Should my bookkeeper be local?

During this month’s Facebook Live, I talked about whether your bookkeeper should be local to you or not.

The world is changing, and everything is going digital.  You can now use a bookkeeper from anywhere meaning you can pick the right one for your business.

Traditionally, if a business required a bookkeeper, they would hire someone who lived locally to the business.  If they were big enough to warrant it, they would hire someone as an employee to provide the services in-house.  Keeping a set of accounts was all done using paper ledgers, so having someone who was local made it a lot easier to provide them with the information they required.

Over time, desktop accounts software started to be used to keep the accounts, but people still relied on a local, or in-house, bookkeeper, as most of the information needed to keep accounts was still required to be in paper format.

With technology advancing over the years, the various pieces of information that help to create your accounts can now be retrieved digitally.  It is even easier to get the information to your bookkeeper by using e-mail and the cloud.  You are no longer relying on a courier or postman to deliver the paperwork to the bookkeeper, or to even have someone in-house.

The introduction of accounts software like QuickBooks Online and Xero has made it even easier to have access to your accounts from anywhere as you are no longer restricted to using desktop software.  HMRC are also now accepting most records in a digital format.  All these advancements mean that you no longer have to have a bookkeeper who is local to you.  You can now look further afield for the right bookkeeper for your business.

There are several benefits to being able to use a remote bookkeeper from elsewhere.

  • You do not need to provide any office space or equipment for the bookkeeper
  • Saves you money in terms of business overheads
  • You don’t have to worry about your paperwork getting lost in the post as you can share the information digitally

The biggest benefit of using a remote bookkeeper is that you can find the right person to help you with your business.  By being able to access a wider pool of bookkeepers, you can take the time to find someone who is the right fit.  This might be someone who only works with your industry or the software you use.  It could be as simple as the person’s personality sits better with you, and you feel more confident working with them.

When looking for a bookkeeper, whether they are local or not, you need to ensure the following:

  • They work with the accounts software you want to use
  • They understand the legal requirements you need to follow for your business (this is important if hiring someone from outside of your country)
  • They understand the various accounting and tax laws for where you reside (this is important if hiring someone from outside of your country).
  • They have Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Whether they are registered with a supervisory body or not and if so, which body and what are they allowed to do based on their body’s regulations
  • They are covered by Anti-Money Laundering Supervision and with who (this is a legal requirement of all bookkeepers)

There are many more questions you will want to ask a potential bookkeeper, but these questions will be more specific to your business and what you are looking for.

If you would like further information about hiring a bookkeeper who is not local to you, please feel free to e-mail me.

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