a shortlist of ones you know you can trust.
  • Look For Attention To Detail. A good bookkeeper is one you sometimes want to hit with a fly swatter. You know, because they bug you (sometimes). Attention to detail is a key skill in the bookkeeping world, and if they let things fall through the cracks and don’t follow up on every single line item, then they are going to let your business down. Find someone who will obsess about your books, so you don’t have to.
  • Get Someone Who Understands Your Business. Yes, experience and understanding of bookkeeping is important. But so is someone who can understand your business and your The right bookkeeper will know your business inside out, including how you operate, what you bill, and what your main expenses are. Trust us on this one, you’ll get much more bang for your buck that way.

Of course, finding a bookkeeper you gel with isn’t always easy. But at Safe Hands Bookkeeping we try to make it as easy as possible. We have a whole team of qualified and experienced bookkeepers for you to choose from, and we make it our personal mission to get to know you and your business from the word go. We want you to feel as if we’re not outsourced at all – that we are actually part of your team and are working with you to achieve your goals. Which we are! If you have any questions about how to choose the right bookkeeper, or just want to quiz us on whether the time for outsourcing is here for you, just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to chat.