Also known as household bookkeeping, household finance bookkeeping, or personal finance bookkeeping, this is a unique subset of bookkeeping that few bookkeepers practice. I am one of them.
Personal bookkeeping involves keeping track of your personal finances. While it’s extremely common for businesses to have a bookkeeper, it’s less common for people to utilize the services of a bookkeeper for their personal finances. The reasons to hire a bookkeeper for your household finances can be any number of things. Some high net worth individuals or families may need personal bookkeeping services to keep track of their finances, as the transactions, categories, or amount of funds is too much to handle on their own. Another reason someone might want a personal bookkeeper is to help figure out how to do better budgeting and/or to forge a path to get out of credit card debt. Many times, a person will want a personal bookkeeper simply to figure out where their money went in any given year. While businesses often keep track of detailed information like this, it’s easy to lose track of personal transactions because these aren’t often tracked as commonly or thoroughly.
I often see people posing the question “How do I learn how to manage my finances?” This seems to be a lesser-known skill, and it causes struggles in day-to-day life. It’s difficult enough to keep up with the bills as it is- even more difficult when you don’t know how to manage your incoming and outgoing funds. You can use one of the more commonly-used budgeting or personal finance apps like Mint or YNAB. These work well for some people, but not all. Sometimes you need a more personalized approach, and these mainstream options aren’t a fit for your needs. Maybe you’ve even tried a few and they didn’t help. It’s at this point you might consider contacting a bookkeeper who offers personal finance bookkeeping. They may want to set you up with QuickBooks, a different app that’s better for your needs, or a different system entirely.
While the prospect of spending more money in order to get a better handle on your finances is probably somewhat counter intuitive, it can be the key to getting your finances in order. This is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself. The good news about personal bookkeeping is that bookkeepers almost always charge less than accountants, which makes this option more viable and puts it in reach for those that couldn’t otherwise consider it. When people think of finances, they automatically think of accountants. What many people don’t know is that accountants don’t always handle the day-to-day financial details that you may be interested in if you’re seeking personal bookkeeping, and if they do, you’re likely going to pay a premium for those services. Bookkeepers, on the other hand, specialize in the day-to-day details of finances, and are often more affordable. Even so, it’s difficult to find a bookkeeper that practices personal bookkeeping, as this is a unique and lesser-known service. Please feel free to contact me if you’re interested in personal bookkeeping services. I’m one of the few that offers this, and it’s my favorite type of bookkeeping.
Lastly, if you’re considering trying to get your personal books in order yourself, my #1 piece of advice would be to do a sort of ‘mini audit’ of your spending and income. This is the place to start. Take your bank statements and go through them, transaction by transaction, and sort them into your spending categories. This can be tedious and take some time. Once you have a good idea of where your finances stand, you’ll be able to see what changes need to be made and start to implement those changes. Keeping things organized on an ongoing basis is the tricky part, which is why it’s important to have a good system set up to maintain things.