What is a Bookkeeper?

by Melissa on December 10, 2013

Traditionally, the word “bookkeeper” would evoke an image of yellowed ledger paper, a no. 2 pencil and debit and credit columns. By definition, it means to “record and report financial data as accurately as possible”. Over the years, the American dream itself has evolved. Acquiring a job and maintaining it for twenty plus years in order to earn a pension is long past. “Be Your Own Boss” is the new American Dream and with that comes a need for a more robust and evolved bookkeeper to fill the void where, in the past, perhaps more than one person would normally be hired.

As bookkeeper, we become the crux of the small business. Some business owners are very involved in the day to day finances and needs of their businesses and some are more focused on the actual product or service in which the business is based. Either way, in most instances a bookkeeper, office manager or combination of both are active in the day to day financials, tax planning and HR needs that may arise.

As a freelance bookkeeper for the past 7.5 years, I have provided my clients with services ranging from basic bookkeeping to year tax planning to business management to Human Resources. For many small business owners, there is little delineation from bookkeeper to HR management. I get asked questions all the time such as, “how much money did I make off this project” to “how do I terminate this employee properly”.

In The Black MGMT aims to fill in the gaps wherever we are needed. Being a small business owner myself, I understand the stress of trying to stay afloat while being compliant with labor laws and trying to make a profit. In The Black MGMT is finely in tuned with the rhetoric of small business owner because I, myself, am a small business owner.

As the economic playing field continues to change and evolve, we too, much change and evolve as bookkeepers. We must continue to learn, grow and develop new systems which are reflective of the needs of our clients as well as the needs of the laws; both in regards to tax and labor.

I cannot tell you exactly what a bookkeeper is defined as any more aside from saying that it is a crucial role for most businesses.  My advice to all small business owners is when retaining the services of a bookkeeper or bookkeeping firm please keep the following in mind:

  1. Be sure to come to a mutual understanding of the responsibilities of the bookkeeper.  Many people claim to be bookkeepers but may only have the skill set in relation to one facet of your business.
  2. Try to retain a bookkeeper or firm that can grow with your business.  A less expensive bookkeeping solution may make sense now but if you have to hire someone new in a year from now and a year after that, how will that affect your business?
  3. Always be sure to check references.  The best way to find a bookkeeper is word of mouth!  If you have a friend or accountant that you trust, ask them if they can recommend a bookkeeping solution for you.

Good luck in your search!

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