You think I’m exaggerating? Well, in my experience, a good finance team is vital to the success of a business; and for many small businesses a bookkeeper, be they in house or contract, is the finance team.
Whatever way your business interacts with the outside world (buying, selling, paying wages), it must be recorded in the accounts, and each entry flows through to all the tax returns and financial statements you have to prepare to stay legal. A great bookkeeper keeps that running smoothly, a poor one can cause a whole heap of trouble.
But more than staying legal - don’t ever underestimate the value to a business of: a well-run sales ledger with happy customers paying on time; a well-run purchase ledger where suppliers value and trust their own customer i.e. you; timely, accurate management info that allows good business decision making. These things really can be the difference between a business thriving and failing, long before the ink dries on your year-end accounts.
Sadly, many people don’t fully understand what bookkeeping is about and why it matters. All too often the books of a business are done by the “wrong” person:
- The founder – madness. Their time should be spent doing what they are best at – GROWING THE BUSINESS;
- The founder’s spouse - do they have the skills, time, inclination, temperament to do this well? Sometime yes, often no;
- The lucky admin hire who drifted into it because the founder or the founder’s spouse finally threw in the bookkeeping towel;
- Sorry bookkeeping profession, but I have to say this - an under-qualified “bookkeeper”.
Bookkeeping is a skill, I might even suggest an art form, and requires training and experience. Lots of experience. It lays down the foundation on which financial statements and tax filings are built. If you put rubbish in, you will undoubtedly get rubbish out.
Merryhill have seen many situations where the wrong bookkeeper has almost brought a business to its knees, and we love nothing more than rolling up our sleeves and sorting out those pickles. But it can be tricky and time-consuming to unravel. Far better to get the foundations sound in the first place.
Go on, find your business a business hero before the cavalry is needed.