In this week’s episode of The Law Practice Doctor, Sam Gaylord interviews Scott Brenner who is the managing partner of Dylewsky, Goldberg and Brenner. The Stanford based accounting firm specializes in the auditing of municipalities, manufacturing companies and not for profit organizations. Scott has personally developed and taught curricula at fortune 500 companies and during the podcast discuss what to look for when hiring a bookkeeper, common problems small businesses face, internal controls and reporting.
Main Questions Asked
- What questions should I ask when looking to hire a bookkeeper?
- What other resources are good for finding a bookkeeper?
- What are common problems you see when you meet with new small business clients?
- What specific internal controls you use in your own practice?
- Talk about reports and what needs to be in them.
- What are common guidelines for small companies in terms of getting on the right track?
Key Lessons Learned
- The ‘Quickbooksification of America’ is thinking you can do the accounting but getting bogged down.
- It costs more to unravel bad bookkeeping than it does to do it right the first time.
- Stop trying to be everything and be what you’re good at.
- Scott encourages people not to do their own books in the beginning.
- Being a professional is knowing when to hire another professional to do something for you.
Hiring a Bookkeeper
- Start by speaking with the accountant/CPA whom does your tax work.
- Ask questions about the bookkeepers expertise in the software you use.
- Discuss what understanding the bookkeeper has of the legal industry.
- Ensure the bookkeeper understands the trust account.
- Quickbooks has a Pro Advisor Network where you can source bookkeepers.
- The National Association of Bookkeepers is a good resource for finding bookkeepers.
- Colleagues and business owners are the best source of referrals for good bookkeepers.
Common Problems in Small Business
- Not doing it right from the starting point.
- Mixing personal and business finances e.g only having one credit card that is used for personal and business transactions.
- Lack of internal controls.
Suggestions & Internal Controls
- Leverage credit cards and points programs. You are going to spend the money so why not make it work for you.
- Review your credit card and bank statement on a monthly basis.
- Fraud control is 9/10 perception.
- If someone knows you are watching they are less likely to take money.
- A good accounting system is all about getting you data to make better decisions in the business world.
- If you don’t get good reports on a consistent basis then your bookkeeper is simply processing paperwork.
- Accounts receivable is the lifeblood of the organization so make sure they are not getting out of control.
- Keep accounts payable current.
- Don’t act as a bank and loan clients money. Ensure payments are received in 30-45 days or stop work.
- The operating and income statements are more important than the balance sheet, which is a snapshot in time showing what you own, owe and what is leftover in equity.
- Look at your income statement in comparison to prior years and how you performed. This particularly applies to cash and where you are now as compared to the same time last year.
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