Dead Bookkeeper Syndrome is a term I have coined to describe the situation of a company’s bookkeeper suddenly disappearing or dying.
During the December holidays, one of my clients, a husband and wife team who run a local repair shop, went overseas to visit family. While there, the wife had a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital. Long story short, she (thankfully) is not dead, but she is still overseas recovering, and her husband is back home running the shop.
The problem is, he knows nothing about QuickBooks. As their QB Pro Advisor, I only visited their office quarterly to review the books and close the quarter. I’m not entirely familiar with the daily procedures for their books, but I know more than the husband!
I am now going there twice a week to train their son, who has no accounting or bookkeeping experience, how to run their office. Fortunately, he was available to step in, and he’s a quick learner. Now, we may often think about what we would do if a personal disaster were to strike the primary keeper of the books, but how many of us actually have a plan in place?
Here’s some things to consider to assess how well your business, or your client’s businesses, would fare if the bookkeeper was suddenly unavailable, either due to illness, death, or other reasons:
Is there a master passwords list, and does someone beside the bookkeeper know how to access it? This list must include User IDs, Passwords, and Security Question answers for the books, online banking (checking, savings, credit cards, loans), payroll service, major vendors, and 3rd party apps such as Bill.com, etc. The length of this list, once you sit down to create it, may surprise you.