• Laura Keeble

Why do I need a bookkeeper?

Good bookkeeping is an essential part of any successful business. A business owner needs to have a clear picture of how the business is performing financially, to enable them to make the right decisions on the direction to take the business, the improvements they could be making and to be aware of any challenges they could be facing.

There is a wide range of accounting software available now which can compile all of your accounting records in a straightforward, user friendly way. For smaller businesses, a simple bookkeeping spreadsheet may be sufficient for the accurate record keeping you need.

For many business owners, the bookkeeping is something they are happy to manage online, on their own rather than hiring a bookkeeper. But it is worth considering the benefits of outsourcing to a bookkeeper though.

Firstly, think about how much time it takes to do the bookkeeping, and when are you fitting this in? If you are taking time out of your workday to get the books up to date, this is time you are doing essential work for the business, but you’re also not being productive and generating more income in that time. Or maybe you have a look at the accounts during your evenings and weekends. You’re maximising your weekday working time focusing on your work, but should your work/home life balance really suffer for this? Running your own business is hard work, you’ve earned your free time and should be able to relax and enjoy it without worrying about getting your figures ready for that looming VAT return deadline.

For others, the thought of doing the bookkeeping themselves is a daunting prospect, and an added stress that they just don’t need. So give yourself a break and hand it over to a bookkeeper who would love to get stuck in.

Although hiring a bookkeeper may be an additional cost which you don’t currently have, the benefits can far outweigh the cost. Your accounting records need to be correct and accurate, so having a dedicated bookkeeper looking after them means they will have the time, skills and knowledge to ensure everything is right and give you the information you need to be able make important decisions and to see how the business is performing. You may think you’ve got it under control, but if a common mistake is being made, this can distort the figures and could be more costly for your accountant to find and correct at the end of the year.

Used to it’s full potential and with accurate data entered in, accounting software can provide all the information you need, when you need it. So it’s worth having an experienced bookkeeper handling the information so that you know you’re getting the best out of it.

You can concentrate on what you do best and bringing in the money, while your bookkeeper is happily working on those numbers for you. That’s one stress off your mind, knowing the information will be there when you need it and your helpful bookkeeper is always on hand to answer your questions.

What does a bookkeeper do?

Different bookkeepers may vary the services they will offer but in general, you can expect them to:

· Manage and record your sales and purchase invoices

· Keep an eye on the outstanding invoices and let you know if you’ve missed paying any suppliers or if any customers are late in paying you (and can chase up customer payments for you if required)

· Record all bank transactions and reconcile the bank accounts

· Maintain accurate and up to date accounts

· Prepare and submit VAT returns

· Prepare and submit CIS returns

· Process payroll

· Provide accounting reports, cashflow statements and forecasts and budgeting where required

· Prepare the accounts ready for handing over to your accountant, saving them time on processing, adjusting or correcting the data before they can produce your final accounts

A bookkeeper doesn’t have to be just keeping a record of the business incomings and outgoings. They can work with you to become a valuable asset by using that information to provide you with information and reporting to help you to understand how your business is performing, where your money is going and see which areas you may need to focus on to be able to improve growth and profitability.

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