How to Choose an Accountant for Your Business
You probably already know that an accountant can help you develop a bookkeeping system, maintain your business's financial documents, and work with you to achieve your financial goals, but how do you find the right accountant for your business? Read on to learn what to look for so that your business flourishes.
What an Accountant can do for Your Business
A small business accountant reviews your company's finances, prepares financial reports and taxes, and helps a business make wise financial decisions. Some accountants provide bookkeeping services, as well. A qualified accountant will help make sure you get every tax deduction to which you're entitled, expose issues with inventory, increased costs, and customers who are slow to pay well before those issues negatively impact your business.
Look to an accountant to help you maintain proper cash flow, highlight growth areas, provide insight on inventory management, compile vital financial reports, and maximize profits.
That sounds great, but the key to putting the benefits of a business accountant to use is finding the right accountant for your company.
Here's what to ask and where to look when choosing your business accountant:
1. What type of accountant do you need?
The type of accountant that you need is highly variable and depends on your business. For example, if you need an employee dedicated to your business's accounting needs, a General Accountant (also called a Staff Accountant) may be best for your company. These are like general practitioners in medicine. They know a great deal about many areas of accounting and cover a broad range of responsibilities like cash management, financial statement preparation, maintenance of company accounts, payroll, and more.
There are also specialized accountants for businesses such as medical offices, dental offices, veterinarians, construction, and more.
2. Does your business need more than one type of accountant?
Most small businesses do not need more than one type of accountant; however, you may find your accounting needs change as your company grows. Finding an accountant who can scale their services as your business expands its important for developing small businesses.
3. What if you're self-employed?
You may not require a full-time staff accountant; however, having a trusted accountant experienced with self-employed individuals is a plus. Doing so allows you to take advantage of all incentives, tax breaks, and write-offs to which you are entitled.
4. What qualifications should you look for in an accountant?
Qualifications vary by the type of accountant that you need. Still, generally, you want your accountant to have a bachelor's degree in accounting and your CPA to have that plus additional certifications. A firm grasp of tax laws is essential. Consider an accountant's communication skills, personality, and expertise when interviewing for this position. You want someone that knows their area and someone with whom you can have a positive rapport. It will make your work together more manageable and efficient if you do.
5. How can you evaluate an accountant?
In addition to checking references, be sure to check on the firm your prospective accountant comes from and look them up online to confirm certifications and detect any regulatory complaints or other negative marks on their professional record. It only takes a few minutes to do, and it can save you headaches down the road. Do your homework before you hire!
6. What should you spend on an accountant for your business?
Again, there is no concrete answer due to the variance in what type of accountant you need for your business and whether you need them occasionally, part-time, or full-time. Prices also vary by region, so check that first, then ask associates in your exact type of business to get an idea of what they pay.
Use these tips to find the accountant that best suits your business so that you can minimize loss, maximize profits, and focus on running the business instead of doing the books.