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How to Interview a Bookkeeper

by Nicole Vulcan, studioD

Like any other employee, a bookkeeper should be able to fit in well with the other workers, so that there's open communication between everyone involved. While the interview process doesn't show you everything, it will reveal a lot about the bookkeeper candidates. On top of the usual hiring questions about strengths and weaknesses and the person's availability and drive, ask some basic questions specific to the bookkeeping profession.

Make a list of some of the bookkeeping issues you've encountered with your business in the past, such as inconsistencies in billing or payroll problems with wage garnishment. During the interview, tell the candidate that you want to find someone who can handle your special circumstances. Explain the issues you've encountered and ask the candidate how she would handle those issues. The right candidate will have dealt with these things in the past and can provide a detailed answer of the steps necessary to take care of the issues. If not, she should at least know where to go to find a resolution.

Ask the bookkeeper about the experience she has with businesses like yours. A bookkeeper who's worked with similar businesses will be the best fit, advises the financial site Samarak.com. Bookkeeping procedures vary from one business type to the next, so it's helpful to find candidates who are familiar with how to keep books in your industry.

Ask about the types of bookkeeping software the candidate is familiar with. In the best-case scenario, she will be familiar with the type of software you use so she can dive right into doing your books. She might also have suggestions for an even better program, based on your business' needs.

Ask the candidate to take a basic bookkeeping exam, provided by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. This short test will give you an understanding of the accountant's strengths and weaknesses and whether she's competent enough to meet your business' needs.


  • Ask the candidate to provide you a list of references, and then call the references. Because the strongest candidates are those who have worked with businesses similar to yours, you'll be able to ask the references how the candidate handled specific aspects of your business.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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