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How to Annoy Your Bookkeeper

May 26, 2015 10:06:00 AM Kathy Dise Bookkeeping

Do you have a hard time keeping a bookkeeper more than a year? Bookkeepers are hard to find and sometimes even harder to keep. Finding a good bookkeeper and training them is costly. Here is a list of items that may be causing the problem. 

Not Providing Detail on Transactions


Bookkeepers are not mind readers. They are very skilled but not that skilled.  Before your bookkeeper arrives, take a quick look at the file you are giving them. Each item may be understood by you, but will your bookkeeper know the correct account? For Example, a credit card charge from Amazon- Is it an educational or office supply expense?

Giving Them a Tiny Work Area

Take a look at the space you are providing for your bookkeeper to do their work. Is it cluttered? Bookkeepers do better in a clean space with enough room to sort the work they are doing. Have you provided at least 5’ x 2’ of uncluttered space? Is there a file cabinet or drawer space to hold the files you need to maintain? If not, go virtual.  

Having Poor Communication

Again – bookkeepers are not mind readers. Make your expectations known to your bookkeeper. Every client is different. Sometimes your bookkeeper needs a reminder. You may even need to resort to putting it in writing. If you have tried all this, your bookkeeper is not a good fit and you could consider looking for a replacement.

Being Upset about a Mistake

Bookkeepers handle a hundred or more transactions a month. Each one has many parts. Mistakes are going to happen. Your bookkeeper is upset about the mistake. A reprimand from you will not solve the problem. After a mistake, make sure a mechanism is in place to avoid the problem next time. Also, protect yourself by making sure your bookkeeper isn’t responsible for any costly mistake like paying a bill with a large penalty. Note the due date on your calendar, too.  

Asking for an Emergency Report As They are Walking Out 

The bookkeeper’s time is usually planned out. Throwing a last minute request will make your bookkeeper late for their next appointment. Have your to-do list ready when your bookkeeper arrives. Prioritize the list yourself to make sure the most important items get done in the time allotted.

Not Answering Questions

Yes, you are very busy. Your bookkeeper knows that and is only asking you questions when they can’t figure something out. Give your bookkeeper priority. When questions go unanswered, your financials won’t get done. Asking the same question multiple times is not an efficient use of either of your time.

Providing a Lousy Chair

Do you provide a chair that should have been donated to charity years ago? Your bookkeeper is sitting for long stretches. The correct height of the chair is also important. Could you sit in that chair for 4-5 hours? If you can, you are good.

Using a Business Credit Card for Personal Expenses

Sorting through transactions that are personal and commingled with business expenses is tedious and isn’t a good use of anyone’s time. Take a monthly draw so you have enough to pay personal expenses.

Smoking Around Them (Even Smokeless Cigarettes are Very Difficult)

You may be surprised by this one. Smoking happens. Consider having your bookkeeper work remotely. There really isn’t any other solution.  

If you find that you are guilty of many of these, make a couple changes to keep your bookkeeper and save yourself time.

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Kathy Dise

Written by Kathy Dise

Kathy has over 30 years experience helping small businesses succeed. As a commercial lender, commercialization expert and now as a QuickBooks diamond level advisor, Kathy understands the challenges small business owners face. Her experience helps business owners quickly accomplish their financial goals. As the owner of BudgetEase, Kathy works with clients to develop a plan to efficiently process 1,000s of small transactions so owners can make informed decisions. She lives in Shaker Heights, OH with her husband Ralph and enjoys golf, curling and walking in Cleveland’s fabulous Metro Parks.