How To Hire And Vet The Right Bookkeeper For Your FBA Business
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes.
This is a guest post from our friends at specialist ecommerce accounting firm Bean Ninjas.
When you’re first starting out, you might be tempted to do your own bookkeeping and accounting.
However, as your business grows, it is rarely a good idea to keep DIY’ing it. Every minute that you are spending on bookkeeping is time you aren’t spending on growing or running your business.
If this resonates with you, then read on to learn how to hire and vet the right bookkeeper for your FBA business.
When Is The Right Time To Hire A Bookkeeper?
Aside from feeling like you no longer have the time, there are other ways to know whether it’s the right time to hire a bookkeeper.
If you already have an accountant, hiring a bookkeeper would be a logical next step. This is especially the case if you have the budget and lack the extensive financial training to do it yourself.
Accounting and bookkeeping are typically the first things to get outsourced as soon as it’s feasible so that business owners can focus on other aspects of the business.
Top 4 Signs You Are Ready To Hire A Bookkeeper
Your business is growing
This means two things; first, that you likely have the resources to make the investment (although only a cash flow analysis will truly tell). Secondly, that there will be more things to keep tabs on, and steering the direction of your business isn’t as easily outsourced. If you’re spending tons of time doing bookkeeping duties, that’s time you aren’t spending on the big-picture stuff.
You don’t have the expertise
Once your business has outgrown your bookkeeping capabilities, it actually can be dangerous to keep trying to do it on your own. Experienced bookkeepers will not only be more efficient, they’ll be skilled in avoiding the common pitfalls of the job.
You are pulled in too many directions
From marketing and sales to sourcing more products, there are several directions for an FBA business owner to be pulled in. While bookkeeping is right up there in priority alongside supply-chain management and customer service, it’s typically easier to outsource.
You have employees
If you have employees, this is perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to start hiring a bookkeeper. Payroll taxes are incredibly nuanced, and it’s one of the few things that can be extremely detrimental when screwed up.
What Should You Have A Bookkeeper Do In Your FBA Business?
While not all Amazon FBA accountants and bookkeepers are exactly the same, they will share some common traits. They typically know their way around A2X and can pull an Amazon Seller Central report promptly upon request.
Here are other core responsibilities that they can help you with:
- Bank account reconciliation
- Supplier bill management
- Sales invoices & debt collection
- Transaction coding clean-up
- Lodging/filing sales tax, GST, or VAT
- Financial reporting (think Balance Sheets and Profit and Loss Statements)
- Analysis of financial reporting
- Cash flow forecasting
11 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Bookkeeper
As you can see, hiring the right bookkeeper for your FBA business is incredibly important. Not only do they need to have the technical prowess specific to your industry, but they also need to be somebody you can trust with your most sensitive financial information.
Here are some critical questions to ask a potential bookkeeper for your team.
What services do you provide/not provide?
Because no two bookkeepers are the same, you’ll need to know what they can do, what you will need to train them on, and what would be best maintained by you.
What are your credentials?
These may range from a diploma to an accounting degree or even a CPA accreditation. Some are specialists, while others are generalists. The important thing is to assess your specific needs and ensure they match up with what the bookkeeper is capable of.
What kind of experience do you have?
In addition to keeping accurate records, a good bookkeeper will have the experience to be able to review their work and identify mistakes. Depending on your own skills and business style, you’ll want to dive into a candidate’s experience and ensure it matches up with your needs.
What do you know about the Amazon FBA industry?
Even if they may not have direct experience in your industry, look for situations the bookkeeper has been in that could directly translate to FBA. For example, they may have inventory experience from working in retail.
How do you best communicate?
Much like any position, how you’ll communicate with your bookkeeper matters. Look out for chemistry and communication style during the interview and try to get a clear picture of how your potential bookkeeper likes to communicate and whether that’s going to work for you.
What are your turnaround times?
A common issue with employing bookkeepers is ensuring the work is done on a schedule compatible with the owner’s needs. Be sure to ask ahead of time what kind of turnaround you can reasonably expect for each task.
How is quality control managed and maintained?
If you are hiring a bookkeeper firm, determine whether there is a process for ensuring you are getting the quality of work you are paying for. Furthermore, find out the process for if you aren’t satisfied with the bookkeeper you have been assigned.
(If you’re hiring an individual) What’s the contingency plan if they are unavailable?
Undoubtedly, there will be situations when your bookkeeper will be unavailable. Find out what the plan is for unexpected events such as illness, as well as plan ahead for holidays and vacation availability.
How do you ensure my information is protected?
We recommend that business owners create a segregation of duties between the role of the person completing bank reconciliations and the person raising invoices or paying bills.
Who will own the software account(s)?
We recommend that the business owner holds the subscription in their own name and then invites the accountant and bookkeeper into the software file.
What is your pricing model?
Bookkeepers typically charge a fixed rate, although some may charge by the hour. Make sure you find out what is and isn’t covered by their fees.
Need help getting started? Chat to the Bean Ninjas team today and find out how we can help your ecommerce business to succeed.
A2X Helps You AND Your Bookkeeper
Ecommerce sellers need to keep track of a lot of different things in their accounts. Fees, shipping, costs of goods sold, profit margins, returns, and tax are just a few of them.
By integrating A2X with your accounting software and ecommerce platform, these are all calculated for you. Each deposit is split out into income and expense lines which are organized into neat journal summaries, ready for you to reconcile at the touch of a few buttons.
A2X also organizes your books via the accrual method which is approved by the GAAP and gives you a more dynamic, reliable view of your cash flow for better forecasting.
Take number crunching off your to-do list and that of your bookkeeper so that you can both get back to doing the fun, valuable stuff: Strategizing growth.
Also on the blog:
- How to Find an Amazon Accountant or Bookkeeper
- How Accountants Use A2X for Their Clients
- The Best Amazon FBA Seller Podcasts for 2021
- Intelligent Automation for the Amazon Seller
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