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How To Hire a

GREAT Bookkeeper

· General Bookkeeping Questions,Bookkeeping Tips

Welcome back! Last week we discussed how to determine if your bookkeeper is doing a good job, you can read about that HERE. For all of you who discovered that they weren’t, we thought we’d provide you with a guide to hiring a better one!

As anyone who’s ever worked with a bad bookkeeper can attest, few roles are as pivotal as that of the bookkeeper. Beyond mere number-crunching, a great bookkeeper serves as the guardian of your financial health, ensuring every transaction is meticulously recorded, every balance is reconciled, and every report is accurate.

Yet, the quest to find a truly great bookkeeper can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. With countless candidates boasting varying degrees of experience and expertise, how do you identify the one who will seamlessly integrate into your business, elevate your financial management, and ultimately contribute to your success?

Good question. In this comprehensive guide, we'll unravel the art of hiring a GREAT bookkeeper. From defining your needs and assessing qualifications to searching for the ideal candidate and ensuring compatibility, we'll walk you through each step of the process. By the end of this journey, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to find not just any bookkeeper, but the perfect fit for your small business.


Defining Your Needs and Requirements

Before you cast your line into the sea of candidates, it's essential to have a clear understanding of what you're fishing for. Defining your needs and requirements for a bookkeeper will help you narrow down your search and reel in the right candidate.

Consider the specific needs and challenges of your business when outlining the qualifications and experience you're looking for in a bookkeeper. Take into account factors such as the size of your business, the complexity of your financial transactions, and any industry-specific knowledge that may be required.

For example, a small retail store may need a bookkeeper with experience in inventory management and sales tracking, while a consulting firm may require someone with knowledge of project-based billing and client invoicing.

Also consider whether or not the bookkeeper needs to be on-site or can you consider remote options? Hiring remote can expand your access to more qualified candidates, especially as the field of bookkeeping has changed to a much more remote approach. Take a moment to think about the specific needs of your business before beginning your search, you won’t regret it. In the meantime, here are some generic qualifications everyone should consider:

  • Experience with Accounting Software: The bookkeeper must be proficient in using accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online, to manage financial transactions and generate reports. A great bookkeeper will also be proficient in supporting software which will streamline accounting processes and can make everyone’s life easier.
  • Reconciliation Skills: The bookkeeper must have experience reconciling bank accounts, credit card statements, and other financial accounts to ensure accuracy in financial records. They should also have tried and tested methods to deal with discrepancies and should be able to easily communicate those discrepancies to you.
  • Industry Knowledge: Depending on the nature of the business, the bookkeeper may need industry-specific knowledge or experience. For example, a manufacturing business may require advanced knowledge of inventory management, while a construction company may need experience with progress billing.
  • Attention to Detail: Accuracy is crucial in bookkeeping, so the bookkeeper must demonstrate a high level of attention to detail in recording and categorizing financial transactions.
  • Communication Skills: The bookkeeper must be able to effectively communicate with team members, clients, and external stakeholders regarding financial matters. This includes clear and concise communication in written and verbal forms. A good bookkeeper should have a thorough understanding of accounting principals and should be able to communicate to the business owner complex financial matters in a way that the business owner can understand.
  • Organization and Time Management: Given the volume of financial transactions in a small business, the bookkeeper should be organized and able to manage their time effectively to meet deadlines and priorities. Don’t hesitate to require that transactions are updated on a schedule that makes sense for the business and that all accounts be reconciled by a deadline.
  • Analytical Skills: The ability to analyze financial data and provide insights or recommendations to improve financial performance is valuable. The bookkeeper should be able to identify trends, anomalies, or areas for improvement in financial reports. They should be able to help make sense of the numbers and provide insight so that you can make better decisions for your business.
  • Adaptability: Small businesses often experience changes and fluctuations in their financial activities. The bookkeeper should be adaptable and able to handle unexpected situations or changes in priorities effectively.

Searching for Candidates

Once you've outlined your needs and requirements for a bookkeeper, it's time to cast a wide net and search for potential candidates. There’s plenty of fish in the sea, but where exactly can you find these fish?

  • Referrals from Colleagues or Business Partners: Don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals. Ask colleagues, business partners, or fellow small business owners if they know any qualified bookkeepers they can recommend. Personal recommendations often come with insights into a candidate's work ethic, reliability, and professionalism.
  • Online Job Boards: Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor are popular platforms for posting job listings and attracting candidates. These platforms allow you to specify your job requirements and reach a wide audience of job seekers actively looking for opportunities.
  • Professional Networking Sites: LinkedIn is not only a job search platform but also a powerful networking tool. Utilize your professional network to connect with potential candidates or ask for referrals from colleagues in similar industries who may know qualified bookkeepers.
  • Local Accounting or Bookkeeping Associations: Many cities have local accounting or bookkeeping associations where professionals in the field gather for networking events, seminars, and workshops. Reach out to these associations to inquire about potential candidates or attend their events to meet bookkeepers in person.
  • Recruitment Agencies or Freelance Platforms: If you're short on time or resources to search for candidates independently, consider working with a recruitment agency specializing in accounting or finance roles. Alternatively, freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr can connect you with freelance bookkeepers who offer their services on a contract basis. Utilize these at your own risk.

By exploring these avenues, you can cast a wide net and increase your chances of finding qualified candidates who meet your needs and requirements. Remember to tailor your job postings and networking efforts to attract candidates with the specific qualifications and experience you're looking for in a bookkeeper.

Screening Candidates

As candidates start rolling in from your job postings and networking efforts, it's time to dive into the screening process. Look for relevant experience in bookkeeping and accounting, as well as proficiency with accounting software such as QuickBooks Online. Pay attention to any industry-specific knowledge or certifications that may be beneficial for your business. Also take note of any software certifications the bookkeeper may possess as these will ensure a deeper knowledge of the software required to complete the job.

While resumes can provide valuable insights into a candidate's qualifications and experience, they don't always tell the full story. Two additional tools you can utilize to help screen your candidates is social media and reviews.

Social Media

Using social media to determine a bookkeeper's qualifications can provide valuable insights into their professional background, skills, and experience. Here's how you can leverage social media platforms effectively:

  • LinkedIn Profile:
    LinkedIn is a professional networking platform where individuals showcase their professional experiences, skills, and qualifications. Review the bookkeeper's LinkedIn profile to gain insights into their education, work history, certifications, and endorsements from colleagues or clients. Look for recommendations or endorsements related to bookkeeping, accounting software proficiency, and other relevant skills.
  • Facebook and Twitter:
    While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are more casual social media platforms, some professionals may still share professional updates or insights related to their work. Search for the bookkeeper's profile on these platforms and review their posts, comments, and interactions related to bookkeeping or accounting topics. Pay attention to any relevant discussions or content they share that demonstrates their expertise in the field.
  • Professional Groups and Communities:
    Joining professional groups or communities related to accounting, bookkeeping, or small business management on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook can provide opportunities to connect with and learn from other professionals in the field. Look for groups or communities where bookkeepers actively participate and engage in discussions, share insights, or ask questions related to bookkeeping practices and challenges. Engage with the bookkeeper in these groups to gain a better understanding of their knowledge, experience, and professionalism.
  • Blogs & Vlogs:
    Some bookkeepers may have videos or blogs where they share how-to’s, case studies, articles, or resources related to bookkeeping and accounting. Explore the bookkeeper's website or blog to see if they have published any content that showcases their expertise, industry knowledge, or problem-solving skills. Reviewing their website can provide additional insights into their qualifications and approach to bookkeeping.

While social media can be a valuable tool for assessing a bookkeeper's qualifications, it's essential to approach this process with caution and professionalism. Focus on reviewing relevant professional information and content related to their work, and consider how their online presence aligns with your business's needs and expectations.

Online Reviews

In today's digital age, online reviews can offer valuable insights into a candidate's reputation and past performance. Google and Yelp are top sites for finding reviews, but platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor often feature reviews and endorsements from previous employers or clients. Take the time to read through these reviews to get a sense of the candidate's strengths, areas for improvement, and overall professionalism.

While online reviews should be considered as part of your screening process, it's essential to take them with a grain of salt. Not all reviews may be accurate or representative of the candidate's true capabilities. However, they can provide valuable context and additional information to complement your assessment of the candidate's qualifications based on their resume and interview performance.

Conducting Interviews

If the bookkeeping position is an in-house position, then you would conduct traditional interviews with your candidates. However, if you are outsourcing to a bookkeeping company or a remote bookkeeper, interviews often are conducted during the initial discovery or consultation call. During this consultation, the bookkeeper will be seeking information from the business owner about the nature of the business and the level of bookkeeping and tasks required, plus identifying any industry-specific requirements or complexities that may be involved. HUGE RED FLAG: If the bookkeeper isn’t asking a lot of questions to get to understand you and your business and the job you require, they may not be qualified or interested in the work.

While the consultation is an opportunity for the bookkeeper to learn about the business and the business owner, it’s also the business owner’s chance to interview the bookkeeper. Prepare a set of questions that will help you evaluate their experience, skills, and problem-solving abilities. Ask about their experience with bookkeeping tasks, their familiarity with accounting software, and how they handle challenging situations in a small business environment. Here are some sample questions to help get you started:

  • Can you describe your experience with bookkeeping and accounting tasks?
  • What accounting software are you proficient in? Do you have any certifications? For example, “Do you use Quickbooks Online and are you an Advanced Certified ProAdvisor?”
  • How do you ensure accuracy and completeness in financial records and reports?
  • Can you provide examples of your experience in reconciling accounts and identifying discrepancies? How do you handle those discrepancies?
  • How do you stay updated with accounting regulations and best practices?
  • Can you walk me through a situation where you encountered a complex accounting issue and how you resolved it?
  • How do you prioritize tasks and manage deadlines in a fast-paced environment?
  • What strategies do you use to communicate effectively with clients or colleagues about financial matters?
  • Can you provide references from previous employers or clients?

These are just some generic questions to help get you started. Much of this information may already be offered by the bookkeeper prior to asking. Feel free to add your own specific questions to this list, especially if your industry requires specialized knowledge and accounting practices.

Checking References and Evaluating Compatibility

Before making a final decision, check references provided by the candidates to verify their work history and performance. This is typically done when hiring an individual employee, although there are ways to check the references of a bookkeeping company as well, if you’re outsourcing. Reach out to previous employers or colleagues to gain insights into their work ethic, reliability, and professionalism. Again, social media and online reviews may be a tool to utilize to verify their work history and performance, but should be taken with a grain of salt.

Additionally, consider factors such as their communication style, flexibility, and ability to work effectively with your team to ensure they're the right fit for your business. These tips are generally tilted toward hiring a bookkeeper as an employee, but they can be adapted for outsourcing the work as well:

  • Conduct Multiple Interviews:
    Schedule multiple interviews with the candidate to get to know them better. Use these opportunities to discuss their background, experience, work approach, and compatibility with your business. Be reasonable with this, but if the job is very large or complex, conduct your due diligence to get the right person.
  • Ask Behavioral Interview Questions:
    Use behavioral interview questions to assess how the candidate has handled situations in the past that are relevant to the role of a bookkeeper. For example, you could ask about a time when they had to adapt to changes in a previous role or how they handled a challenging client interaction.
  • Discuss Work Style and Preferences:
    During the consultation, discuss the candidate's work style, preferences, and expectations. Ask about their preferred communication methods, work hours, and approach to handling tasks and deadlines.
  • Assess Compatibility with Your Business Culture:
    Evaluate how well the candidate's values, work ethic, and personality align with your business culture. Consider factors such as teamwork, collaboration, and adaptability to your business environment.
  • Conduct a Trial Period or Project:
    Consider offering the candidate a trial period or project to assess their compatibility before making a final hiring decision. This allows you to evaluate their performance and fit within your business without making a long-term commitment.
  • Trust Your Instincts:
    Trust your instincts and intuition when evaluating compatibility with a candidate. Pay attention to your gut feelings and any red flags that may arise during the hiring process.

Hiring A Remote Bookkeeper

The industry of accounting and bookkeeping has undergone a major shift in the past several years. It is increasingly more common that bookkeepers, especially for small businesses, are working remote. Hiring a remote bookkeeper introduces additional considerations compared to hiring an in-house bookkeeper. Here are some key factors to take into account:

  • Technology and Software Compatibility:
    Ensure that the remote bookkeeper uses accounting software that is compatible with your business needs and preferences. Verify that the company has secure systems and protocols in place to protect your financial data and ensure confidentiality.
  • Communication and Collaboration:
    Evaluate the remote bookkeeper's communication processes and tools. Clear and frequent communication is essential for effective collaboration, so ensure that you have established channels for communication, such as email, phone calls, video conferences, or project management platforms. Discuss expectations regarding response times, availability for meetings or updates, and how the company will keep you informed about the status of your financial records.
  • Remote Work Experience:
    Consider their experience and track record in providing remote services. Ask about their experience working with remote clients and their ability to adapt to remote work environments. Inquire about their infrastructure, technology, and remote work policies to ensure they have the necessary resources and capabilities to support remote collaboration effectively.
  • Security and Data Protection:
    Verify that the remote bookkeeper has robust security measures in place to protect your financial data. This includes encryption protocols, secure data transmission methods, and compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA, if applicable. Ask about their data backup procedures and disaster recovery plans to ensure that your financial records are safeguarded against potential threats or incidents.
  • Contract and Service Agreement:
    Review the terms of the contract or service agreement carefully before engaging a remote bookkeeping company. Ensure that it outlines the scope of services, fees, payment terms, confidentiality clauses, and other important terms and conditions. Clarify any questions or concerns you may have about the contract and seek legal advice if necessary to ensure that your interests are protected.

By considering these factors and conducting thorough due diligence, you can find a reliable and trustworthy remote bookkeeper that meets your business's needs and provides high-quality services.


Hiring a great bookkeeper is not merely about finding someone to manage your financial records; it's about securing a trusted partner who will navigate the complexities of your business's financial landscape with precision and care. Throughout this guide, we've explored the essential steps and considerations for finding the perfect fit for your small business.

From defining your needs and assessing qualifications to ensuring compatibility, each aspect of the hiring process plays a crucial role in finding a bookkeeper who will elevate your financial management and contribute to your business's success. Take the time to evaluate candidates carefully, ask the right questions, and prioritize compatibility with your business culture and values.

We hope that this guide will cut through the ocean of candidates and make hiring your next bookkeeper like shooting fish in a barrel. If you still feel overwhelmed, give us a call, we’re happy to have a consultation with you and guide you on your way!



Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Consult with a qualified professional for personalized guidance tailored to your specific situation.