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News > Guest Articles > How To Hire A Bookkeeper


Starting a video production company on YouTube? An Ebay business? Consulting business? Subcontracting via a telecommute? With a computer, high-speed Internet and some marketing savvy, entrepeuners of all ages and walks of life are starting small Internet-based businesses throughout the Saratoga region. Catherine Bostock-Hudy of CBH Business Services, Inc. helps small businesses from around the region keep their business finances on track. If you are thinking about hiring a bookkeeper - Catherine offers this helpful article on the steps you should take and the questions to ask to find just the right employee for you.
Remember....
the bottom line is this is your business, and your money.

Your business has grown great for you to the point where it is no longer feasible to perform all the administrative functions of your business.  It is time to hire someone to help with the paperwork.

As you go through the process of hiring employees, particularly in the bookkeeping area, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.

  1. You are hiring an individual that will know or be privy to your personal information and the personal information of your employees.
  2. You are entrusting this individual with your assets.
  3. Does this individual have a compatible work ethic/philosophy to you?  You need to be comfortable with this person.

The following are recommendations for going through the hiring process.

  1. Balancing the BooksWhen placing an advertisement be specific regarding job requirements/duties. Specify which software package you are using.  Each individual is different, just because they know one software package doesn’t mean they know or can easily adapt to something different.
  2. You should do some preliminary screening of applicants. Have the applicant fax, email or mail you a resume.  Based on the information on the resume, pick out the ones that most clearly match the requirements you are looking for. You should look for such obvious factors as educational qualifications, training, and experience. Many candidates are eliminated at this stage for not meeting basic requirements.
  3. Set up the initial interview with the candidates. Develop a standard list of questions that you will be asking all the candidates. Remember you cannot ask personal questions during this process (for example you cannot ask about age, birth date, children, criminal records, lawsuits, and disabilities). You may want to check over your questions with someone who specializes in Human Resources to protect yourself and get information on EEO laws (equal employment opportunity)
  4. Once the initial interview is almost complete, and you think the individual may be a viable candidate, you should do the following:
    1. Ask for work related references. 
    2. Have the candidate sign a permission form for you to perform a background check (there are services that perform criminal and civil background checks on prospective employees and they are well worth the price).
  1. You should check the references and evaluate the background check.  Also you should verify information given to you on the resume and during the interview process.  The most valued references are from former employers.  Using a personal visit, a telephone call, or a personal letter, you can verify work history, education attainments, and other information the applicant has presented.
  1.  If you use a CPA firm or an accounting service, I would recommend you have your accountant interview the candidates.  Your accounting advisor will look at the individual with a different perspective and ask questions to be sure whomever you hire really has the skills you are looking for. Evaluate all the information that you have gathered.  If you are not comfortable with any of the candidates you should consider running your ad again, otherwise based on the information gathered pick the best candidate for the job.

Remember, the bottom line is this is your business, and your money.  Be sure to hire someone who respects your work philosophy and will be an asset to you and your organization so that you can continue to sustain and grow your business for the short term and the long haul.

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