Finding the Right Accountant for Your Small Business
Learn how to choose an accountant who has the skills your business needs.
- Patagonia, an activist outdoor apparel business, is one instance of openness. Patagonia, in contrast to other businesses, is honest about its use of chemicals and its environmental imprint. The corporation’s sustainability goal is to “fight to become a responsible company,” according to its mission statement.
- According to the firm’s website, “We can’t represent Patagonia as the model of a responsible corporation.” “Neither we nor anybody else we know does everything a responsible firm can do. However, we can describe how we came to understand our social and environmental obligations and how we went about fulfilling them.
- Try your best to convey the sustainability story of your business while avoiding greenwashing. We all know how expensive a trip to the cleaners can be, and it’s a nasty habit.
If you are unfamiliar with debits, credits, and tracking transactions, managing your company’s finances might be challenging. But who says you have to do it alone? An accountant can provide you the knowledge and direction you need to manage your finances properly.
Although it is not required, having an accountant on hand may be quite beneficial when evaluating financial records and paying taxes. A skilled business accountant can provide your business guidance that might be the difference between success and failure, and their knowledge can assist you make decisions as your company expands.
What does a business accountant do?
An accountant for businesses looks over the books and creates financial statements. It is their responsibility to ensure that your data is accurate and that your taxes are paid accurately and on time. Some people could even provide bookkeeping services. Your accountant can help you with a number of things, according to the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), a group that offers free advice and counselling to business owners:
- Determine each tax deduction to which you are eligible.
- Recognize issues before they have a chance to ruin your company, such as vanishing inventory, rising expenses for goods or equipment, or late-paying clients.
- Maintain a manageable amount of cash flow.
- Analyze pricing, cash flow patterns, inventory control, and business finance models to identify possible growth possibilities.
- Make the necessary financial papers so you may apply for loans and investments.
- Create your tax returns properly and promptly.
However, how precisely do you discover the ideal accountant for you? When selecting a qualified accountant for your small business, ask the following questions and check in the following sources.
What do you need your accountant to do?
Choosing an accountant requires you to first decide what you want them to perform for you. While others concentrate on more general company activities, some accountants are willing to perform bookkeeping. You should opt for an accounting business that offers both services if you need both an accountant and a bookkeeper to manage the tedious weekly or daily bookkeeping tasks.
If you keep your own records, hire an accountant to prepare statements and assess the health of your company on a periodic basis (weekly, monthly, or quarterly). A qualified accountant may dramatically increase your bottom line by setting up and organizing your plans and operations in an effective manner. They should be active in your business on a daily basis, not just during tax season. What Is the Difference Between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper? is a related article.
Should you hire an accountant for your business?
You should contact an accountant if you require assistance with setting up your accounting system, maintaining financial records, reviewing the books or financial statements of your firm, or developing financial goals for your organization.
When you don’t have a background in business accounting, managing your company’s finances may be difficult, convoluted, and confusing—regardless of how good your accounting software is. It might be stressful to just sort through the bookkeeping and payroll procedures, according to John Cardanol, CHF, CLU, a financial advisor of California Financial Advisors.
Because tax regulations are always changing, there may be many loopholes that you are unaware of, according to Cardanol, who spoke to Business News Daily.
Your best bet is to work with an accountant who is knowledgeable about tax regulations and bookkeeping, especially when compliance is at issue. According to Cardanol, accountants may also lead your small business in productive routes so you get “the largest tax bang for your cash.” When Should You Hire a CPA? is a related article.
Do you need an accountant if you’re self-employed?
Cardanol responds, “Yes.” “Perhaps it’s not as complicated as a small firm with 10 to 15 people, but if someone works for themselves, there can be particular benefits and expenditures you can take advantage of,”
Even if you operate as a one-man show, getting advice from an accountant who is familiar with small business taxes and tax planning is helpful since they can tell you which deductions your company qualifies for and which to avoid. Additionally, they may offer guidance and assistance on how to save money for retirement, which can be difficult for lone entrepreneurs if they are unaware of their possibilities.
How do you find a business accountant?
You may start looking for prospects after you are clear on what you need from your accountant. According to Joshua Dubrow of the New York State Society of CPAs’ Small Business Outreach Committee, many people use the internet as their first port of call when seeking for an accountant. However, he advised against simply choosing a person you come across on Google or in an online directory.
You need to meet with someone in person if you want financial assistance, not just with taxes but also with expanding your firm, according to Dubrow.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which maintains a licence verification list of CPAs, is a reputable and well-known place where you may hunt for an accountant. Instead of working in public practice for other organizations, chartered accountants frequently perform commercial work within corporations. If you’d like to deal with a female accountant, you may also have a look at the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance.
You might ask for referrals from other proprietors of small businesses, ideally in your sector. In fact, according to Dubrow, asking around is the greatest method to find an accountant. Some of the greatest accountants run their own businesses, so you don’t necessarily need to go to a large firm.
What qualifications should you look for in an accountant?
Depending on the sort of accountant you want, the requirements change. A high school graduation is the minimum requirement for an accounting clerk, along with on-the-job training. A bachelor’s degree in accounting is required of an accountant. A CPA needs extra credentials in addition to an accounting degree.
Find an accountant who is knowledgeable about accounting software, tax regulations, and business administration. Examine an accountant’s communication abilities and the way they present information to you while conducting an interview. It’s critical that an accountant can speak well since they may occasionally need to translate paperwork and data for you. Calculating figures is crucial, but the capacity to suggest cost-saving ideas is also significant.
How do you evaluate an accountant?
Just as you wouldn’t hire a candidate without an interview and a close examination of their résumé, use caution while selecting an accountant. Ask for client references and run a background check on the accounting company, advised Cardanol. Additionally, confirm the certification of your prospects. To determine whether they have any regulatory complaints or blemishes on their record, look them up online.
If everything is in order, schedule a meeting to go through your identity, objectives, aspirations, and previous actions, according to Cardanol. Ask the CPAs whether they have knowledge and experience dealing with a company in your particular industry. Also inquire about the accountant’s availability, the amount of time they will devote to you, and if the job will be completed at your company’s location or theirs.
You want your potential accountant to be able to provide you sound financial counsel and probe you appropriately. Asking the prospect whether they have any questions regarding your company is one approach to determine this. Find another candidate if they don’t. You must understand the accountant’s level of initiative. Their responsibility is to monitor your business (literally and figuratively). You will receive greater value from their services and be able to both save money and expand your business the more involved they are.
How much does it cost to hire a business accountant?
There is no simple formula for determining how much an accountant should charge for their services because every firm is unique. Prices differ depending on your location and the type of accountant you select—a standard accountant or a CPA.
You should be aware that the median annual wage for staff accountants, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $70,500 ($33.89 an hour).
Most accounting firms and freelance accountants charge between $100 and $275 per hour if you deal with them. You might be able to agree to a set rate to maintain the accountant’s services on retainer if cost is a key concern.