Cash Crop for Business Owners – Part One: Planting The Seeds
Planting the Seeds
Selecting the right bookkeeper and controller to help your company flourish.
As a business owner, you make investments every day, and not all of them are part of a stock portfolio. You invest time and resources in the people, processes and technologies that will keep your business moving forward.
The right investments can result in a bumper crop, and the wrong ones leave you feeling like a lettuce patch after a rabbit attack.
One surefire investment? An exceptional accounting team. A bookkeeper and controller should be part of the solution. They should be able to weed out obstacles to success and help plant the seeds that will make your company grow and thrive.
Here are a few tips and tricks on finding the right bookkeeper and controller for your business:
Choose someone worthy of your trust.
In other words, this is the time to be picky. Handling your money is a serious responsibility, and the person entrusted with it should be experienced, professional and reliable.
How do you know if a candidate is trustworthy? Don’t stop at the interview: Your candidate should be skill-tested and subjected to an in-depth reference and background check.
We recommend a number of assessments to help you weed out all but the best-equipped professionals. For a bookkeeper, we recommend Microsoft Excel, basic math, basic accounting, a personality profile, and, if applicable, your company’s software. For a controller position we recommend Microsoft Excel, advanced accounting and a personality profile.
Choose someone adaptable.
Small businesses change and evolve. Accounting is not a field that has traditionally attracted flexible, adaptable people, but that’s exactly what you need. Make sure that your bookkeeper and controller can mold their practice to fit your company and keep pace with your changing business.
If you are hiring an outsourced bookkeeper or controller, don’t be afraid to ask questions: If the candidate has a full stable of clients, will he or she be available for a special project? If your business expands and you need more time, will the candidate be able to work expanded hours?
Don’t go cheap. Don’t over-hire.
Qualified people cost money. If you pay rock bottom rates, you can expect one of two outcomes: rock bottom performance, or someone who isn’t around for very long. There may be positions on which you can get away with cutting corners, but this isn’t one of them.
You have options when it comes to service level. Don’t pay someone to sit in a chair for 40 hours per week if you only need 12 hours of work. Choose someone who can adapt to the needs of your business.
Choose someone who fits your style.
Do you want a relationship with someone who has insight about how you are running your business, or someone who simply makes the entries and gives you reports? These are two very different kinds of accountants. Make sure you know which kind you want to hire and ask questions that help you determine where your candidate falls along that spectrum.
Choose a person who understands business owners.
You don’t need lectures; you need solutions. You must be able to have a comfortable, candid and productive relationship with your bookkeeper and controller. You need to be able to trust that they will offer you complete transparency and total confidentiality. For these reasons, you need someone who understands business and business owners.
One of the best ways to gain a macro view of your business is through SG&A Reporting.
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We have found that the cost savings and efficiencies of working with a company like Owl is more beneficial than hiring our own in-house employee.
With Owl’s in-depth knowledge of our business and an awesome attitude, our business continues to run smoothly.
Owl staff understands not only the financial side of business but is able to coach us on other aspects of business decisions and to help us define alternatives.
The attention to detail, coupled with an understanding of and willingness to dig in to our unique systems and processes has kept us running smoothly.
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