What are the basic skills that early accountants/bookkeepers know for a start-up?

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Kruze Consulting Startup Q&A Author
Vanessa Kruze Founder, CPA

I’m a CPA and I help over 150+ startups with everything from bookkeeping to interim CFO services.

Here are a few things that your bookkeeper should know how to do:

  1. QuickBooks: your bookkeeper should already have extensive experience with QuickBooks, Xero, or whatever other accounting software you have chosen. First set up the Chart of Accounts. Ongoing, monthly bank and credit card reconciliations are essential.

  2. Payroll: your bookkeeper should be familiar with how to use the payroll processor of your choice. Zenpayroll is the best.

  3. Benefits: Zenefits is an awesome benefits resource. Your bookkeeper should know how to set up and maintain these accounts.

  4. **Bill Pay / Expense Reimbursement: **a bookkeeper should be familiar with how to pay bills/reimbursements and how to maintain records. This includes making sure that 1099s are filed in January.

  5. Insurance: nearly every business with employees is legally required to have Workers Comp insurance. Depending on your industry you should also have E&O and General Liability insurance. Your bookkeeper should know how to set these up and how to maintain the audits.

  6. **Tax Compliance Overview: **there are a few key tax filing deadlines that must be met in order to keep you out of trouble. A good bookkeeper will know these local, state, and federal deadlines, and will prompt you and the CPA to file or pay the agencies as necessary.

  7. **Industry Know How: **it pays to work with a bookkeeper who knows the industry that you’re in. They’re just more knowledgeable about the general business climate, and can pass along best practices that they’ve learned working on similar company’s books.

A good bookkeeper will save you thousands in tax prep fees at the end of the year. I’ve seen startups “save” money with cheap bookkeepers, only to stare down a $6000 tax prep bill when it should have been $750. No joke.

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