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Accounting is the recording of the transactions of a business. It is a vital and essential part of a company’s operations. An accurate record of the transactions is essential to manage and track the cash flow and accounts payable and receivable and helps generate financial analysis and statements. Good bookkeeping is essential to accurately calculate and pay taxes and other official compliance. A company’s bookkeeping and accounting are dependent on having a good bookkeeper. Bookkeeping used to be a time-consuming process when accounting was done manually. But even with computerization, a bookkeeper is essential to properly interpret and input the data into accounting software. The reports and analytics that are generated by software need an experienced bookkeeper’s interpretation. A skilled and qualified bookkeeper is a valuable human resource asset to a company.
A bookkeeper as the name indicates is the person who maintains the books of accounts of a company. They also extract relevant and up-to-date information about the business when requested. A bookkeeper's reports are often the basis on which the management base important decisions. Bookkeepers are also involved in the preparation of the company’s tax returns and annual financial statements and reports.
On a daily basis, the two most important tasks of a bookkeeper are to accurately record the daily transactions of the company and perform bank reconciliation. The recording of the transaction data can be done in the physical ledgers or accounting software based on the system that the company uses. A bookkeeper also generates the daily, weekly, and monthly reports that are required by the company.
A bookkeeper maintains accounts payable and receivable, and prepares and issues invoices. In some companies, the bookkeeper is also responsible for following up on invoices to collect the payment, process payroll and much more. The supplier invoices for goods and services that are received by the company are verified by a bookkeeper who ensures their payment on time.
More experienced or senior bookkeepers also perform the company’s tax filing, generation of important reports, business strategizing, and representing their clients in meetings with authorities, clients, and other people.
Here are some of the essential qualities of a bookkeeper:
Excellent communication skills: A bookkeeper does not merely perform the input and output of accounting data. When presented with invoices or bills, the bookkeeper should be able to communicate with other personnel and understand the meaning and context of the transaction and the paperwork supporting it. The bookkeeper should also be able to provide the management of the company with accounting facts, reports, and analyses that are easy to understand.
IT skills: Accounting in modern times requires the use of software and other technologies. At bookkeeper should be able to improve their use of technology and be able to integrate their accounting expertise with IT skills. Since most ‘paper’ work is now digital, being able to receive and send digital documents, submit tax and other filings online as well as make payments online is an essential skill.
Integrity: It is very important that your bookkeeper should be honest and transparent. Since the person will have access to and control over the financial records, honesty is essential. A bookkeeper’s morals should not be easily swayed by any external or internal influences. They should guard the integrity and safety of the company’s financials from any fraudulent activities. The person should also be able to give the management unbiased and genuine advice, interpretations, and data when requested.
Flexibility: Different companies have their own unique ways of working. A bookkeeper will easily adapt to the working process and procedures in the company. Since all the other companies and individuals that the company deals with may have their own ways of working, the bookkeeper should be flexible enough to work with them.
Relationship building skills: A bookkeeper builds relationships within the company as well as with the external people that the company deals with. These relationship skills make it easier for all the people concerned to work well with the accounts department. It also bolsters the company’s image with its clients and suppliers.
A calm attitude: Since a bookkeeper is the custodian of the accounting records, being calm and efficient under stress is essential.
Industry exposure and skills: A bookkeeper who has experience in the particular industry that you are in will be a great fit. Industry expertise means that the person will be familiar with the general rules, laws, taxes, and procedures in the industry. When a bookkeeper is familiar with the industry best practices, they are better able to guide the company and maintain compliance.
Updated and agile: An expert bookkeeper always stays updated with all the happenings in the industry as well as accounting. Even when there is a policy change, the bookkeeper is capable of guiding the company through the changes.
Discipline: A great bookkeeper maintains discipline in work and within the entire team. This maintains a culture of discipline in accounting practices within the company.
Organizational skills: A great bookkeeper will be able to organize accounting activities and processes for maximum efficiency. When working as a team, being able to organize the team and their workload is also essential.
So, how do you find a good bookkeeper for your company? When recruiting a bookkeeper keep these points in mind:
Communication skills: The bookkeeper that you recruit should be able to communicate their worth through a well-organized and formatted resume. They should also be able to convey their expertise and more complicated accounting principles to a layman.
Experience: A bookkeeper who has had a lot of experience in a particular role or industry will be best equipped to work in a similar company. If your accounting processes are managed by a team, pick a bookkeeper who has been proven to work well in teams.
IT skills: Accounting software and digital filing of returns are essential in today’s business environments. A bookkeeper must be able to work well with the most popular accounting packages. TallyPrime is a leading software solution for businesses and an expert bookkeeper must be able to work with it.
Certification and awards: A bookkeeper who is certified will have the required skills to take on a company’s accounting responsibilities.
Interview: When you interview a potential bookkeeper you can judge if their approach towards accounts and processes matches your company’s. An interviewee who gives you vague answers and avoids direct answers is not a good indication. Straightforwardness and honesty are essential qualities in a bookkeeper.
The greatest strength of a bookkeeper is a blend of expertise in accounting, people skills, integrity, and an understanding of business strategy. Complete knowledge of the best accounting practices, laws, and regulations is essential. A bookkeeper should be able to guide your business strategy to grow and succeed.
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