Accounting services for businesses are often seen as a necessary evil just to endure and delegate as quickly as possible.
But what if accounting solutions were a powerful partnership, helping you unlock greater profitability and knowledge of your business?
The problem is when evaluating for either lowest cost or whatever is nearest to you in geography, you’ll likely receive sub-standard services.
In the article, we’ll walk through how to evaluate for services that fit with your business needs, and provide you the most value and lowest amount of stress.
Sound good? Let’s dive in.
What does an accountant do for your business?
For a small business owner who has not hired an accountant before, it can be unclear as to what exactly one will do for you.
You want to make sure that you’re paying an accountant for their unique expertise, not for simple things you can do yourself. Easy tasks you can complete in-house include data-entry tasks, such as entering basic account data.
Here are examples of what an accountant can help you with:
- Tax returns
- Financial statements
- Bank reconciliations
- Accounts payable
- Tax deductions
- Strategic planning
Now that you know why you need an accountant, let’s jump into learning how to select the right one for your business!
What to consider when hiring an accounting service
Here are some factors that come into play when hiring an accountant:
- Advisory/coaching services
- Knowledge of your industry
Something that can be a dealbreaker in the process of hiring an accountant is if they are unable to connect to the tools and software that you already use.
This is true in multiple ways. First of all, for a firm to provide much value to you, they’ll need to be proficient in technology. With tech tools, a firm can automate much of the data entry, so that what you’re paying them for is actually high-value activities.
Secondly, you have tools you’re using each day. As an example, it’s likely you’re working with a software tool for invoicing. Whoever you hire as an accounting firm should familiarity with that invoicing software, so they can extract the information and match it up seamlessly with a general ledger.
An accountant should be able to help you with strategic planning for your business and provide you with sound financial advice. They should want to help your business save money, and to be able to do so, they should have strong knowledge of tax law.
This is the real power of accounting services: Not simply numbers but an explanation of what the numbers mean. A strong accounting firm can provide dashboard reporting, aligned with your goals.
If you are a growing business, find an accounting firm that’s comfortable talking entrepreneurs through the ups and downs of what comes with growth.
Knowledge of your industry
One of the most critical factors in choosing an accountant is whether or not they understand your industry. Often, accountants specialize in a select few areas.
For example, this means that an accountant who often works with tech startups would not be ideal for a farmer. You will want to make sure that the accounting firm has worked with other companies that are similar to yours, regarding both industry and size. You will also want to see if they have any clients similar to the size of your company. If so, this indicates that they should be able to successfully handle your business.
This is pretty straightforward, but you will want to make sure to hire a Certified Public Accountant. CPAs are highly qualified individuals who have completed a degree and a work experience requirement.
They also are required to take continuing education courses to maintain their license, so they are more likely to be on top of the latest changes and trends within accounting. Uncertified accountants may also be knowledgeable, but hiring a CPA almost guarantees that your business will be in good hands.
An accountant could look perfect on paper, but if they have poor communication, this can be a major turnoff. You will want someone who regularly keeps in touch, is not intimidating, and explains complex topics in an understandable manner. Having a personal connection with your accountant will encourage greater discussion of finances.
Where to look when hiring an accountant
By now, it’s clear what you want in the ideal accountant. However, you might be wondering where to look to find someone. Fortunately, you have many options. You could ask friends, family, or online connections. If you know any small business owners, it can be helpful to have a personal recommendation from someone you trust.
Again, industry knowledge is critical in finding the right accountant. Do you know like-minded business owners? Maybe they have an accounting firm they love who they could recommend.
Or look at the software tools you use? Do you use Gusto for payroll? They have a directory of Gusto-certified accounting firms where you can search and find the best fit.
Do the work to find the right accountant
It may be overwhelming to read about all the considerations that come into play when you are looking to hire an accountant for your business, but breaking it down and putting in the work will be tremendously beneficial in the long run. Momentum Accounting is a forward-thinking firm that offers technology implementation, advisory services, cloud accounting, and more.