Now you have made the important decision to hire a bookkeeper for your business, how do you go about finding the right person for the job and what qualities do you need to look for in a great bookkeeper?  We explore the top six skills and abilities you need in a bookkeeper, ensuring you find the best possible partner to look after your business’ financials.


Look for companies with a long-standing history that promotes integrity and can supply testimonials from clients who are happy to provide their honest opinion on their reliability, honesty, ethics and efficiency of their services.  Don’t be afraid to ask a bookkeeper how they would handle a certain financial situation specific to your business.

At the end of the day, you need a seasoned bookkeeper who’s willing to work for and prioritise you.  This means being respectful of your time, having a proactive approach to communication and being able to demonstrate the capacity to understand your professional objectives. Taking some time to investigate their customer service behaviours and client relations will ensure you choose the small business bookkeeper most likely to help you meet your financial goals.

Well-informed, skilled, trained and certified

Up-to-date software knowledge is a must.  Bookkeepers who are familiar in using online accounting software can automate many processes and reduce the amount of time spent on data entry.

Cloud-based systems help bookkeepers to keep accounts up-to-date and enable business owners to identify issues more quickly to make decisions to improve performance and promote business growth.

Every professional bookkeeper should understand the significance of your company’s income, expenses, assets, liabilities and equity, but they should also be able to:

  • provide real-time, customised financial reporting and analysis,
  • offer insight into your financial progress as it relates to your goals, and
  • make vital services like strategic planning, financial forecasting, and acquisition or expansion management available to your business.

Manual bookkeeping techniques aren’t enough in today’s digital world.  Be sure the bookkeeper you choose is up-to-date with the latest developments in accounting software and cloud-based technology.

Some professionals are guilty of earning their credentials and never looking back. While most bookkeepers make the effort to stay abreast of evolving tax and business regulations that could affect your company, it shouldn’t end there. Look for a firm whose skills, business services and technological innovation are continually being upgraded to keep you at the forefront of your industry and ahead of the competition.

Organised and efficient

You can’t assume that every bookkeeper is a born organiser and addicted to the details. Often these skills come with experience and play a significant role in the efficient interpretation, reporting and retrieval of financial data, especially when they have multiple clients.  Ask about review policies and safety nets and remember that the more streamlined your bookkeeping operations are, the more positive an impact it will have on your company’s bottom line.

A good bookkeeper makes sure processes are efficient and adhered to in order to provide you with timely reporting and to meet the deadlines required in your business.

Bookkeepers should be dedicated to your financial success as well as your business success. Your bookkeeper should have an excellent eye for detail and care about keeping your accounts up-to-date and free from errors.

Strong communication skills

Your bookkeeper must be aware of your business operations, goals and issues to do their job correctly. The ideal bookkeeper must have the ability to enhance relationships with managers, customers, suppliers and staff alike.

Some bookkeepers are much better with numbers than they are with people, but the right bookkeeping service for your business must be adept at dealing with both. Make sure your bookkeeper listens well and explains things in a way that makes sense to you. Your business is as individual as you are, and a bookkeeper who adopts a one-size-fits-all approach to communication will be unlikely to meet your needs or expectations.

Industry understanding

A good bookkeeper must understand your industry, your business processes and your requirements so they can hit the road running.

Beyond the day-to-day management of your company’s accounting activities, your bookkeeper should have a solid understanding of the industry you’re in and how it relates to your specific financial situation. The more familiar they are with industry trends and operations, the more likely a bookkeeping company is to spot oversights and patterns in your data. That can prevent reporting errors and help you to capitalise on potential tax savings.

Ethical and trustworthy

This is critical and non-negotiable. Both parties must feel comfortable with each other in order to build a relationship based on trust.

It is important to provide all the correct information to your bookkeeper so they can keep accurate up-to-date records for you. It would make good business sense to protect yourself by having a confidentiality agreement in place.  While it’s important to trust your bookkeeper, you should make sure that your business is protected too. For example, it shouldn’t be necessary to allow bookkeepers access to the business bank accounts. It is acceptable for them to prepare the supplier payment file, but the business owner is the right person to process the banking payment.  Also, when new suppliers are created, there should be checks to ensure that the bank account being paid to is a genuine supplier bank account and that invoices supplied are also genuine.

At Arabon, our mantra is “we care, communicate and are comprehensive,” all qualities you need in a great bookkeeper who you need on your team.  Contact us today on 1300 ARABON to speak with one of our professionals or visit our website for more information.