Beginning with a new Bookkeeper: Documents and Information

Written by Briana Cavanaugh

January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

People often decide that they want to start with a new bookkeeper in the new year. After deciding on who, and where and for how much,  the next big question is:  what do I need to give my shiny new bookkeeper in order for us to work together?

I’ve put together a list of documents that you’ll need in starting with a new bookkeeper. Keep in mind that you’ll need these document as of the date of either the opening of the business or the date of beginning the new records (whether you’re choosing QuickBooks, Quicken, Excel, or doing the books by hand you’ll have to choose a starting date).
  • Checkbook stubs or checkbook register with vendor names, dates, and amount information.
  • Business bank statements (checking, savings, etc.) 
  • Business loan information (lines of credit, personal loans/equity, asset purchases, etc.)
  • Copies of deposits including descriptions of income
  • Business credit card statements
  • Business expenditures made with personal funds (check, cash, credit card)
  • Subcontractor/vendor information (name, address, taxpayer’s identification # either EIN or SSN)
  • Customer/client information (name, address and how much they owe you) 
  • Business taxpayer’s identification numbers (federal & state)
  • State & Federal applications for filing online payroll taxes
  • Employee information for payroll tax returns
  • Federal and state tax returns for previous year’s filing, if applicable
  • CPA, tax attorney or tax professional’s contact information, if you have one
A note about QuickBooks and downloading transactions. Many people want to be able to download transactions into QuickBooks or Quicken or some program.  To do that you’ll have to talk to your bank and make sure that your bank has that functionality with the type of account that you have and that you’re set up to do that. Many banks won’t allow you to download QuickBooks formatted transactions from personal accounts and these days there are often fees for the privilege – I’ve seen them up to $16/month. 

Usually you need a separate pin for the software to access the bank’s website and sometimes a specific log in to access the transaction. Sometimes you’ll need to import them as you can’t download them directly and sometimes you can just click one or two things and make it happen. There are time limits to how long the transactions remain on the bank’s website as well (usually three months, but American Express seems to have an entire year’s transactions for download and have been the easiest to work with). 

In any case, there are many answers to this question. So be prepared. If you want this feature, either let your bookkeeper know in advance or be prepared for it to take some weeks to have this set up as the pin in generally mailed to you.

Additionally downloading transactions doesn’t always save time. The professional will have to review each and every transaction that goes in regardless of whether they are downloaded or entered manually. And if you’re downloading transactions, you’re trusting the bank’s word on your transaction.  


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