Take a look at the two bookkeepers above.
Who is the better bookkeeper?
The man looks confident and the woman looks quite frustrated. Is he confident because he really knows what he is doing, or is he one of those people who only thinks he knows what he’s doing? Is she frustrated because she doesn’t know what she’s doing, or because she knows what she is doing and is exasperated with the incompetence around her?
While research shows that we are influenced by appearances, the reality is that we can’t tell who the better bookkeeper is by looking at them. But after years of experience I will tell you that we also can’t tell by talking to them either. Some people have mastered the art of influence while in reality they don’t have the skills!
The bottom line is that the better bookkeeper is the one who delivers the most accurate result as quickly as possible.
This is the whole reason why I created the Diabolical QuickBooks Assessment© for my internal interviews and when I recruit for my clients. After all, the bookkeeper is a critical part of your financial management function, and they can wreak havoc by giving bad financial reports, cost us money in late fees and tax penalties, and worst of all, steal money from us.
But what if you already have a bookkeeper and want to make sure they know what they’re doing? And what if you want to check without tipping them off that you’re concerned about their skills?
In this case you don’t have a test, you actually have their work. So check to see the results, and if you think the results are wrong, there’s a good chance they are.
For example, I met someone whose bookkeeper created income accounts for each client. When QuickBooks is correctly configured this is absolutely unnecessary, and doing it makes the Profit & Loss report longer and more difficult to read.
So how do we check their work? In short, look at the numbers and look at how they conduct themselves. If the numbers are wrong, if they can’t explain themselves, and if they seem to be stumbling along, then we have clues that there’s a problem.
My guide, How Can I Tell If My Bookkeeper is Any Good?, goes into the details about what clues to look for so that you can avoid costly mistakes from your bookkeeper.
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