Updated on February 25th, 2019
Accounting is a vital business function you cannot afford to ignore. While many small business owners try to manage their own books, the reality is that it is difficult and risky to do it yourself.
Let’s look at why every small business needs an accountant. And more importantly, we’ll tell you how to find the right one for your small business.
Occasions When You Must Have an Accountant Working for You
Perhaps you have the skills to do basic bookkeeping. There are still occasions when you absolutely must have an accountant working for you.
Particularly for startups, there are some notable Manchester Accountants who will advise and guide you through the early stages of business development.
You should have a good accountant review your business plan to make sure it is financially compatible with your overall plans.
Another time to consult with an accounting professional is when you’re drafting your financial statement. Their advice on how to create a financial statement or their services in cleaning up your books will help you when it comes to getting approved for financing.
A professional accountant is a good source of advice when you’re ready to hire your first employees. And if you’re not familiar with a payroll, you should hand that task over to a professional accountant.
Why Every Business Needs an Accountant
Every business should ideally work with an accountant. They do far more than tax filing. For example, accountants regularly assess your business’ finances.
They can create forecasts that help your business plan for the future and make sure it is taking the right decisions. In fact, having an accountant handling your books on a daily basis means you’ll learn about budget problems as soon as they arise and can deal with them before they become disasters.
And if you have trouble making good financial decisions, an accountant can help you make the right decisions regarding where to invest your limited capital and where to spend your money.
How to Find the Right Accountant for You
Before you pick an accountant, you have to assess your needs first. A non-certified accountant will be able to handle bookkeeping, financial analysis, and regular financial statements.
A Certified Management Accountant certification is a plus when you’re interviewing for this role, especially if the person is part of the company’s management team.
For matters like tax return preparation and tax advice, you want to hire an accountant who is certified and licensed. At a minimum, you’d want a certified public accountant or CPA.
You also want to vet their experience relative to your line of business and the services you need. A general bookkeeper may not be qualified to answer tax questions.
If you want advice on retirement plans or financial planning advice, you may need someone with different qualifications than your tax preparer.
Don’t assume that working with a major accounting firm meets all these criteria. Accounting firms often call in third-party experts when the situation requires it, and many big accounting firms farm out work to smaller firms.
If you want more face time or better customer service, you may be better off partnering with the smaller firm directly. If you’re considering using a large firm, ask who would be handling your account.
Word of mouth referrals are a good way to identify candidates for your business, but you need to vet their credentials. Ask questions to see if they have experience in your industry and with the software you use.
Verify that they have clear and direct communication, even if there is bad news. Check their references. Always do your due diligence since this is someone who has access to your company’s financial records and accounts.
A good accountant can improve your business’ operations and position the company for future growth. Wait too long to bring in expert help or hire the wrong person, and it could cost you dearly.