Is your bookkeeper leaving? Here's what you need to do

Having your book-keeper walk out on you, whether planned or unplanned, can be worrying. As if you don’t have enough on your plate as a busy entrepreneur, now you have to manage the accounts yourself too?

But there’s another way to look at it. Try to see this bump in the road as an opportunity to re-evaluate your finance operation, and make decisions that will save you time, effort and cost in the long run.

Stop and think

Before you place that job ad, first assess the need. Bookkeeping is a role on the front line of being automated out of existence, or at least into a completely different role and skillset . This isn’t “the robots are coming!” dramatics - this is really happening right now. So deciding to re-hire for an old-style job that is heavily involved in data processing may not be the best decision for your business.

Take a look around your finance office. Are there shelves and shelves of lever arch files full of invoices and other paperwork?

Are there paperwork trays on the desks?

Is the printer busy?

Do you have a storage unit for older files?

If the answer is mostly yes, then you need to stop and think. Realise that you are running an “old-school” operation, and as a result, are missing out of the valuable benefits of software and automation

Re-evaluate your existing finance processes

Here are 8 signs your finance processes need a refresh:

●     You sign off the bank reconciliation on paper, or by approving a spreadsheet

●     You physically sign invoices to approve them for payment

●     It takes ages to get the accounts turned round at the month end

●     Your board pack is assembled in Excel and/or Powerpoint

●     Work stops when your bookkeeper is off sick/on leave/or out-of-office

●     You can’t log in to your finance system to see what is going on

●     Sales invoices are generated in Word or Excel, and then typed into the accounts system

●     You have to log in to the business bank account to find out your balance

These are all warning signs that you’re running an inefficient and out-of-date finance operation that may be perfectly "correct and competent" but costly, rigid and poor at supporting your growing business.

If this is your situation, you should consider moving to a cloud-based and paperless accounting system so as to benefit from greater transparency, efficiency and business resilience. Automation also enables zero-entry accounting, so all your processes (including payments, payroll and tracking) can keep going regardless of human resources.

Consider a replacement

When looking to replace your book-keeper, you’ll want to hire for high-level skills and expertise, including:

●     High proficiency and in-depth expertise in the accounting software you (will) use

●     The ability to design and automate processes without jeopardising financial control

●     Ingenious data and process engineering skills

●     Professional qualifications that are maintained and enhanced continuously

However, you’ll also want to think about attitude, motivation and behaviour. How will you ensure your bookkeeper stays on top of industry and tech trends in order to innovate to consistently save you time and money?

How will you guarantee that your book-keeper has excellent communication and relationship management skills so that everything in your business runs harmoniously?

How will you make sure that your book-keeper’s work is reviewed and validated by an experienced and highly skilled accountant, and that their professional skills are kept up to date?

If you want to reduce costs, speed up the month end, and gain better insights into how your company is doing, an attractive alternative is to outsource your accounting.

Why you should consider outsourcing your accounting

Outsourcing your finance function is increasingly becoming the smart option for fast-growing and entrepreneurial businesses. Outsourcing allows you to tap into a wider range of finance expertise whilst reducing the burden of hiring, training and retaining staff.

A good outsourced book-keeper will:

●     Use the latest technology to automate everything possible, and pass the savings on to you

●     Work with a wide variety of clients and deploy that additional knowledge and experience to your business’ advantage

●     Integrate seamlessly with your in-house teams, and provide cover when staff are away

●     Bring in experienced and specialist resource from their network to support more complex work

●     Speed up the monthly close and reporting cycle

●     ...And ultimately, reduce the cost of running your finance system whilst increasing the value for you

Depending on your situation, hiring another in-house book-keeper might not be the best business decision. If you do want to consider outsourcing, we at Finling can help.

We help fast-growing businesses escape financial struggle and scale successfully by providing a fully operational finance team for a fixed monthly fee. You can count on us to support your company at each stage in your business lifecycle with cloud-based bookkeeping, tax advisory and financial planning services. Our team are genuinely obsessed with all things tech that can help to streamline our clients’ finances as well as our own internal processes.

Is your book-keeper leaving? Don’t panic - get in touch with us today

Katy Carlisle