What You Should Look For In A Bookkeeper – It’s Not Just About Skill Set!

What You Should Look For In A Bookkeeper – It’s Not Just About Skill Set!

First published on the ABN Her Business Blog

Have you resolved to improve the management of your business this year?  Perhaps you’ve realised that you can’t be responsible for everything?  Bookkeeping is often one of the first tasks that business owners outsource. Unless you’re a bookkeeper, it’s most probably something that nags at the back of your head all the time, stopping you from focusing on what you do best.  However, outsourcing your bookkeeping can be a scary idea.  Handing over your finances to someone else requires trust: trust in the individual and their processes.

Ultimately a bookkeeper should be part of your team, someone who can do your bookwork but also understand your business enough so that what they do has an impact on the growth of the business as a whole.  Obviously bookkeepers require certain qualifications and skills, but what are the personality traits that you should look for when hiring a bookkeeper?  For me this is the most important question. Anyone can do most of the work at a basic level, after all you completed it yourself at some stage, but who can do it really well?  Sure, the skill set is a must but what differentiates a basic bookkeeper from a bookkeeper that is an integral member of your team?

Ideal traits of a brilliant bookkeeper

  • Perfectionism
  • Attention to detail
  • Tidiness
  • Willingness to follow up
  • Caring nature
  • Ability to prioritise

These traits ensure that:

  • Statements are checked
  • Stray invoices are investigated
  • Files are kept in an orderly manner
  • Payments are chased up
  • Items are allocated to the correct accounts
  • Unusual items are queried
  • Paper is organised regularly
  • Your bookwork is treated as if it was their own
  • When cashflow management is required they can manage this for you

Why is this important?  It can save you both time and money.  If your bookkeeper can maintain your bookwork to the standards above, not only will you save time on chasing up queries but also money on your accounting fees.  If they can manage your bookwork efficiently and methodically, your accountant will have a clearer picture of your business when completing your tax.  And you’re not paying your accountant high hourly rates to do bookwork that your bookkeeper can manage.

So when choosing your bookkeeper, rather than just relying on skill set, determine whether you would prefer to have a team member that is an integral part of your business. Make sure to find out if they have the above personality traits. You could even talk to existing and past clients of theirs and get a feel for whether they would be the right fit for you. Once you’ve found a great bookkeeper, you’ll never look back!


  1. This site provides superior bookkeeping services with a focus on management accounting.

  2. Absolutely agree. There are definitely personality traits that I notice in my bookkeeping students, both in the online bookkeeping courses and in-class training I run that indicate they’ll be more likely to have success as a bookkeeper. The best bookkeepers I’ve met have been really nice people but they have an amazing attention to detail and a mind like a steel trap – they have an amazing ability to recall specific information and numbers.

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