In the process of hiring a bookkeeper, you should keep in mind that even when they’re on board, your job isn’t quite finished. The first thing your bookkeeper is going to do is request your financial information, and for some business owners, that in itself is a daunting task.
Because it can be overwhelming to gather all of this information if you’re not prepared for it, we want to provide you with a good, concise list of what financial information your bookkeeper will need in order to do their job well. While the initial process can be a real pain, you’ll enjoy saving your time and energy once your bookkeeper has what they need to take the reins.
1. Your Business Information
This includes what type of business you own (for example, a sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.), owner names and contact information, and whether your business is product or service oriented, or both.
It seems obvious why a bookkeeper needs your business name and contact information, but why do they need to know what you sell? Because that information can influence how they will set up your accounting software. Do you sell online, or in person? Both? Do you have a brick and mortar store? Do you primarily send your customers invoices for your service or products, or do they pay up front? Or maybe you have a down payment system in place?
All of these questions should be addressed so that your bookkeeper knows what to expect to find in your financial history as well as understands what financial information will be coming in the future. They can set up systems and processes that make this information funnel nicely into easy-to-organize bits, giving you the best chance of having proper financial information on hand.
2. Access to Your Accounting Software
There are many different types of accounting software out there. At Fat Cat Bookkeeping, we’re partial to QuickBooks Online. Other bookkeepers may have different preferences, or you may need to find a bookkeeper willing to take on your current account with your own software preference.
In any case, your bookkeeper will need to have full access to your accounting software so they can see everything they need to organize your books. If you’re uncomfortable giving your bookkeeper access, you should find a bookkeeper you are comfortable with, or perhaps you realize that you’re more comfortable handling your books on your own.
3. Any Relevant Financial Information
One of our recent clients had a financial mish-mash for us to wade through. She had been mixing her personal and business purchases and transactions, and her original QuickBooks account was a nightmare of multiple accounts that sometimes contradicted each other due to the way she had set up her financial information in the system.
With our bookkeeping services, she was able to get a better handle on which accounts actually needed to be present in the system, and how to enter information from her other accounts so that there was no confusion in her financial records.
The term “relevant financial information” means that you should provide your business-only accounts for business-related bookkeeping, while personal finance assistance might include all of your accounts. If there is some mixing of accounts – for instance, business purchases made on your personal debit card – this information can be included without having to bring ALL of your personal debit card purchases into the mix.
Your bookkeeper will need any relevant account information, including relevant bank accounts, credit cards, and loan information. By using only the relevant accounts, your business’s books will even out correctly and not be skewed by potential contamination from personal accounts.
Most accounting software will connect right to these accounts, so you’ll want to talk to your bookkeeper to make sure of which accounts need to be connected. However, some banks or credit card companies won’t want to stay connected to your accounting software, in which case you should provide your bookkeeper with digital or physical account statements to help them get your books cleaned up.
4. Copies of Receipts and Physical Transactions
Any time you purchase something for your business, you’ll want to hold onto the receipt to have it recorded by your bookkeeper. They’ll categorize the purchase and, if necessary, may help you figure out the depreciation value of that purchase. All purchases for your business must have a paper or digital receipt showing the transaction for your records and in case you are ever audited.
If you ever complete a physical transaction that is not automatically added to your books – for example, a sale at a trade show paid for with cash – you’ll want to create a receipt for that purchase that you have a copy of as well. Again, this is just to prove that you actually made this transaction and will contribute to ensuring your books are correctly completed.
Unsure of the information you need to provide your bookkeeper? Contact Fat Cat Bookkeeping and we’ll see how we can help you figure it out!