10 questions to ask before you hire a bookkeeper


Hiring a bookkeeper so that you can focus your energy and time on growing and expanding your business is a smart and wise decision. But it can be challenging  when you have no clue what to ask the potential candidates during the interview.

Here are the top 10 questions that you can ask before hiring a bookkeeper in London:

  1. Tell me something about yourself

This question acts as an ice breaker in the interview and can help the candidate to open up. With this question, you can get a glimpse of the personality of the candidate and judge the candidate’s skills, knowledge and creativity.

Also, understanding what motivates the candidate to work can help you to evaluate how well will the candidate be able to perform in your business.

  • What are your qualifications? Are you a registered bookkeeper?

Anyone can be a bookkeeper but you should always prefer a candidate who has relevant degrees, certifications and accomplishments.

Some bookkeepers may have a diploma, accounting degree or may even be CPAs or Chartered Accountants. The candidate may have accreditations from any of the following institutes:

  • International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB)
  • Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB)
  • Association of Tax Technicians (ATT)

You should also check whether the candidate is registered to file tax in London or not.

  • What is your level of expertise?

The type of bookkeeper that you need depends on your business style and your motives for hiring a bookkeeper. Some bookkeepers are specialists and some are generalists.

If you want to hire a bookkeeper for performing routine functions, then a generalist is the best option. On the other hand, a specialist can help you to deal with more challenging and complex aspects of your business.

After determining the specific needs of your business, you can identify whether you need a more detail-oriented bookkeeper for your business or a more strategic one.

  • Can you tell me about your previous work experience in bookkeeping? Do you have any references?

Asking the candidates about their previous work experiences can help you to get an idea of their work styles and whether they will be a good fit for your organisation or not.

Asking about the details of their prior employment like their responsibilities or the problems that they faced can help you to evaluate the commitment and dedication that the candidates have towards the bookkeeping field.

It is important to know whether any references testify to the candidate’s abilities and reliability. An experienced candidate with strong references is a great asset for your business.

  • What accounting software do usually prefer for bookkeeping?

Manual bookkeeping has become outdated in today’s technological advanced world. Thus, a bookkeeper needs to have technical skills and knowledge about accounting software and systems for bookkeeping.

Learning which accounting system the candidate prefers can help you to gain an insight into the working style of the candidate and whether the candidate can learn and apply new systems.

  • How do you price your services?

Ask the candidates whether they charge on an hourly basis, monthly basis or a service-by-service basis. This can help you to compare the fees of all the candidates and hire the one whose fees suits you and your business the best.

  • How do you communicate with your clients and customers?

Bookkeepers should maintain open and honest communication with their clients and customers so that they will never be out of the loop. It is important to ask whether the candidate uses phone or email to communicate with the clients.

Also, make sure that the candidate is capable of establishing effective communication with the business owner.

  • How would you find an error if the ledger of a company is off?

There are different approaches for rectifying a ledger error. This question can help you to judge whether the method that the candidate takes would align with your business methodologies or not. It can also help you to evaluate the problem-solving skills and the analytical abilities of the candidate.

An ideal candidate will be able to solve this problem efficiently and effectively.

  • Why should you be hired as a bookkeeper for this business?

By asking this question you can judge whether the candidate has done some research work about your business before coming for the interview or not. Through this you can assess the dedication and commitment of the candidates and whether the candidates will also continue to complete their homework thoroughly in the future or not.

  1. Do you have any questions that you want to ask us?

An interview is a two-way process. Thus, it is important to give the candidates a chance to clarify any doubts that they may have and help them to judge whether working in your company is apt for them or not. It can also help you to assess how much preparation has the candidate done before coming for the interview.

During an interview, it is important to judge the personality and competency of the candidates because that can help you to determine whether the candidate will fit well in your business culture or not. Always hire a candidate who is not only qualified and skilled but can also work in your organisation with team spirit, cooperation, and coordination.

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