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It might be time to take off the bookkeeper hat.

How many hats do you wear? As an entrepreneur, you’re one person filling the role of dozens. You’re a manager, secretary, marketer, financial analyst, copywriter, graphic designer, and more. Often, one of the most daunting hats is that of the bookkeeper.

Most small business owners try to do everything themselves. Partly to save money, but often it’s because they know their business inside and out. It’s obvious that the one who knows the business best is the one who should be doing the books, right?

This is the part where you expect me to yell “WRONG”, and tell you it’s always a bad idea to do your own bookkeeping. I’m not going to do that. What I am going to do is provide you with a guide which might help you make the best decision for your business.

Do you have the skills?
Many people dabble in bookkeeping. Maybe you’ve taken some courses or watched an online tutorial. If you’re good with numbers and have the desire, chances are you’ll be able to use your skills to take care of your own books while you’re launching your business. Don’t, however, overestimate your knowledge or ability. Professional bookkeepers always have stories about the client who thought they were doing a good job and found out otherwise, the hard way.

Do you have the time?
According to AccountingToday,
“The majority of small business owners said they spend more than 41 hours on tax preparation each year. That breaks down to 40 percent of small business owners who said they spend over 80 hours a year, 18 percent spend 41 to 80 hours per year, 15 percent spend 21 to 40 hours a year, and 28 percent spend less than 21 hours per year.”That’s a lot of time which might be better spent generating new clients, or selling your product. A professional bookkeeper will likely spend less time than a typical business owner and with a higher proficiency rate.

Do you have the money?
Of course, there are going to be costs involved with having a bookkeeper on your team. What you pay out of pocket will depend on the needs of your business. Bookkeepers typically charge between $20 and $80 per hour, depending on their level of expertise. When you find one who matches your needs and complexity level, you’ll find its money well spent. Furthermore, investing in a bookkeeper often leads to financial savings in other areas:

  • Avoiding late filing fees
  • Knowledge of unique business expense write-offs
  • Minimizing tax payable
  • Preventing payroll mistakes

If you have the skills and the time, then doing your own books might be the solution for you. Once you start feeling stress, or find yourself procrastinating about putting on your bookkeeping hat, then it’s time to offset that burden. Find a good, local bookkeeper who understands your industry and let them keep a keen eye on your books so you don’t have to.

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