Should you do your books yourself or get a bookkeeper?

It may be that ‘keeping the books’ is your thing and really ‘floats your boat’ – there are a few of us around! Not sure if it’s a control thing, but there is something satisfying about creating a few pages of neatly ordered financial information from a chaos of receipts, invoices and statements! For the rest of you, whether or not to use the services of a bookkeeper to help keep your accounting records will be something that you consider at one point or another.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. The main criteria to be considered are time, cost, competence, and motivation.

As good a place as any to start is to ask yourself whether or not you actually want to do the books yourself. If the answer is a resounding NO! then we would recommend that you use the services of a bookkeeper. You may argue that you can’t afford one, but the cost is an allowable expense in the business, and may actually save you money, time and huge headaches in the long run!

Not employing the services of a bookkeeper may prove to be a false economy. If you avoid or struggle to keep on top of the paperwork, you may get yourself into a muddle, or just leave it until it gets to a point when it’s all such a mess that you need to get somebody in to sort it out. This may then prove to be a more costly exercise than if you’d just got a professional to do it in the first place.

Most bookkeepers are reasonably priced, and willing to discuss what you can do which will make their job easier, and so keep costs down.

If you’re less vehement in your opposition to ‘doing the books’, it may be that you lack the knowledge or skills, but would like to be able to do them. Using the services of a bookkeeper allows you and your business to benefit from their expertise in these areas without you having to learn it and ‘skill up’. Perhaps a bookkeeper could help you to set up the records you will need to keep,and get you started, until you feel confident enough to do it yourself.

Time is another consideration when deciding whether or not to use a bookkeeper. Apart from the obvious benefit of being able to use the time you would spend ‘doing the books’ on other areas of the business or other activities that only you can do, knowing this is being taken care of will reduce anxiety levels.

Another benefit of using a bookkeeper is that there is somebody else who has an intimate knowledge of your business’s finances with whom you can discuss issues that are concerning you, or who may be able to highlight areas that need your attention that you may have missed.

Something else to consider is how much you ask the bookkeeper to do. It could be that you are totally reliant on them to do everything. Alternatively you could complete the more straightforward work and ask them to do the more complicated things, e.g. bank reconcilliations and VAT returns.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours, and you will know what feels right for you and your business at any particular time. Either way, whether you decide to use a bookkeeper or do your own bookkeeping, the ImpKISS cashbook is a tool that can be used to make life easier!