You and your spouse are a team! You handle certain parts of the business, and your spouse handles certain parts, including the bookkeeping. Then you hire employees to handle the rest. I hear this on a pretty regular basis, and I think this is the definition of a small family business. However, I also hear concerns about the bookkeeping on a pretty regular basis. If you are unsure about whether or not you should hire a professional bookkeeper, consider the following questions.
- Is my spouse qualified to handle the books? How frustrated are they?
- What is it actually costing your business to have your spouse handle the books?
- Is this really the best way for my spouse to contribute to the business?
- How could we benefit from hiring a certified professional?
The answers to these questions vary based on each family business, but the following explanations apply to most businesses that I work with.
Most often the answer to this question is no. Your spouse probably has learned by experience enough to get by. This is in no way meant to be insulting to them. Most simply don't have the time to take the courses required to really understand bookkeeping. Most also do not have the desire to do so. Consider this. Does your spouse know how to utilize the latest software and technology to save time and money? Do they really understand how to utilize monthly financial information to improve profitability and streamline expenses? That is a bookkeeper's responsibility. It's much more than reconciling transactions and monitoring financial activity. A certified bookkeeper should help you understand your business better. It's probable that your spouse does the best job they know how to do, but is that enough?
Additionally, I hear how frustrated spouses are all the time. All of this is complicated, and most often people feel overwhelmed and that there must be a better way to handle all of this. The issue is that they're not really sure what that is. I can tell you that starting with the correct software helps a lot. I recommend either Quickbooks Online or Xero. Both are cloud based, and both will save you time and money once you learn how they work. I would also recommend automating your bills using bill pay and automating the collection of money using a service called stripe. As far as document management is concerned, I highly recommend Hubdoc, which is an add on in Xero and Quickbooks Online. All of this can lead to a better understanding of your business. Much of this will take you time to learn, but once you have it down, it will help you automate your financial life!
I find that most business owners don't really understand how much this is costing them. There are several factors to take into account:
- The amount of time your spouse is spending on the books each week.
- The quality of information you get from the bookkeeping.
- The amount of money your spouse's time is worth.
If your spouse is only spending a few hours a week on the books, chances are you are not getting the best information out of your financial history. It is important to review your balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and statement of cashflows each month to check on the financial health of your business and set goals for the future. If this is not currently happening, it's costing you a great deal. Imagine what you could do with all of that information. Imagine how your business could grow. The quality of information gleaned from bookkeeping can be worth a great deal to your business and your bottom line!
If your spouse is spending a great deal of time on the books, then it's really costing you whatever you value their time at. What is your spouse's time worth? I'll bet you'd agree that their time is worth at least $25 per hour. If your spouse is spending 10 hours per week managing documents like receipts and invoices, paying bills, reconciling bank accounts and credit cards, and chasing down people who owe you money, what is that costing you? At 10 hours per week, that is about $1000 per month or $13,000 per year.
What is My Spouse's Time Worth?
If you are currently thinking, "My spouse doesn't spend nearly that amount of time on the books," then you should read "Why is it Itmportant to Keep Great Books?" before you continue.
Consider how your spouse could contribute to the business if they didn't have to take care of all of this nonsense. It could be that you could eliminate or reduce a costly employee if your spouse could take over some of their duties. Perhaps your spouse is already overwhelmed, and taking the bookkeeping off of their plate could lead to more time with the family or more quality time together. There are a thousand different ways that your spouse could contribute to the business. I find that once the bookkeeping is off their plate, they usually find ways to contribute that make them much happier. Why? Bookkeeping isn't your passion. Running a quality campground where people feel at home is your passion! You started your campground for that reason, and you enjoy it! I started Happy Camper Bookkeeping because I have a passion for helping campground owners better understand their business.
How could you benefit from hiring a certified professional? The possibilities are endless! First, hiring a professional will save you and your spouse time. It's a bookkeeper's job to take all of this off of your plate. A competent bookkeeping service should offer the following services:
- Financial activity monitoring and monthly reconciling of your accounts.
- Providing and explaining monthly reports to help you gain a better understanding of your business.
- Development of a budget and benchmarking based on past financial information.
- Budget monitoring designed to maximize every dollar and increase your profits.
- Management of accounts receivable and accounts payable.
- A tax planning and preparation system designed to take advantage of tax breaks specific to campground owners.
Whether you choose Happy Camper Bookkeeping or a different bookkeeping service, hiring a professional can save you time and money. If you'd like to learn more about our services, please follow this link. Or, you can Contact us today to find out more!