1) Choose a person who is experienced, professional, trustworthy and is fully checked out.
Make sure that you (or someone) has interviewed thoroughly, skill tested, and has done a background check on the person you choose. This person will be handling your money. Make sure they are worthy of that honor and responsibility. This is not a position to be hire on a “gut level”.
2) Choose a person that can adapt to your changing needs.
If he or she has a full stable of clients, will they be around for a special project? What if your business grows to need more time? Will he or she be able to work expanded hours?
3) Choose a person that you trust is charging a fair and timely rate for their services.
Qualified bookkeepers can range from $30 to $65 per hour. CFOs/Controllers can range from $75 to $350 per hour. Either end of the scale should generally be avoided. Be wary of someone charging too little – they may expand the job to fit a required paycheck.
It is also going to take time and money to get your books set up to start with. Expect to spend anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for most small businesses. You then pay an hourly fee on a monthly basis and after a few months will be able to predict what is regular cost will be in your cash flow.
4) Choose a person that will give you the level of involvement in your business you want.
Do you want a relationship with someone who has opinions about how you are running your business or someone who just makes the entries and gives you the reports?
5) Choose a person whose personality compliments yours.
You are not paying them to make you feel like a bad child! You must feel comfortable with them AND be absolutely sure they do not talk about your business to others.
6) Be watchful the first several weeks
How much time are they spending? Are they asking the right questions? Have you learned anything you didn’t know before?