“Receptionist needed. QuickBooks a plus.”
I see ads like this all the time. All. The. Time. When I do, all I can think is, “Really? You’re going to entrust one of the most important aspects of your business to someone who might count bookkeeping as a secondary skill to what you’re actually hiring them to do?”
The basic accounting and day-to-day bookkeeping is the backbone of every business. As such, it should be right there at the top of the business owner’s to-do list.
Unfortunately, that’s not often the case. As a rule, entrepreneurs are a rather stubborn bunch (which is another article all on its own); they feel the need to handle this aspect of their business themselves. You can tell them over and over and over that what they’re doing isn’t in their best interest, but some entrepreneurs just need to get to that place on their own. I’m a perfect example. It took me forever to realize that I needed to hire a marketing firm because my efforts were more effective when channeled into other aspects of my business.
Consider a consultant
Small businesses are more likely to succeed when they work with an accounting professional. If you’re not in a position to keep a pro on staff, consider working with a consultant. My suggestion is to find someone who has the technological savvy to seek out solutions for your business.
Contract an accounting pro you feel comfortable with and who can understand what you do and the direction you want to take your business.
They’ll do more than help you create a chart of accounts; they’ll work with you to set up your entire front and back offices — including accounting and bookkeeping technology — fine-tune your workflow, and determine the best procedures. Once you’re set up, a good accounting professional can do your books, help you analyze the numbers, and work with you to plan and set goals.
Evaluate and adjust
This is key: constantly evaluate your systems and make adjustments when needed. Ask your employees, clients, customers and vendors for input on the process. What’s working? What isn’t? What are their suggestions for making improvements? Bring this information back to your advisors and invest the time (and money!) into your business to make improvements. Budget for quarterly meetings with this team and make it a part of your plan for growth from very early on.
Make it a team effort
In addition to an accounting consultant, you might consult with legal and technology pros — expertise that most small businesses need but can’t afford to keep on the books. A team of top-notch advisors will help ensure your success. Most of the successes that I’ve seen over the last 20 years — as a small business employee, owner and consultant — have largely resulted from the principals recognizing the need to work with some sort of accounting professional and/or business counselor.
You can’t run a business in vacuum, so get help — and be ready to pay for it. Set aside budget for a consultant or seek out alternative resources such as the local Small Business Development Center and SCORE offices. However you do it, why not tip the scales in favor of your success?