As a business owner, it’s crucial that you hire the right accounting professional to provide you with appropriate accounting advice for your organization. However, picking the right individual for the job can be challenging. You want a trusted partner who can help you strategize your taxes and finances and who is committed to helping you, at a rate you can afford.
As you make the decision to hire an accounting professional for your business, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
- Consider their qualifications
What sort of qualifications do they hold? Are they a bookkeeper, accountant, CPA, or Enrolled Agent (EA)? Do they have the appropriate qualifications, licenses, certifications and/or experience?
Also, what do you want them to help with? You may need to hire one or more different type of accounting professional, depending on what expertise you wish to exploit. For example, an Enrolled Agent can represent you before the IRS. An accountant or CPA can interpret your financials, and a bookkeeper keeps meticulous records for your business transactions.
- Decide on the best location
Cloud accounting makes it easier to work remotely with your accountant. However, you must decide if you’d rather collaborate with someone closer. Deciding on your accountant’s location is important in determining how well you will work together.
- Consider the software they use
There are various software and accounting tools available for businesses. Before hiring an accountant for your organization, you may want to check the type of accounting system he/she uses. You will have to get familiar with the technology they’re using in order to have some visibility over your business’ transactions and records.
When dealing with accounting software, it’s a good idea to get an accounting professional to set it up for your specific business and train you on its use. Ask if your prospective accountant offers that service.
- Ensure they’re proactive about saving money
The right accountant for your business will be committed to strategizing your taxes and finances in order to save your business money. As part of your screening process, consider inquiring about how proactive they are about reducing your business’ costs. You may consider hiring an EA for this purpose, as they are specialized in tax and tax law.
Inquire about tax planning strategies to save on operating costs as part of the interview process. However, be careful to check that whatever tax strategies are recommended, they keep in line with the law and with your own ethics.
- Discuss and negotiate their fees
Part of your hiring process should involve discussing your prospective accountant’s fees. And, do pay attention. Many people tend to gloss over the fees and get surprised when the bill comes.
Make sure to set aside some time to negotiate their fees. Ensure that these fit into your business’ budget.
- Get familiar with your own accounting.
At the end of the day, your business is still your business. You should know and understand your own accounting in order to stay on top of your organization.
Get familiar with your accounting system, and learn to improve it over time. Hiring an accountant shouldn’t mean leaving your entire business into someone else’s hands. Also, if you have trouble reading the spreadsheets and reports, ask your accountant to train you on it. They should be more than happy to explain it all to you.
- Inquire about their responsiveness
An accountant is in many ways a business partner. In this sense, he/she has to be available and responsive in case of changes in the business. As you go through the screening and interviewing process, ask about their availability and responsiveness to determine if they will be the right fit for you.
- Check their level of commitment
Lastly, as a prospective business partner, your accounting professional should be committed to the financial health and growth of your business. Consider discussing their level of commitment to helping you grow your businesses. Evaluate their responses to see if they’re as committed to your business as you are.
Still wondering how to make your decision when it comes to hiring the right accounting professional for your small business?
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