Thursday, April 11, 2013

What to look for when hiring a PCLaw Bookkeeper

Hiring a bookkeeper for your law firm is one of the most important decisions you will make in your practice. After all, this is your livelihood we are talking about. As previously discussed, poor bookkeeping can have dire consequences, up to and including disbarment.

Education vs. Experience

In my opinion, both are equally important. You are hiring a bookkeeper, not an accountant. The level of education should therefore be appropriate. Hiring a chartered accountant to do your regular bookkeeping is both overkill and extremely expensive. Nor would you want someone with their brand new accounting degree, but no real world experience. The key is to find the right balance between adequate education and practical experience. I strongly recommend hiring an accountant to do your taxes and provide basic oversight of your bookkeeper.


PCLaw handles all aspect of legal bookkeeping: general bank, trust bank, accounts receivable, accounts payable, expense recovery, invoices, and HST / Payroll taxes. It is a very complex program, and using the wrong methods when doing entries can create errors. Your bookkeeper should be familiar with how to fix problems created by other staff as they occur. Your bookkeeper should also be able to assist staff with ongoing training and be available to answer questions as they arise from time to time.

Other Considerations

Hopefully your prospective bookkeeper possesses a strong aptitude for numbers, which drew him/her to a career that they find enjoyable and satisfying. Some hobbies to look for include any kind of logic puzzles: Challenger, Kakuro, Sudoku, Sticklers – but not crossword puzzles. Crosswords are good for building your vocabulary, but logic puzzles use the same part of your brain that will help figure out why your bank account will not reconcile. A good puzzle solver will will be much more efficient with your bookkeeping.

Is your prospective bookkeeper accessible: easy to talk to, available to answer questions,
available to assist your staff? Doing the monthly reports/reconciliations if fine, but oftentimes you will want to answers or advise throughout the month.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future post topics. Next Posting – PCLaw And LSUC Audits.