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Eye-Opening Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask Their Bookkeeper

A business owner asking a bookkeeper a series of questions and writing down the answers.

Did you know your bookkeeper can be one of your greatest assets when it comes to growing your business? 

And yet, so many business owners underutilize their bookkeeper because they view bookkeeping as a means to filing taxes. But it’s time to change that perception once and for all, because as we’re about to show you, your bookkeeper is so much more than just an IRS pleaser.

Here’s what your bookkeeper really is: a gold mine of information that can be used to increase your bottom line. Don’t believe us? Browse through these eye-opening questions every business owner should ask their bookkeeper and you’ll see why they’re a source of untapped potential.

Where do you think we’re wasting money?

If you want to find ways to cut costs and save money, you should probably talk to the person who actively monitors your finances (AKA: your bookkeeper). Just sayin’.

He or she is very familiar with the comings and goings of your money and as such, is well equipped to identify where resources are being squandered. You’d be a fool not to ask for their insight.

Can you provide me with some customized reporting?

At a bare minimum, your bookkeeper should provide you with the basic financial reports: a balance sheet and a profit & loss statement. 

While these reports are invaluable in the sense that they provide you with a broad overview of your company’s financial status, sometimes you need to go beyond the basics. That’s where customized reporting comes in handy. 

Let’s say you want a detailed breakdown of how your advertising dollars were spent. Your bookkeeper should be able to compile a report that shows you exactly how much you spent across various platforms, such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Having this information on hand can help you evaluate whether the return on investment was worth it or not. 

In short: don’t be afraid to ask your bookkeeper for a custom report that suits your needs. If he or she refuses, it’s time to find a new bookkeeper.

Do you have suggestions on how to make the bookkeeping system more efficient?

As a business owner, maximizing your efficiency should always be one of your top priorities, as that’s what’s going to save you both time and money. 

Chances are, your bookkeeper already has some ideas on how to streamline your current bookkeeping system; all you need to do is ask.

For example, did you know that most financial institutions will let you add a third party, view-only user? This means instead of you having to log in to download reports and transactions each month, you can delegate this to your bookkeeper while still keeping full control of your account and access by restricting them from having any ability to touch actual funds or make account changes. These are things that the average bookkeeper would know, but you as a business owner may not be privy to. 

How much am I spending on wages?

If you had to guess, what percentage of your operating budget goes towards employee wages?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the answer is anywhere from 18 to 52 percent. And if you offer benefits, those percentages are even higher. As Chron reports, you can expect to spend between 40 to 80 percent of your operating budget on employee salaries and benefits combined. 

With such a large percentage of your budget going towards employee wages, it’s important to know exactly how much you’re spending on this front.

How can I improve my financial literacy?

Your bookkeeper can give you all the financial reports in the world, but what good is that if you don’t know how to read them?

A lot of business owners are afraid to ask for help interpreting their reports out of fear of appearing financially illiterate. But here’s the thing: you hired a bookkeeper because they are an expert in this regard. It’s their job to help you understand your business finances.

In short, don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. The right bookkeeper will admire that you’re trying to improve your financial literacy.

Can you show me how to use our bookkeeping system to help me make business decisions?

To piggyback off the point above, financial literacy isn’t going to do you much good unless you make practical use of your knowledge. Your bookkeeper should be able to demonstrate how to make intelligent, data-driven decisions using info gleaned from your financial reports.

Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve sales?

When you’re looking to boost revenue, your first instinct is to consult with your sales team. But don’t overlook your bookkeeper. 

Oftentimes, your bookkeeper will know the financial aspects of your business better than you do. Because of that, he or she may be able to point out some sales trends that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.

Conclusion

As we bring this article to a close, note that some of these questions can (and should!) be asked on more than one occasion. For example, you can expect payroll to fluctuate over time as you hire additional employees and hand out raises. Therefore, you may want to check in with your bookkeeper on an annual basis to see how much you’re spending on wages.

Likewise, your bookkeeper may have additional ideas on how you can improve sales as time goes on and new products or services are introduced. Our suggestion: highlight the questions that matter most to you and schedule regular follow-up meetings with your bookkeeper. You might also consider bookmarking this page as a future reference point.

Well, that’s all we’ve got for now! We sincerely hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us via email at info@capforge.com or by phone at (858) 633-3573. If you would like a free, no-pressure consultation, please fill out the contact form below and one of our representatives will get in touch with you ASAP.

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