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You Get What You Pay For – Do Cheap Bookkeepers Save Money?

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As a business owner it’s important to watch how much money you spend.  When it comes to bookkeeping though you tend to get what you pay for.  When you hire a cheap bookkeeper, ten-to-one it’s what they don’t know that is going to cost you big time!

As a contractor would you go to the dollar store to buy hammers? Probably not – you’d want your employees to have the best possible tools to perform their job.  Hiring a bookkeeper and paying them minimum wage is no different than getting those dollar store hammers!

buried in yearend paperworkIf your bookkeeper (or potential bookkeeper) say they know QuickBooks because:

  • they’ve taken a one-day seminar,
  • watched some videos on YouTube,
  • spent a tax season working in an accounting firm, or
  • worst of all is “self-taught” and say that they believe in learning by experience

Then you better believe that YOU will be paying for their mistakes – because what they don’t know is going to cost you big time!

Intuit implies on their website that you don’t need to know anything about accounting to do your books. So, to be fair – everyone is led to believe that keeping your books is “easy”, doesn’t require a lot of skills, and, therefore, should be cheap.  Enter your income and expenses – doesn’t sound so hard, right?  To be honest, it isn’t that hard IF your QuickBooks file is set up correctly and you (or your bookkeeper) know how to correctly assign the expenses, record the income, pay your employees, and handle all the special transactions that are required in your line of business.

There is a lot to learn about using QuickBooks and there is a LOT to learn about bookkeeping!  Sure there are a lot of websites (including this one) where you learn how to do very specific tasks in QuickBooks and tons of YouTube videos – but tracking down the various pieces of the learning QuickBooks puzzle is horribly time-consuming and overwhelming; and the information that is found may not entirely meet the requirements of your company.

When you hire an inexperienced person and thrust them into full-fledged bookkeeping position; it’s very likely that you will end up with nothing but a huge mess on your hands and will need to have your books cleaned up by a professional.

The cost can be incredible; not to mention the frustration that you as a business owner will feel because you can’t get accurate reports or financial information.

I had a young woman contact me last week.  Her boss promised her a raise if she “learned QuickBooks”.  In speaking with her, neither she nor her boss was willing to pay for any sort of training – yet they both expected for her to learn how to use QuickBooks; and I’m assuming correctly.

My point …

  • if you are a business owner with an inexperienced bookkeeper; invest in her and your company by hiring a qualified professional to provide training and periodic overviews of your QuickBooks data file to ensure that the numbers and reports are accurate
  • if you are an inexperienced bookkeeper, invest in yourself by enrolling in some bookkeeping/accounting classes at your local community college

What are your thoughts?

 

4 Responses to You Get What You Pay For – Do Cheap Bookkeepers Save Money?

  • Hi Dennis
    Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    Boy do I have a smart remark to make on your comment (you know me) but I think I’ll keep it to myself.

    Happy New Year!

  • My experience is that the most “expensive” bookkeepers charge the least per hour.

  • Hi Michele, so glad that you stopped by and left a comment! I was afraid that I’d scared the pants off everyone with this subject!

    I hear you on being hired more times than you can count and that the messes I found were so bad that the existing file just got replaced!

    Hang in there and feel free to share this as needed!

  • I was so glad to read this article. Being an independent bookkeeper since 1997, I have been hired more times than I can count to go in to a new client and clean up a mess left by a previous bookkeeper. Sometimes the mess was so incredibly bad that I had to start a new company file! There are a lot of bookkeepers out there posting ads and charging very low rates who have no idea of what they are doing. You definitely get what you pay for!! Excellent article!

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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