Who to Hire? continued

Qualifications

It is extremely important that the bookkeeper possess a good working knowledge of law firm processes and procedures. Candidates from another business sector such as retail or industry will not be familiar with the unique processes of trust bookkeeping in a law firm, and will not be able to anticipate the types and amounts of disbursements typical of a law practice.

Secondly, if your practice utilizes legal accounting software instead of a more generic accounting package, it is important that the successful candidate is familiar with your type of software. If not, you may need to provide the necessary training.

Good bookkeepers should possess above-average analytical skills as they are often required to identify and rectify discrepancies in the course of their duties. They should possess good communication and people skills as they need to work with members of your staff, other members of the profession, clients, and banking staff. They must be able to convey information about any trust or general account transaction undertaken by your practice.

A competent bookkeeper will even anticipate the year-end requirements of your business for preparation of year-end financials. This in turn may save you outside accounting fees.

Lastly, it is highly recommended that the successful candidate has received some training in Law Society Rules.

Where to Look

Once you have made a realistic assessment of your practice's needs and defined your expectations, you will need to hire the best candidate available that you can afford.

Old-fashioned newspaper ads may still be your best search tool, or more currently, Craigslist. Online employment websites may also be an option for those with Internet access. Employment agencies can be expensive. If you intend to use an employment agency check to be sure that they don't just refer all those who respond to ads. However, it may be worthwhile to check with employment referral services associated with the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC.