Does your bookkeeper charge you an arm and a leg for his/her services? Are you sick of receiving bookkeeping bills that make your stomach turn and steam come out of your ears? Never fear, there is a way to pay your bookkeeper much less but still ensure your accounts are kept in tip top shape! The answer lies in the concept of TIME. In short, the more time your bookkeeper has to spend on your books, the more you will pay. Obvious right? So how can you help your bookkeeper save time and in turn save you money? Here are 6 tips to get you started:
- It is important to document a system or process in your business for your bookkeeping which includes details about how you will work with your bookkeeper. If your bookkeeper is clear about what is expected of him/her this will remove the need for constant discussions, meetings and questioning for which many bookkeepers on-charge.
- As part of the system, work out how you will provide source documents to your bookkeeper. Will you send hard copies via snail mail? Will you share soft copies via apps like Dropbox or Google Drive?
- Put aside a pocket of time each week to organise your source documents for the bookkeeper. If these will be posted, keep them in an envelope ready to post when the time comes. If you are sharing electronically, scan the documents into your chosen app and advise your bookkeeper that you have done so.
Respond to email and/or phone queries from your bookkeeper promptly. Most bookkeepers will charge for telephone calls and emailing so it makes sense to answer messages quickly. Don’t make the bookkeeper chase you for information – the more he/she has to call and email you, the more you will be charged.
Use accounting software that offers bank feed features. Bank feeds eliminate a lot of data entry which saves the bookkeeper so much time, time that is no longer charged to you!
Do your own data entry
Enter your own bills and sales invoices and just engage your bookkeeper to check over the accounts monthly or quarterly before the BAS is prepared. This system saves your bookkeeper so much time and is therefore far more cost-effective. For example, one of our clients for whom we do all data entry and BAS preparation is spending upwards of $700 per month whereas another client who enters his own data during the quarter and then asks us to prepare his BAS only, usually spends approximately $200 per quarter. That’s a big difference – think about it!
Prepare the paperwork
Many bookkeepers have to charge for the time they spend sorting out your documents and then trying to understand how they “fit” into your accounts. I advise that if you prepared your paperwork properly before posting or sharing it with your bookkeeper, you would definitely see some cost savings. This is because your bookkeeper would spend far less time chasing you for explanations and further information, time which is on-charged to you! Before posting or scanning your invoices, receipts etc. try the following:
- Order all invoices and receipts by date – speeds up data entry immensely.
- On your bank statements, write notes next to ambiguous transaction descriptions (you know, the ones that say “Netbank transfer” or just a series of numbers etc.). Explain what was purchased (or received), from whom and why.
- Write notes on loose receipts that don’t contain a lot of information. Sometimes receipts only show a date, an amount and payment type like cash or credit card; there is little or no information about what was purchased and for what reason. Just a short written description will make your bookkeeper’s job so much easier.
- Supply paperwork for major capital purchases and any loan documentation associated with them.
No creative bookkeeping!
If you don’t know where a transaction should go, post it to a suspense (query) account so your bookkeeper can sort it out for you at month or quarter end. Don’t attempt any “creative bookkeeping” yourself – the time it will take the bookkeeper to firstly track down the error and then rectify it, will obviously be on-charged to you and if the error is complex, the amount of time spent could be quite lengthy.
If you want to pay your bookkeeper less, you need to do more than you are doing right now. Yep, you need to pull up your sleeves and get stuck in! You need to learn how to save your bookkeeper time because let’s face it, time is money! My 6 time-saving tips will get you started and will help to keep those bookkeeping charges down.
Do you try to do things to help your bookkeeper spend less time on your books? If so, what are they – feel free to share your tips in the comment section below.