Regardless of your industry or operations, your small business will benefit greatly from the services of having a top-rated accountant. You could choose to work with a bookkeeper with a degree in accounting who provides basic accounting services. There are also public accountants who can provide assistance in tax planning. All of these people will have a wealth of good advice on how to grow your business.
If you are running a small business, a reliable accounting firm is a great support to your financial operations. But first you will have to do the required research and investigation to make sure the professional you choose to work with is a good fit for your business.
#1: Know What You Need
But before you can begin looking for accountants, you should begin with a clear idea of what you need in an accountant. Ask yourself, ‘what are responsibilities and tasks I would like my accountant to handle. If you are looking for assistance with bookkeeping and financial statements, a bookkeeper or non-certified accountant will serve you well. But if you are looking for specific tax planning advice and preparation for your tax records, you will need the service of a professional CPA or a certified public accountant.
#2: Look For Small Business Experience
For your immediate needs, avoid the big accounting firms, you will need an accountant that specializes in small businesses. It would be a bonus if the professional you choose to work with is also experienced in your industry. An accountant that has been working within a specific industry for a while will better understand the challenges these businesses face. This can provide a special bonus to your financial operations and the growth and expansion of your operations.
#3: Decide Whether You Need an Accountant or a CPA Firm
Many small businesses begin by managing taxes in house. Unlike ages past, accounting management is made easier through the help of advanced software options like Quickbooks, Sage, Xero and others.
But after a certain point, the financial operations of a business can exceed the capacity of an in-house bookkeeper and a professional team of accountants is then the best option for a growing business. Whether you are looking for a solo professional or a large accounting firm will depend on the specific needs and size of your operations. There are advantages to both options for different businesses and sectors.
#4: Ask for Recommendations
One of the best ways to find a good accountant for your business is by word-of-mouth advertising. By getting a recommendation from a peer or colleague, you will know exactly what to expect from your bookkeeper, you will also have an exact figure for their services.
#5: Compare Fees
Some accountants will charge a monthly fee which covers their tax keeping services, others will charge a monthly fee and then charge extra for business and personal taxes. This is an important thing for you to consider, you will want to know how they will bill you and for what services before you make a final decision to sign on with an accountant.
Furthermore, you should know by now what services you really need. Not all accountants charge the same prices for different services so you should arrange a consultation or at the very least, a phone conference in which you can hammer out the details of your arrangement. You will also be able to discuss what sort of pay plan is best. Some accountants take annual payments and others take monthly fees.
#6: Leverage Social Media
These days many accountants are active on Social Media Platforms. As a matter of fact, a LinkedIn profile is an absolute must for a professional accountant today. You will want to see if they have a profile and many recommendations from other customers. This will be proof that they are running an active business and have some experience in their work.
#7: Ask About Accounting Software
Before you choose your accountant, you should ask about the software they are using and what they recommend for their small business clients. There are many accountants who have become connected to antiquated software and are unwilling to switch to a better option. The best plan will be to choose a software system that you can grow into over the next few years. The accountant should also be proficient in their use of the program and be able to provide you with instruction on how to use it in your own work.
#8: Accountant Uses Cloud
More and more accountants are switching to cloud computing and this is a good thing. Cloud computing offers versatility, remote access accessibility, flexibility in a wide variety of work environments and much more. Best of all, you will always have access to your accounting data. Furthermore, you will want an accountant who is there to help you at all times, this is available through the advanced technology of the Cloud.
#9: Ask About Reporting Frequency
Make sure you ask about the correspondence between you and your accountant. Will they provide financial statement reports monthly or weekly? Frequent communication is important especially in the beginning stages when you are growing the size of your business. Your accountant should be an important business advisor, and not just on the subject of taxes.
#10: Be Selective
Your accountant will form an important function and be an important member of your team. With this in mind, choose an accountant with whom you share a strong connection. Interview at least 3 or four accountants before choosing the best for your business. Of course, you may feel a small measure of discomfort as your new accountant is integrated into the team, it will all smooth out eventually.
In the long term, a professional accountant is an important component of a successful business. They provide vital information on the financial progress of your operations and valuable advice on taxes and other expenses.