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Recruitment mistakes when growing your bookkeeping business | Pure Bookkeeping Australia

Recruitment mistakes when growing your bookkeeping business


I’ve spoken to three bookkeepers in the past week with a common issue and it’s worth sharing. It’s BAS-ON and to say they are flat out is an understatement. They are working 60+hrs per week. They’ve tried to recruit but it didn’t work out. Feeling exhausted and disheartened, they know that their business growth depends on finding great bookkeepers but can’t work out the solution.

There are a number of mistakes you can make around recruitment – believe me, I’ve made them all! But if I was to list my top three I would say:

  1. Not testing the bookkeeper in some way in your office before appointing them
  2. Not spending time with them once appointed to induct them into your business and set the expectations around your culture
  3. In your haste to relieve the pressure you’re under you put a new bookkeeper with a new client

The effect of these mistakes are difficult to recover from. So I’m going to dedicate three separate blogs to offer solutions over the next few weeks.

RecruitmentRulesThe first rule is to test the bookkeeper in your office before accepting them onto your team.  Ideally this would be in the form of a skills test on the software you want them to use.

However, from experience, this will take some time for you to create from scratch. Time you don’t have. At the very least, sit with them in front of the computer and ask them questions that will indicate their proficiency in the software. Start with basic questions that you expect everyone who uses the software would know the answers to. And include more difficult questions that will demonstrate more advanced knowledge.

You could also ask some general bookkeeping questions e.g:

  • What is the Balance Sheet?
  • How do you reconcile the GST control account when the client is on cash for GST but on accruals for tax?
  • How do you reconcile the wages and PAYG before lodging a BAS or IAS?

Within an hour, if you ask key questions about the software and about the Balance Sheet, you should get a clear indication of how experienced and confident they are. Here are a few other tips:

  • If you’re happy with their answers don’t offer them the job immediately
  • Test other applicants so you can compare the results and have more choices
  • Keep adding to or changing the questions to improve the results

The more tests you do the more experienced and confident you’ll become in identifying the right bookkeeper to add to your team. Resist the temptation to grab the first bookkeeper who walks into your office and throw work at them.

Choosing great bookkeepers takes time. But it’s an investment that’s worth it.

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