How much should you pay for a bookkeeper?
How much should you pay per hour for a bookkeeper? And, how do you find a good bookkeeper? These are very good questions that should be addressed. These are not industry specific questions, they are struggles that most companies in most industries contemplate. Generally speaking, paying an employee $10-$13 an hour for your bookkeeping is an indication that your company does not value this task and you are likely trying to find unqualified candidates to fill a position, even if it is a data entry position. The cliche, you get what you pay for is very relevant in this scenario. Even if your position is an entry level position, (for example) this potential employee will have access to enter accounts payable invoices into your computer system incorrectly, and therefore overpaying your vendors or underpaying vendors and incurring penalties and late fees. Additionally, there is a theory that an unappreciated and underpaid employee who has access to company assets (such as cash) may try to take these assets - especially when there are no checks and balances or internal controls in place.
Admittedly, it can be very time consuming and difficult to find a good candidate to fill your position and also be a good fit within your company dynamics. The cost of employees (hour rates, payroll taxes, workers compensation, benefits, etc.) can also be expensive. However, the cost of finding the wrong employee can be a higher price to pay.
Our recommendation is to find a pool of strong candidates who, on paper, have the qualities and background you are looking. You can provide candidates with a simple bookkeeping test to verify the strengths the candidates put in their resume fit their actual qualifications. This process can sometimes provide you with additional information that a resume may try to hide or disguise.
Finally, to be a good fit within your organization you should find someone who has the qualifications and bookkeeping background you are looking for as well as a good personality fit within your organization. Always implement checks and balances and internal controls within the accounting department to avoid unethical behavior.