My apologies to Tim Ferriss, but I’m in the middle of reading the latest edition of The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated (affiliate link) and I’m going to share an epiphany I had: I’m going to outsource my bookkeeping. Why? Because I hate doing it, I’m not very good at doing it so it takes a long time to do it. Basically, it costs me money to do my own bookkeeping.
The Balance Between Time and Money
In running a business, we are constantly budgeting 2 precious commodities – Time and Money. When I first opened my business, I didn’t have many clients, so I had a lot of time and not much money. So it made sense to do as much of the labor-intensive work as I could. I had time to spend struggling through the learning curve of all the tasks of business ownership. I designed my own fliers, business cards, brochures, newsletters, did all the bookkeeping, mailing list management, and insurance billing. I got pretty good at Photoshop and filling out CMS1500 forms.
The only thing I outsourced was my taxes and, honestly, that was because I would rather roll around a parking lot full of broken glass and road salt than read another IRS document. For the safety of the community, and for my own sanity, I hired a Certified Public Accountant. I highly recommend you hire one, too. (He doesn’t do bookkeeping – he outsources it!)
More Money, Less Time
As the business grew and my schedule filled up, I was getting more money but didn’t have as much time. I’m now at a point where I have to decide between doing a task I can outsource or spending that time doing something that can make me money. Bookkeeping was an easy call. I do a fair amount of insurance work where I have to wait for the insurance reimbursement before I can bill the client for their co-insurance. This adds a layer of complexity to the bookkeeping and takes more time.
Not being trained in double entry bookkeeping, my attempts at tracking all of this were slow and tedious. I was doing it correctly; it just took longer than if I were trained in how to do it. My bookkeeper is a Quickbooks wizard. She makes it look effortless and she can do my books in about a quarter of the time it takes me. She knows what a journal entry is, accounts receivable, accounts payable, accrual vs. cash, and how to set up my books to make tracking all of this easy-ish. She should be wearing a superhero cape and have her own comic book series, that’s how easy she makes it look.