During the 34 years I’ve been around, I have come to the realization that I am an anomaly. When I was 14, and my friends were sleeping in or going to the pool, I spent the mornings of my summer vacation at my mom’s office. They needed a clerk since someone had just quit, and I was hired on for the summer. I spent hours pouring over ridiculously large printouts, recalculating each column and looking for errors. If that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, the $4/hour I made should have been. Yet somehow, I loved it.
It turns out that most people don’t find accounting interesting. In fact, it’s usually the part of running a small business that owners hate the most. Despite this, many entrepreneurs begrudgingly toil over their books for hours on end, often coming out with no better understanding of their business than when they started. Does this sound like you? Have you been putting off outsourcing this work? Maybe it’s time to delegate this task to someone who actually enjoys it. Here are 3 reasons to consider hiring a bookkeeper.
No matter how hard we try to extend it, a day will always contain 24 hours. If a petition ever went around, asking for the day to go to 30 hours, I’d be the first to sign it. Until then, there are just so many things we can accomplish each day. If you are trying to juggle sales, marketing, shipping, and bookkeeping at once, something is going to suffer.
There is nothing more important to an entrepreneur (especially when they are the only employee) than effective time management. Spending 5 hours doing a bank reconciliation that would take a bookkeeper 30 minutes just doesn’t make sense. Sure, it’s an extra cost each month, but how many more sales could you have made in those 5 hours? Which scenario is really costing you more money?
I’m sure most of you wouldn’t attempt your own dentistry in order to save some money. If debits and credits are as confusing to you as differentials and tie rods (I think those are car parts) are to me, you could be doing yourself more harm than good. At best, you’re not getting an accurate picture of where your business is at.
At worst, you will be getting a call from Revenue Canada (or IRS, etc.) that include words like “audit” and “jail time”. The costs I’ve seen people spend on late fees, interest, and penalties are breathtaking. Once again, is doing it yourself really saving you money?
On a less serious note, bookkeeping is really boring (for almost everyone). I’ll bet most of you would much rather be selling, or reaching out to new clients than printing out trial balances and income statements.
I know you want to have that data available to you, but wouldn’t you rather just have it show up like a gift every month. Although business isn’t supposed to be all fun and games, filling your days with tasks you hate makes it hard to get motivated. Don’t worry, you’ll still have angry customers, shipping delays and software bugs to drive you crazy.
I completely understand the desire to do everything yourself. I’m equally stubborn, so the idea of admitting I can’t do something, and then paying someone else to do it usually ranks up there with root canals. At the end of the day, you need to make the most of your time, money, and expertise.
Bookkeeping is a very important aspect of your business. It can give you a very good picture of where you’ve been, which will help you make informed decisions on where to go next. If you don’t feel like you have the time, knowledge or desire to do it yourself, there are thousands of us out there that would love to help.
Not every small business owner will want to work work with a bookkeeper. After all, mastering small business financials can be a rewarding and empowering experience for many! It’s really about personal preference. Some questions you might ask yourself:
Even if you decide this is exactly where you need a helping hand, it can be overwhelming to try to find and onboard a new bookkeeper to teach them all about your business and software. That’s why FreshBooks has partnered with Bench. It combines smart software with a professional bookkeeper that prepares your monthly financials for you.
As a small business owner, your time is precious. If number-crunching feels like the last thing you should be spending time on, it might be worth exploring a solution that frees you up to get back to doing what you really love!
Eric Mathews is the author of thatbookkeeper.com, a blog dedicated to helping small businesses get the most out of their resources, with a focus on Bookkeeping.
This is an archived post from the FreshBooks Blog and was originally published in January 2011.