You cannot understate the importance of having a good accountant, no matter the industry your small business is in. You can hire a bookkeeper to help you with basic accounting services, an accountant with an accounting degree to help with payroll and more complicated accounting, or a certified public accountant to provide you with tax planning and tax preparation services. They are going to help with the growth of your business because they will share strategic advice.
If you are running a small business, it is a good idea to have a reliable business accountant. You should invest in research so you can get the right option. Below are the top ten tips that will go a long way in helping you choose the right accountant for your small business.
- Knowing What You Need
Before you can choose the right accountant for your business, it is a good idea to know the work or responsibilities the accountant is going to handle. If you are looking for an accountant to help with monthly financial statements or bookkeeping tasks, you can just hire a bookkeeper or a non-certified accountant. If you want an accountant to work on tax planning, prepare tax returns, or audit your financial statements, you need to hire a certified public accountant or CPA.
- Looking for Accountants with Small Business Experience
Working with a big accounting firm might not be good for your business. It is a good idea to work with an accountant working with small businesses, especially if they have experience working with small businesses in your industry. This is because they have a good understanding of the industry and they know related challenges. If the accountant has experience working with clients like you, they are in a good position to advise you on the growth of the business.
- Deciding Whether You Need an Accountant or a CPA Firm
When starting a small business, most people manage taxes on their own. Today, it has become easy for business owners to handle bookkeeping tasks because there are advanced software like QuickBooks, Sage, Xero, etc. that makes things easy.
But there will be a point when it makes more sense to have a professional accountant or a team to handle payroll, accounting, and tax responsibilities. Whether you need a solo accounting firm or CPA is going to depend on the scale of the business and the transactions it handles monthly.
- Asking for Recommendations
A good way of finding an accountant is asking other small business owners about the accountant they are using. Getting recommendations from your peers is one of the best things. Ask about their experience working with the bookkeeper or accountant, and get a rough idea of how much you are going to pay for the services.
- Comparing Fees
Some are going to charge you monthly that includes completing taxes, while others charge a monthly fee for bookkeeping services then paying a separate fee for personal and business taxes. Before choosing an accountant, find out how they bill. Fees differ from one accountant to another because the services they provide and qualifications can be different. Some will charge a flat fee for bookkeeping services then charge an annual fee for other services like taxes. You can negotiate with them on payment depending on your cash flow. Analyze the budget before you make your choice.
- Leveraging Social Media
Accountants are active on social media platforms. Many of them are on platforms like LinkedIn. Accountants and accounting firms know the importance of being on these platforms. Have a look at their profile and if there are any recommendations from customers. This shows that the accountant or accounting firm is recommended for their expertise by some of their customers.
- Asking About Accounting Software
Before hiring an accountant, find out the software they recommend to clients with small businesses. There are some who might still be using the old desktop accounting software. This shows that they have not yet switched to the latest online accounting solutions. When it comes to accounting software, you want one where you can grow into in three to five years. The accountant should be the one teaching you how to use the software and help you with setting up the initial chart of accounts. It is also a good idea to ask them whether they can help you with a discount on the accounting software.
- Checking if they are Using Cloud Technology
Accountants are today choosing to use cloud computing. This is because of the benefits cloud computing offers. Some of them include data security, flexibility to do work, remote data accessibility, features such as ACH wire transfer, and electronic invoicing. There will be times when you want to access the accounting data when you are not there physically. It is great to have an accountant with who you can discuss urgent matters at any time. An accountant using cloud services can easily do this.
- Asking About their Reporting Frequency
You should find out how often you are going to receive your financial statements from the accountant or accounting firm. It is important to have frequent communication with the accountant, especially when the business is still growing. Your accountant can also act as a business advisor and not the person you only call during tac season. Start by setting expectations of the frequency of reporting and communication before looking for an accountant meeting those requirements.
- Being Selective
It is important to have an accounting professional on your team. You should interview three or more candidates before choosing the best option. It is very important to go with an accountant that is a fit for your business. You should not hire an accountant who doesn’t feel like part of your team, there are many out there to choose from. While this process might leave you with a little discomfort, this is going to be for the short-term and you are going to get the long-term benefits. It is important to have up-to-date financial information because it is going to help you when making business decisions. This is why you need to hire the right professional accounting service.