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Business Bookkeeper Newburgh

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5 Qualities You Should Be Looking for in a Bookkeeper

Business Bookkeeper Newburgh

5 Codes of Bookkeeping Ethics

If you’re looking to hire a bookkeeper or a bookkeeping service to help you with your business, it’s essential to consider that they possess professional ethics. It is integral to the business’s success that you hire a bookkeeper that has good ethical behavior.

When I started my bookkeeping career in construction, all these five qualities, which are also five codes for accounting and bookkeeping ethics, were challenged on almost a day-to-day basis. It was always an opportunity to challenge my character. I have first-hand experience with all of this. As we go through the list, it might occur to you that you already know this, but let’s talk about why a bookkeeper should have these qualities and include quick real-life examples on each of these.

Here are the five bookkeeper’s qualities you should look for when hiring:

1. Integrity

Integrity is the very first thing you should be looking for in a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper must approach their work with integrity—this means being straightforward, honest, transparent, and taking ownership in the work they do and with the people, they are dealing with.

For example, If I were onboarding a client and take over another bookkeeper’s work. After I’m done with the job, I hand that over to the accountant, who then points out several mistakes in my work. The right thing to do is to take accountability, admit my mistakes, apologize for them, and fix it instead of pointing the finger at the former bookkeeper because they’re not there to defend themselves. This is also a great opportunity to learn and grow because not every business is the same and not every business owner runs their business alike.

Integrity is an important quality you should be looking for in a Bookkeeper. When such quality is inherent to the work of a bookkeeper, it can help them grow.

2. Objectivity

One of the most significant roles as a bookkeeper is helping business owners separate their business from their personal. Being objective is being unbiased. Bookkeepers need to demonstrate this quality in their work approach. Objectivity includes that when bookkeeping for family members or best friends, a bookkeeper must ensure that the service given is the same as the service they provide to any business they do bookkeeping work for.

For example, you are working for a family-owned business, and you know that the family bought a car solely for personal use, yet it is paid for under the company. As a bookkeeper, you make sure that you talk to them about this, make sure that it’s not in the books, and that it is categorized under distribution or owner’s draw depending on the type of business they registered the company under. This ensures you do your job as a bookkeeper by helping a business owner separate his personal from his business expenses.

A bookkeeper should always work from reliable records and should not allow their professional judgment to be influenced by a bias towards a client or any other external influence. Especially if they are family members or someone they know well, all the more reason to be objective and have receipts to support purchases to back up the transaction.

3. Professional Competence

This quality means that the bookkeeper must have the qualifications to complete the tasks, experience, and up-to-date knowledge. There are many certifications out there, and as a bookkeeper myself, I’m constantly taking courses in bookkeeping, such as getting my ProAdvisor QuickBooks certification. Those certifications must get recertified every year.

An example of this quality is when a client asks you to do their sales tax, but you are not fully confident about doing this yet. Rather than agreeing to do the work to please the client and generate more income for yourself, you should decline it, as you are not professionally competent.So make sure your bookkeeper has such quality and is doing the things they should do to educate themselves and be on top of learning bookkeeping skills.

4. Confidentiality

Now, this is a little tricky. Confidentiality is not just about being in the office and not talking about the books. It’s about you going out with your best friends at a coffee shop and not naming people, not talking about the company, and not mentioning the clients you work for because you never know who’s sitting behind you at a coffee shop.

Confidentiality is the number one top thing I would probably say would be an essential quality a bookkeeper should have because it’s dealing with sensitive information. For example, you meet the employees of the company while waiting to see the business owner. You should not be disclosing any valuable information about a company’s business in the presence of others, even with the business owner present or even when asked in front of the business owner unless you have approval. It is essential that you keep all information confidential and do not disclose details unless required by law or permission from the business owner for whom you are doing bookkeeping.

5. Professional Behavior/Conduct

It’s just behaving professionally and abiding by the laws. Make sure you don’t break any rules and don’t get involved in any criminal acts. Another quick example of that is not giving investment advice or tax advice if you’re not certified or qualified to do so. Be honest, so laws are not broken because of your lack of proper qualifications.


I hope you consider these five qualities: integrity, objectivity, professional competence, confidentiality, and professional behavior/conduct, that a bookkeeper should have when looking to hire one for your business! You also don’t need to look far. Nave Bookkeeping provides bookkeeping services with great professional ethics! Our years of experience in this field have ingrained these ethical practices as fundamental to our field of work. Contact us on our Facebook page, Nave Bookkeeping, LLC Nave Bookkeeping, LLC, or visit our website website anytime.



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