Any business decision pertaining to bookkeeping and accounting is a major one. Do you do your own bookkeeping? Should you invest in an accounting software? Should you outsource your bookkeeping? These decisions play an important part in determining the success and growth of your company. Let us say you decide to outsource your bookkeeping, then the next big question is do you hire a freelance bookkeeper or a bookkeeping firm. Who do you work with?
Freelance Bookkeeper or Bookkeeping firm?
The truth is that this decision depends on your business- how it functions and what your needs are. One size doesn’t fit all. Let us explore how the two setups are different and decide whether you need a freelance bookkeeper or bookkeeping firm.
- Cost– Money is an important factor in making this small business bookkeeping decision. Freelance bookkeepers offer lower rates than a firm. This is simply because they generally work from home and hence have lower overhead costs. A firm, on the other hand, charges higher due to higher overheads and also as they provide you a variety of services with access to more personnel. On hiring a firm, you have access to much more than just basic bookkeeping services.
- Work Arrangement- Freelancers are free to travel and willing to work from your office if needed, except that it might cost you more since you will have to arrange for office space. Some freelancers also offer virtual bookkeeping services. Similarly most firms also work remotely with their clients, making things a lot easier for all involved.
- Work Schedules– Most freelancers work for multiple companies, so they schedule their work accordingly, ensuring that the books for each client is accurate and up-to-date and that deadlines are met. Unfortunately, this dependency on a single bookkeeper can mean that when your bookkeeper is on leave or sick, you have no one to turn to. Also come tax deadlines, your freelancer is going to be really busy. However when working with a bookkeeping firm, even if your bookkeeper is not available, there will always be a backup bookkeeper. Another huge advantage of working with a firm is that due to the large number of bookkeepers available, you will be able to find someone who has worked in your field or at least something similar. The chances of you finding a bookkeeper who understands your needs is also a lot higher with a firm.
- Knowledge and Expertise– Everything is in vain if your bookkeeper doesn’t have adequate bookkeeping knowledge and expertise. The thing with freelancers is that there is no one to regulate them. Everything depends on your bookkeeper’s knowledge and expertise- he could be a beginner or have 10 years of experience. Whereas in a firm, you will have access to people with a range of expertise and knowledge. Always ask around and research on the firm or bookkeeper before taking the final call.
So what will it be? Think about what your small business bookkeeping needs. Think about what each has to offer and decide- freelance bookkeeper or bookkeeping firm?