How to hire a bookkeeper - Part III - Experience

Experience –Second to education when choosing a bookkeeper is experience. There are two things to look for when reviewing a candidate’s experience:

  1. The first being length of time as a full-charge bookkeeper. What is a full charge bookkeeper? A full-charge bookkeeper should be able to handle the following accounting duties:
    1. Accounts Receivable
    2. Accounts Payable
    3. Bank/Credit Card/Loan Reconciliations
    4. Payroll Entry/Processing
    5. General Journal Entries
    6. Amortization of loans
    7. Depreciation Entries
    8. Preparation of financial statements including Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet & Statement of Cash Flows. 

    Generally you are looking for a candidate who has performed the aforementioned tasks while at a company in the same industry as yours. I have underlined this as it is vital to choosing a candidate who will easily transition into your business as they have experience working within your industry. Industry can be as broad as Service, Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing but in certain cases it may be necessary for them to have experience within your specific industry. If you are an Attorney you will want to find someone who has experience handling the books of an attorney or law firm as there are certain tasks in this industry which are not found in others such as handling Escrow accounts. If a bookkeeper has experience in all of the tasks of a full-charge bookkeeper but not in your industry you may want to consider another candidate.

  1. The second thing to look for when reviewing a candidates experience is their experience with multiple types of companies in multiple industries including your own. This is important as if a bookkeeper has successfully managed the bookkeeping for several types of companies it shows their ability to adapt as well as their understanding of the accounting system (as previously mentioned, this is the ability to see the complete “picture.”) Of course you will need to be careful not to confuse experience in industries with “job” hopping. You do not want to hire someone who is ultimately going to leave your organization in a short period of time costing you weeks or even months of wasted time and productivity training that person. So, make sure you also pay attention to the length of time they have stayed at each job, as you would when hiring any new employee.