Did you tell yourself it’d be different this year? Did you have big plans for keeping up with your books each and every month? Like, did you write the word “FINANCES” into your Google calendar every other week in a moment of bravado?
Now that it’s September, here’s a question …
How’s that working out for you?
You got a little behind again, didn’t you? And by “a little,” you mean, “a lot.” (Like, starting in February.)
That’s okay. I’m not one of those people who will tell you to work against your style and get better at being organized, or worse, learn how to do your numbers! I’m not here to add to your pain. I’m here to relieve it.
So, I’m betting you didn’t start your business because of your financial prowess. (As evidenced by the receipts jammed in your purse, the mileage log you forgot to keep, and those six invoices you never sent to clients.)
You started your business because of your ideas and your passion.
Problem is, as things get more successful, things also get more complex. Which means invoices, receipts, P&L’s, Quickbooks, tracking and metrics.
And even if they aren’t that complex yet, you still don’t do this one thing you know you should do.
Well, here’s what you’re going to do to free up your energy, creativity and focus.
You’re going to hire a bookkeeper.
A bookkeeper will not only relieve you of this energy-sucking duty, but a bookkeeper will remove this pattern of convincing yourself that you can save a few bucks by doing your own numbers. (And the illusion that it doesn’t take all that much of your time.)
TRUTH: You can spend your time learning a lot of organizing, track-your-numbers information. (Which takes time away from, you know, MAKING the money you’re trying to manage!) Or you can get hands-on help.
Remember, you can’t scale your business unless you off-load the stuff that doesn’t create income.
So let’s make this simple. Here are 5 non-negotiable steps to hire bookkeeper for your business. (Please don’t glaze over and say “yeah yeah yeah.” These guidelines (and cheat sheet!) will truly make this easy on you.)
Step #1: Require Experience with Solo Business Owners
This is non-negotiable.
As a solo-entrepreneur (artist, designer, coach or consultant), you’re a different breed. You run your own business. That means there are two critical factors you need from a bookkeeper:
- – Experience with solo businesses
- – The ability to explain financial concepts in everyday language.
INTERVIEW CHEAT SHEET:
Step 2: Get Clear on Technical Skills
Note: You, the owner, should not have to take a class or online training just so you can work with your new bookkeeper.
The very reason you’re hiring this bookkeeper is because you want to avoid having to learn a new skillset and all the new software therein. So, ask which programs s/he uses, and see if s/he can teach you how to use them as well.
INTERVIEW CHEAT SHEET:
Step 3: Require Trustworthiness
The most common question I get from clients when they’re considering a bookkeeper is about trust. “How do I know this person isn’t a thief, or manipulative, or won’t share all my secrets with others?”
Well, start by taking a strategic approach in your vetting process:
✔️ Get at least 3 references (and call them!).
✔️ Get a list of the kinds of businesses they’ve served.
✔️ Get detailed information about their process of working with clients.*
*In other words, make sure they take their business seriously enough to have trustworthy systems. For example, if you ask how s/he receives payment, and s/he says something like, “Just pay me whenever,” that’s a red flag. You need a professional who uses systems, not someone who’s making it up as they go! (That’s what you do, remember? And you don’t want that same kind of chaos from someone who is trying to help you be more orderly.)
Step 4: Desired Personality Traits
Don’t hire a jerk.
Don’t hire someone who talks down to you or judges you.
And don’t hire someone who is too much like you. (No offense. But you suck at this stuff.)
Personality is the most important aspect of your bookkeeper so use the cheat sheet questions and look for red flags.
INTERVIEW CHEAT SHEET:
Step 5: Get Clear On their Services
A great bookkeeper doesn’t just keep your books. They can give you guidance and be kind of a financial coach as well.
Ask your bookkeeper:
- Will s/he provide you with articles, books, or materials to help you learn?
- What kind of coaching s/he does to help you understand your own finances?
- Is she willing to check in on a more frequent basis at first so that you can get regular feedback or ask questions?
Okay my friend – you’re ready. This will get you started. Now, go make this happen. You’ll thank me next year!
But for now, let’s have a bit of fun…
Share one embarrassing moment in your financial history that really proves just how bad you are at this job of tracking, systematizing and keeping up with your financials…