Not-for-Profit Notebook

Practical insight and analysis on the accounting, audit and tax issues impacting not-for-profit organizations.

Finding the Perfect Bookkeeper for Your Organization

The perfect bookkeeper will seamlessly handle your day-to-day accounting functions, but finding this person can be difficult. Be sure to consider your organization’s needs before actively starting your search. 

Crafting a Job DescriptionInterview

Before advertising the position, define the role. Crafting a detailed job description that outlines responsibilities will help you attract qualified candidates and give you a consistent yardstick with which to measure them.

Common bookkeeper responsibilities include:

  • Preparing and recording accounts payable, accounts receivable and cash receipts
  • Tracking expenses
  • Reconciling bank statements
  • Posting accounts to the general ledger
  • Preparing for year-end financial audits

If you’ll be relying on your bookkeeper to send donor acknowledgments, order supplies or handle any other clerical duties, spell out those duties in the job description.

Look for Nonprofit Specialists

Not-for-profits have special bookkeeping challenges that for-profit businesses don’t. At the very least, you want a bookkeeper who understands there are differences, such as accounting for pledges, donated goods and services, and restricted donations. If possible, search for bookkeepers with nonprofit expertise.

Candidates also must be:

  • Knowledgeable about accounting basics
  • Willing to learn your organization’s accounting specifics
  • Attentive to details
  • Deadline-oriented
  • Computer-literate

Finally, because your bookkeeper will handle cash, financial records and proprietary information, potential hires must be trustworthy and above reproach. Conduct thorough background and credit checks on anyone you’re seriously considering, including following up on any references.

We Can Help

Many organizations hire a bookkeeper because other staff members don’t have the necessary accounting skills. If you’re in that situation, you may wonder how you can judge the accounting acumen of bookkeeper candidates. We can help you define the role and may even be able to offer referrals— please contact us for more information.