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Should I Hire a QuickBooks Consultant, Bookkeeper or Accountant?

July 9, 2012 by Ed Becker

When you realize you need bookkeeping help, how do you identify what is the best resource for your business?

Call in your accountant (CPA)?  Hire a bookkeeper?  Engage a bookkeeping service, or bring in a QuickBooks consultant to evaluate your situation?

Each option has different skill sets and different pricing.   You don’t want to end up paying two twice to get the job done.  Therefore, do some homework before making your hiring decision, and really think about what your business needs.

In this blog post, I’ll explore the appropriate situations for each of these options and hopefully make your job a little easier.

Hiring an Accountant (CPA)

Your CPA should be brought in for:

  • tax matters
  • tax planning
  • financial statements
  • complex accounting issues, or
  • to interact with financial advisors and/or banks

CPAs are very important to your business, but you have to understand that their expertise is usually in taxes and they may or may not have QuickBooks expertise.

Hiring a QuickBooks Consultant

QuickBooks consultants are best for complex tasks within the QuickBooks family of products. They serve you best for items such as:

  • usage questions
  • troubleshooting
  • system integrations
  • POS systems
  • upgrades (e.g. to QuickBooks Enterprise)
  • data file clean up, and
  • setting up job costing and inventory systems

Be careful because anyone can call themselves a “consultant.”  When looking for a QuickBooks consultant, look for someone who is certified as an Advanced QuickBooks Advisor, which is a strong indication the person will know both QuickBooks and accounting.  Also, it’s always helpful to ask for years of experience in the field.

Hiring a Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers, either full time or freelance, can be a good alternative if you find the right one, but remember: you must have time to oversee them on a day-to-day basis.  Some business owners hire a bookkeeper to help save time, only to add another management headache to their already busy lives.

You can reduce this risk by adhering to the old adage of “you get what you pay for.”  OSYB has been engaged hundreds of times to come in and clean up messes that inexperienced bookkeepers have created. It is not a pretty sight in most cases  and the root cause is  lack of accounting knowledge.

Hiring a Bookkeeping Service

Bookkeeping services, such as OSYB, have both bookkeepers and QuickBooks Consultants on staff.  Bookkeeping services match each employee’s skill set to the project he or she is engaged to perform.

Generally, bookkeeping services maintain several levels of staff.  Simpler projects and tasks can be completed by more junior staff (billed at lower rates), thus saving the business money.  Oversight and quality control is provided by senior staff in these circumstances.  Services provide both expertise and ongoing bookkeeping by trained professionals.


Whichever route you elect, make sure it’s based on strategic thinking about your business’ needs.  Then do your homework by interviewing, asking questions, checking references, and finding the right person, firm or mix of several professionals to meet those needs.

If you are considering a bookkeeping service or QuickBooks consultant, you can learn about OSYB’s offerings in these areas by visiting the following link: Advantages of Outsourced Bookkeeping Services.

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