How do I Choose the Best Bookkeeping Firm?

Keith Koons
Keith Koons
A bookkeeper reviewing a ledger.
A bookkeeper reviewing a ledger.

When searching for a quality bookkeeping firm, there are several factors that should be considered. First and foremost would be their understanding of state and federal laws, because when errors occur, it is the consumer who is ultimately held responsible by the government. Another crucial factor is the company’s track record in handling clients under similar business ventures—the laws for selling local produce, for example, vary greatly from a business that ships electronic products worldwide. The most prevalent factor for business owners searching for the best bookkeeping firm is often price, and there is almost always a large variance in fees between rival accounting firms.

While it may appear tempting to hire a firm staffed with young bookkeepers straight out of college for a bargain price, these types of accountants often do not have a full grasp on the complexities of the legal system. On paper it may appear that a local deli and a grocery store are exactly the same, but the way that the company spends and invests profit could have thousands of separate implications when it comes to tax law. The best bookkeeping firm for any possible client is one that will take the time to research the various state and federal guidelines to ensure both compliance and a fair return on investment, because ultimately, a thorough accounting firm can save large businesses a tremendous portion of their tax liability.

For that reason alone, it is often wise to seek a bookkeeping firm that specializes within the industry most similar to the existing business. While a single accountant could likely fill out all of the necessary paperwork to keep the company within government compliance, there may be general business principles that could be slightly altered to increase overall profit. A relatively new bookkeeping firm may not notice that a vendor had raised prices on consumer goods by 50% over the course of a few years, but many of the best bookkeeping firms will. There are hundreds of reasons to employ a bookkeeping firm other than tax preparation, and analysis is but one of them.

Cost always plays a large factor within any type of service industry, and choosing a bookkeeping firm is certainly no exception. Standard accounting rates can vary anywhere from $30 US Dollars (USD) per hour all the way up to $500 (USD) per hour, and a higher price is not always indicative of the service that will be performed. Before choosing a bookkeeping firm, make sure to ask for what services are included within the hourly rate in writing. If the accountant does not want to adhere to this request, it is probably a sound idea to search for a bookkeeping firm elsewhere.

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    • A bookkeeper reviewing a ledger.
      By: Danny Hooks
      A bookkeeper reviewing a ledger.