Chartered Management Accountant
Midas Accountancy
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Hiring Staff....again

Firstly, apologies for the groundhog day question and thank you to all who take the time to respond!

I am getting endless requests to do bookkeeping and payroll administration. Most of which has some lovely accounts preparation work tagged on so I'm reluctant to turn down, but I'm even more reluctant to do this work myself as I can earn significantly more doing the "fun stuff". I've been in this position before and I have hired a subcontractor (she was fairly hopeless) and then I hired a part time member of staff (she was a friend with no experience and it just didn't work out again).

Would I be better off turning these jobs down and accepting I'm no good at hiring and managing staff and save myself a whole heap of time, stress and money.

Or should I give it another bash, perhaps taking on a college student on a part time basis or a part time experienced bookkeeper?

I don't have aspirations of global domination, but I am a working parent with two young (albeit school age) children and so am always time pressured. Plus it would be great to have someone to make the coffee/do the filing/do the very basic data entry stuff.

Many thanks in advance

SD

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By occca
14th Jan 2013 15:09

Where abouts are you based?

Could you link up with a local bookkeeper, who could do this work for you and get a commission, and you work together?

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14th Jan 2013 15:45

Subcontracting

I suspect in the circumstances you outlined above that a collaboration with a good book keeper may be better than an employee however this does rely on finding a competent, trustworthy individual who will agree to your terms and not poach/pimp your clients which is easier said than done.

A point to bear in mind is that if a subcontractor book-keeper messes the job up, you will still be responsible for sorting it out, possibly even after you/the client has paid for it. Good luck getting them to make the coffee/do the filing too.

That said, I cannot imagine that an employee will make your life easier for all sorts of reasons. Do you work from home for instance? How would that work?

 

 

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By Glennzy
14th Jan 2013 16:08

I agree with Occa

Appoint someone locally who is running a succesful bookkeepping/payroll bureu and get her to do it.

I use a local girl is very good and cost effective for your clients. I just let her deal with them direct as she has an agreement not to try and poach any work from me.

She refers work back to me that gets too big for her to handle so it works ok.

You could invoice direct and mark her costs up but may end up getting expensive. I wouldnt want to do it myself as its a service want for low cost, yet the hassle you get if its wrong is not proportionate.

 

 

 

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North East Hants

I'm in North East Hants near the Surrey border. Can anyone recommend a qualified bookkeeper?

How much do you on average pay a decent bookkeeper for subcontract work?

I do work from home but have the space for someone to work alongside me.

 

Many thanks for the responses.

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14th Jan 2013 16:31

Would that not prove awkward?

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:
I do work from home but have the space for someone to work alongside me.

But do you also have a separate entrance to your office? Are there separate facilities - toilet, kitchen etc from those used by you and your family?

What happens if you want to take a day off?

 

 

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Very good point, I hadn't considered this

Roland195 wrote:

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:
I do work from home but have the space for someone to work alongside me.

But do you also have a separate entrance to your office? Are there separate facilities - toilet, kitchen etc from those used by you and your family?

What happens if you want to take a day off?

 

 

Very good point and likely to be unfeasible.

I have spoken to a bookkeeper who is local regarding a specific client who needs a bookkeeper asap and we are meeting up next week.

Her hourly rate is (reassuring??) high at £18 per hour and she has built up her own business and has several clients. She also mentioned she might be taking on a part time admin assistant, plus she works from home so maybe there is a possibility of sharing overheads (ie staff and office space?). Probably getting a bit ahead of myself!

Is it normal to ask for references for potential subcontractors? Would you treat it like an informal interview? Any other tips for how I could assess if she is the right subcontractor for me?

Thank you all again for being so generous with your advice :o)

 

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By occca
14th Jan 2013 22:13

Me too

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:

I'm in North East Hants near the Surrey border. Can anyone recommend a qualified bookkeeper?

How much do you on average pay a decent bookkeeper for subcontract work?

I do work from home but have the space for someone to work alongside me.

 

Many thanks for the responses.

 

I'm in this area too - if you PM me your exact location I may be able to recommend someone

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Couple of thoughts

My most valuable (and last) employee was a part-time admin person who we taught to do bookkeeping.  She'd started purely to do filing and general office stuff many years before but, as the admin & paper diminished or got taken over by systems, I gradually introduced her to "numbers" and in her last 3 years with me she generated about £50K of fees from 2 clients.

I have used professional B-Ks in the past and they can be good or awful whereas someone who works with & for you is a safer bet, especially if they are new to you and if, as you say, there's internal stuff they could help you with.

In the vast majority of "bookkeeping" jobs we've taken over, ie where the previous accountant's main time was spent bookkeeping, we've turned it around and ended up with the client or a client's friend/employee/contact doing most of the work, with us supporting or doing just the tricky bits.  In other words, the client may think they need an accountant to do the books but that may be because they've only ever experienced accountants who wanted to keep the work or didn't have the imagination to consider changing things?

With the advent of online accounting this is now so much easier as there is always stuff the client can do, as it happens, leaving you or yours to monitor/supervise from your desk.

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14th Jan 2013 16:49

freelance bookkeeper

I strongly recommend that you link up with a local freelance bookkeeper. Get them to invoice the client directly for their work but you are available for sounding out about any awkward tax or accounting questions.

A good b/k and accountant together with each keeping to their own area but cooperating is a great combination for both of them plus the client. Hourly rates vary but I would say in the London/Home Counties area £20 is typical, range £17-£25 hour. Ideal is a qualified accountant parent with school age children who is looking for flexible work. I realise this could describe you (!) but a lot of qualifieds keep away from tax and final accounts and regard b/k as an easier way to keep their hand in.

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