Choosing the right bookkeeping services is a matter of comparing your list of requirements with the services on offer. However, beyond your business’s specific needs, there are some overarching values you should consider when examining bookkeeping services. Can the service match your changing needs? Does the service have a proven track record of reliability? Will the service’s staff be available to help when you need it? What other services does the company provide? Here, we’ll discuss what to look for in bookkeeping service before making a final decision.
Your business will change over time. It may take on additional storefronts, add office space, hire new employees, or simply step up production to meet demand. Any and all of these changes demand flexibility from your bookkeeping service.
When you begin to explore the various options of a bookkeeping service, examine not only the services that suit your current business needs but also the needs you will hopefully face in the future. Ask questions, and then see how bookkeeping services respond:
- Are they interested in developing a long-term working relationship?
- If they don’t currently provide services very far beyond your current needs, would they be willing to create an individualized offer should you need additional services, perhaps by combining service packages?
Make sure the bookkeeping services you choose can meet you in the past, present, and future. Check to see if they offer things like data conversion to bring your old information into any new software. Make sure a specific package or level or service actually fits your current needs, and not last year’s information or tomorrow’s hopes. Lastly, ensure there are bigger sizes for you to grow into.
It’s difficult to tell how well bookkeeping services will perform simply based on reading someone’s website. It’s easy to claim high standards online, and judging a company by its website is often like judging a book by its cover.
Hidden in nearly every website, however, is some very useful information: customer reviews. Check out their list of customer reviews and/or list of current and past clients. The companies on such lists are always a bookkeeping service’s most successful or recognizable clients, but it’s still worth a look. This information allows you to explore the success of customers who have worked with that particular bookkeeping service. Consider this list as the resume of a potential new hire and ask yourself these questions:
- Have companies like yours worked with this business?
- Do all the companies on the list still have active websites, or proof that they are still operational?
- What services do the reviews most highly praise?
The answers to these questions help paint a general image of the reliability of the bookkeeping services.
Not all bookkeeping services serve Fortune 500 companies, but many don’t target them in the first place. Quite a few work exclusively with small or moderate enterprises. This means they are more affordable and that their staff best understands the needs and procedures of your business. It’s important to choose bookkeeping services that fit your business’s size, goals, and budget.
Not all bookkeeping services offer 24-hour assistance. Then again, you may not need 24-hour assistance. So long as your business hours roughly match, or at least overlap with a bookkeeping service’s open call hours, everything should be fine. You will need multiple methods of contact, however. While a traditional phone call is easy to make, online chat services or help boxes make life easier for you as both a shopper and a customer. This helps you avoid extra time on the phone, potential long distance fees, and hold times. Chat options also provide the fastest, most efficient answer to simple questions.
While you hire bookkeeping services for their bookkeeping skills, consider their additional services that will simplify future projects. Most bookkeeping services use a specific kind of software for their work, and you may need to purchase that software to read files and reports from your bookkeeping service. At the very least, a bookkeeping service should have the basic version of that software for sale through their website.
Training courses are also extremely useful, especially if you are a new business owner, or you are overseeing the bookkeeping work for the first time. Training courses should help you understand the products a bookkeeping service interacts with. For instance, if a service uses QuickBooks, they should offer training courses on QuickBooks.
To find the best bookkeeping service, you need to put in a little time for research. That initial investment can save you many hours down the road, though, and it will ensure you find a good bookkeeping match for your business. Examining a service’s flexibility, reliability, availability, and additional services give you the best idea of the service’s overall compatibility. Remember, the best bookkeeping service for your business isn’t always the top rated; it’s the service that keeps pace with your needs.