How to hire bookkeepers
Looking to reduce the administrative overhead of tracking cash flow within your business? A freelance bookkeeper can help you get organized and balance the books.
沙巴体育足球开户So how do you find a freelance bookkeeper? What follows are some tips on finding top bookkeepers on Upwork.
How to shortlist bookkeeping professionals
As you’re browsing available bookkeeping consultants, it can be helpful to develop a shortlist of the freelancers you may want to interview. You can screen profiles on criteria such as:
- Industry fit.You want a bookkeeper who understands the tax nuances of bookkeeping for your industry.
- Software. Do you use FreshBooks, Billy, QuickBooks, or other accounting software? You want a bookkeeper who can slide right into your existing workflow.
- Feedback. Check reviews from past clients for glowing testimonials or red flags that can tell you what it’s like to work with a particular bookkeeper.
How to write an effective bookkeeping job post
Questions to ask before writing a bookkeeper project description
沙巴体育足球开户Before posting a job, consider these questions:
- What’s my budget?
- What kind of financial or bookkeeping functions do I need help with?
- Do I need an expert who already has experience working with other clients in my industry?
- Do I need the bookkeeper to have any formal training in finance? Those with degrees within the field may have a better overall knowledge of advanced tasks like loan packaging or preparing business plans.
- Do I prefer any professional certifications? While this isn’t necessary, belonging to a professional organization, such as the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers, can reflect a deeper commitment to the field.
- Does my business use bookkeeping software they need to be familiar with? Since there are many different types of accounting and bookkeeping software on the market (QuickBooks and Xero are two popular options), it may make sense to include this as a requirement in your posting.
Sample bookkeeper project description
Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.
Your job post needs to clearly answer three questions:
- What do you need done?
- When do you need it?
- What are the start and end dates for your project?
沙巴体育足球开户Answering these questions with the pertinent details can not only help you attract more qualified talent, since potential partners will be able to assess whether they’re a good match. You’ll also receive more accurate proposals.
Here’s how it may look:
Title: Seeking Bookkeeping for Rail Equipment Broker
We are currently seeking a freelance bookkeeper with expertise in payroll, accounts receivable, expense reports, and filing monthly taxes. The ideal professional will be very well organized.
- General ledger
- Send invoices and keep track of monthly accounts receivable
- Write checks to vendors and other accounts payable
- Track and approving expense reports
- Excel magician preferred!
- Expertise with 1099 payroll, ADP, and accounts receivable
- An expert with QuickBooks
- Please include “Star Wars” in your proposal title
- Certification from bookkeeping association a plus
- Experience with shipping and transportation industry a plus
In your proposal, include a short description of your experience as a bookkeeper and why we should consider you. Also, tell us about a previous project and how your skills made an impact on that business. Please submit your proposal by [month], [date], [year].
Did you notice the unusual item under requirements? Yes, asking to include “Star Wars” in the proposal. Adding things like this is optional, but when you need someone detailed, it’s a good way to see if they’re observant and follow instructions well. It’s also a quick way to filter through a pile of proposals.
Ready to get your books in order? Log in and post your bookkeeping job on Upwork today.
What does a bookkeeper do?
A bookkeeper handles more clerical work than an accountant, although their services do overlap. Bookkeepers will record and deliver the numbers—all of your day-to-day transactions and expenses. They generate the data that gets handed over to an accountant for more high-level analysis. They’ll also help you with:
- Organizing receipts
- Recording expenses
- Paying for everyday expenditures
- Recording forms of income
- Verifying deposits and other transactions
- Balancing bank accounts
- Billing clients directly
- Managing past-due accounts
- Preparing monthly financial statements
- Handling payroll and withholding taxes
Why hire bookkeepers?
The trick to finding top bookkeepers is to identify your needs. Will they be entering data into an existing ledger, or is this your first time setting up a bookkeeping system? Will your bookkeeper also be responsible for your monthly tax filings? The cost of your bookkeeping project will depend largely on your scope of work and the specific skills needed to bring your project to life.
How much does it cost to hire a bookkeeper?
Project type and scope
沙巴体育足球开户Determine types of services you’ll need. A bookkeeper can step in and handle many of the organizational aspects of the business such as generating financial reports, handling payroll, and dealing with accounts payable/receivable, freeing you up to focus on the daily operation of your business and continuing to grow it. Some of these will fall into the weekly or monthly category; others will be daily or quarterly. Make a list of what you need them to do and how frequently you need it done.
沙巴体育足球开户Skilled bookkeeping pros on Upwork can provide many different important services, whether it’s getting you organized for tax season or helping you stay on top of invoicing during busy times of year.
The next step in estimating a budget (and also the type of contract) is to determine whether you need a freelance bookkeeper for occasional projects or ongoing, day-to-day tracking of income and expenditures. Depending on your needs, you can hire a bookkeeper on a per-project basis and pay them hourly, or go with a fixed-price. If you need a bookkeeper for ongoing services, you may want to consult your human resources partner or another advisor to verify the worker’s classification. Some other questions to ask yourself:
- Is this for an Ad Hoc project or ongoing accounting operations?
- If it’s ongoing, for how long? Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly?
- What services will they be perform?
- What areas of the work you will delegate to them vs. continue to do on your own?
- Is any specific system access required?
- Do they need to have any advanced accounting skills?
- Do they need to know a specific software?
Experience and expertise
Do you need a bookkeeper with advanced training, specialized experience, or an advanced degree? This will also affect their rate, and your budget. Some bookkeepers may have advanced training or a degree in a field such as accounting, finance, or business administration. Others may specialize in certain job sectors such as law, health care, or automotive, which would give them certain insights that could make them a great fit for your project.
沙巴体育足球开户Those with specialized degrees may have a better overall (or more specific) knowledge of advanced work like loan packaging or preparing business plans. Do you prefer any professional certifications? While this isn’t necessary, belonging to an organization like the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers can show a deeper commitment to the field.
Typical Rates Charged by Bookkeepers*
|Type of Bookkeeper||Average Hourly Rate|
|Bookkeeper (Data Entry, Excel)||$10-35|
|Senior bookkeeper (Some accounting skills)||$40-75|
|Bookkeeper and Accountant||$20-150+|
沙巴体育足球开户*Reflect rates charged by freelancers on Upwork in North America with over 1,000 hours and 90% success rate.
Complexity of your business’s finance and taxes
沙巴体育足球开户Besides keeping business documents organized and generating reports, bookkeepers can handle a number of everyday clerical and accounting tasks. If your business’s tax situation is more complex, for example with numerous vendors, contractors, locations in different states, etc., you might need someone with more advanced skills to navigate them, which could get more expensive. Do you need single-entry or double-entry accounting?
沙巴体育足球开户Since bookkeepers can have a wide variety of skills and specializations, it’s important to know the types of experience your ideal professional should have. For example, a bookkeeper who has only worked with large manufacturers may have ample experience tracking accounts receivable and purchase orders, but not much exposure to payroll or generating financial reports. Others might have extensive experience in areas like inventory audits, bank reconciliation, or accounting—all of which may command a higher hourly rate.
Are they proficient in the software and systems that you currently use?
沙巴体育足球开户Nearly every accounting software package on the market was designed to help with the most basic bookkeeping tasks you’ll need—and many are very affordable if your needs are simple enough. Does the bookkeeper require access to any specific systems? Does the freelancer need to have expertise in certain non-standard software customized to your organization? If you’re choosing a new software package along with a bookkeeper, note that more complex packages might require more expertise, and command a higher hourly rate as a result.
When given all the necessary access and documents, bookkeepers can work remotely from their own location—and that location can impact their rate vs. other locations with varying costs of living.
沙巴体育足球开户When searching for a bookkeeper outside of your region, one of the most important factors to remember is how location can affect real-time communication—especially if your accounting needs are time-sensitive or up against a deadline.
Bookkeeping vs. accounting
沙巴体育足球开户What’s the difference between bookkeeping and accounting? A bookkeeper handles more clerical work than an accountant, although their roles do overlap. Bookkeepers record and deliver the numbers—all of your day-to-day transactions and expenses. They generate the data that can then be handed over to an accountant for more high-level analysis.
That data gets turned into valuable guidance for your business in the hands of an accountant. Generally, an accountant can do everything a bookkeeper can and more. But their true value lies in their ability to analyze and interpret numbers, then turn them into forecasts, actionable insights, and tools to help you make better decisions for your business. A great accountant will also be an expert in business and how your finances relate to your everyday operations.
The difference between the two really boils down to expertise, experience, and education. Bookkeepers have more on-the-job experience. Accountants will have 4-year degrees, while CPAs and licensed accountants will have that in addition to passing a national or state exam. Auditors, accountants, and bookkeepers can all obtain licenses and accreditations from various organizations by state, which is useful in understanding their particular expertise when you’re reviewing candidates.
The next important differentiation is experience with a particular software package. Many bookkeepers and accountants are exposed to payroll services, enterprise accounting software, etc. For example, larger companies using systems like Intuit or SAP will be hiring an individual who knows their way around that particular platform.
沙巴体育足球开户There’s definitely some overlap between the two—bookkeeping is essentially documenting financial records, and accounting includes bookkeeping in addition to taxes and analyzing those financial records to make decisions, assess the health of the operation, determine how effective effectiveness certain decisions were, and make plans to optimize processes.