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A good bookkeeper vs. a great bookkeeper

Bookkeepers come in all shapes and sizes, colors, genders, educational and cultural backgrounds, and corners of the world. But we all fall into one of three categories: bad bookkeepers, decent bookkeepers, and f’ing bananapants amazing bookkeepers. Okay, so maybe that’s a little too black and white, because many of us are somewhere in between. But you get what I mean.

I’ve already covered bad bookkeepers here, and if you haven’t read that, please do now, because I want you to be protected from this evil lot. But I don’t want you to think all bookkeepers are crooks. Most of us are highly ethical and professional, as invested in you and your business succeed as you are. At least, that’s what all my bookkeeping peeps are like. 

Even so, there is a difference between a run-of-the-mill bookkeeper and the kind of bookkeeper that I think everyone deserves, especially those looking to graduate to the next level of your business.

A Decent Bookkeeper

I have NO statistics to back this up, but based on conversations I have with umpteen people who have worked with a bookkeeper in the past, I would say the majority of bookkeepers are decent. They do exactly what is necessary to keep your books clean and accurate, and not much else. 

The PRO of a decent bookkeeper is that they will:

    • Track and expenses and income
    • Reconcile your bank accounts
    • Run you a P&L once a year for tax time
    • And probably (hopefully) be more affordable

If someone is doing this for you, that is an amazing start. When I say decent, I mean it. Having these things taken off your plate is no small thing, and I don’t want to belittle or demean a bookkeeper who does this for you as long as they are NOT doing any of the stuff on the naughty list. (Here’s that link again in case you haven’t read it yet, because it’s really important for you to recognized the red flags.)

The CON of this type of bookkeeper is that they will likely have a CRAPton of clients, and therefore have less time to spend with you and your books. They may not meet with you to review your reports, they may be hard to get a hold of, and the information they send might be confusing to you.

A Great Bookkeeper

If you want to level up, you’ll want a bookkeeper who will:

  • Follow internal controls
  • Customize your Chart of Accounts to provide the information YOU need to know
  • Run reports at least quarterly and meet with you to walk through them
  • Get to know your goals and advise you on how to get there
  • Provide additional analysis – ratios, trends, benchmarking, forecasting
  • Make you feel seen, heard, encouraged, and celebrated
  • Be as invested in your business goals and growth as you are

The only CON of working with a bookkeeper like this, is that they won’t come cheap. You may not be able to afford this right away, but I personally believe if you can find someone who will truly be a partner to you – who will advise, coach, and cheerlead you, it’s going to go a long way toward ensuring the success and safety of your business.

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