So you’ve decided to outsource your bookkeeping tasks to a service… but now you’re faced with deciding which one. Here are five tips on how to choose the right service for you…and how to decide against the wrong service.
1 – Ask your colleagues for recommendations. If they use a bookkeeping service and are happy with it, that’s a pretty strong recommendation. It’s even better if this colleague is in the same or an allied field as you are. If you are using the bookkeeping service only for payroll, this is less relevant; but if you plan to utilize them for anything industry-specific (e.g. inventory control), familiarity with your industry, while not essential, is helpful.
2 – Ask for references. Yes, we all know about phony references, and the company that writes so glowingly about the bookkeeping service may in fact be owned by the service owner’s brother-in-law, but you have to start somewhere, and while a reference is no ironclad guarantee, it helps.
3 – Don’t hold out for a local company. A company halfway across the country can, in these electronic days, handle your needs just as competently, perhaps even better. An offshore company may be able to do it just as well and for a lower cost, as long as they are familiar with local payroll taxation rates and laws.
4 – Interview the company owner. (This can be done by email or by phone. A phone interview is still possible even if the service is offshore, especially if you both have Skype.) The company owner should be knowledgeable about the service s/he is providing, even if s/he is not the actual provider. That is, the company owner may have 30 bookkeeping workers employed at his service, and may do none of the work himself, but he should still be familiar with terms and procedures relevant to bookkeeping in general and your company’s needs in specific.
5 – Ask a question or two about their other clients and listen carefully to the answers. Does the service owner say anything indiscreet that compromises the confidentiality of that company’s information? If so, don’t hire that service.