business relationship

“How much do you cost?” Why This Isn’t the First Question to Ask a Bookkeeper

Cost matters. But what’s more important is what value you’re receiving in exchange for that cost whether it be a product or service.

Here’s the thing. When you start with “how much,” focusing only on the dollar and cents, you remove the value behind the service and make interactions purely transactional. And bookkeeping shouldn’t be purely transactional.

Bookkeepers provide so much value to any business, helping to decode the story of the business through numbers. This makes them an incredible asset as they provide you with knowledge on your company’s growth, while ensuring you understand exactly what the numbers are saying. We encourage you to think about bookkeeping from a value perspective rather than a cost one. It’s all about having a consultancy and growth mindset over a transactional one when it comes to your business’s financials. While you may be hesitant to spend money on bookkeeping, having a trusted bookkeeper will ultimately help you save money in the short- and long-term. You’ll be able to make more sound financial decisions and use your time to tackle other business-related items and opportunities. 

What, then, should you ask a potential bookkeeper if it’s not “how much?” A few of the more value-based ones include:

“How frequently will I be able to see my reporting of the business operations?”

More opportunities will present itself the more in tune you are with the business operations. This means having conversations with your bookkeeper to help you understand what the numbers are saying and find areas of improvement or opportunity within the business. You can make well-informed decisions that have been adequately thought-out rather than winging it based on out-dated information. Like anything in life, it’s easier to make decisions when you have the knowledge and a plan behind your decisions.

“It is important for me to be compliant in my operations. Can you help me with that?”

When it comes to ensuring business compliance, a large part of a bookkeeper’s job is to ensure your company’s financials, accounting processes, reporting procedures, and tax structures abide by the guidelines and standards set out by the CRA and/or other governing bodies. With their knowledge and expertise, they are fully equipped to ensure your company is set up for success while still following the rules. Assuming they have this expertise, the key here is to then determine whether they will be a trusted partner for you such that you can ask in-depth business questions to increase efficiency, productivity and cash flow.

“What kind of service packages do you offer?”

You need to ensure you are getting the full value of a bookkeeper, and that means asking the right questions. Deciding what types of reports you will get and ensuring a bookkeeper will take the time to review the information with you is crucial. You’re not expected to know everything, so you should feel comfortable to ask your bookkeeper any questions, and your bookkeeper should be able to provide an answer based off the numbers. It’s also worth mentioning that the numerical story you are told may not always be ideal. However, determining why that is the case and how to improve the number is much more valuable.

It’s important to understand that it is a symbiotic relationship between you and your bookkeeper. As a business owner, you need to explain your business to the bookkeeper, including how all the reporting is currently completed. There will be a learning phase, but it will ensure your bookkeeper confidently understands your business and its operations.

“How do you charge for your services?”

We continue to stress the importance of bookkeeping because we truly believe it’s a foundational pillar in a successful business. Bookkeeping is more of a value-priced package rather than an hourly cost, hence why we encourage you not to ask a bookkeeper how much they charge. A monthly fee allows a business owner to talk to their bookkeeper without fear of being charged for extra time.

If you aren’t just looking for a new bookkeeper, but considering changing bookkeepers, ask yourself, “Why?”

If the answer is “cost,” then identify why that is by looking into your relationship with your bookkeeper. It’s important for a business owner to shift their mindset from cost-driven to value-driven. If you encompass a value-driven mindset, then a new bookkeeper may be what you need and can add significant value to your business if your current bookkeeper doesn’t add this same value.

A bookkeeper will give you a clear picture of your company’s health, which is the biggest value you will receive as a business owner. You will ask more questions and think less about the cost. That in itself will yield better business operations and overall success.

If you’re curious to learn more about the value of a bookkeeper or are looking for ways to increase your company’s efficiency and productivity, contact Priority Business Solutions today.

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