Tax responsibilities must be taken care of. Payroll and bills have to be paid on time. Every penny needs to be accounted for. Keeping healthy financials is just one fragment of your business and you’ve only got two hands.
To protect your bottom line, you need a good accountant. Here’s how to find the right person for the job.
What to Look for
Bringing on a full-time financial professional to your team is the right step if your firm is positioned for growth. When someone’s keeping an eye on your numbers, you’ll have the peace of mind that allows you to better focus on paramount tasks.
But, perhaps taking on a new employee isn’t an option. In that case, you can partner with an external accounting firm. It wouldn’t cost as much, but you’d be getting the same financial tasks done. No matter what option you go for, there are a few things you should take note of.
A Jack (or Jill) of All Trades
You need an all-encompassing professional if you are hiring your first staff accountant. You’ll need a firm or person that can do it all, instead of an accountant who specialises in payroll or bookkeeping. Here are the skills you need to look for:
- Recordkeeping – You need someone who can regularly maintain the company’s general ledger.
- Payroll – It’s the accountant’s job to make sure all employees are paid correctly and on time.
- Advising – Your accountant should be able to see opportunities for growth by using the general ledger. They should also monitor trends.
- Tax preparation – They need to be able to maximise tax deductions and pay business taxes on time.
- Bill payment – They need to manage expenses and pay bills responsibly.
Regardless of the job title, communication is key. However, when someone’s sole responsibility is managing your finances, it’s even more important. Your accountant has to communicate numbers the right way.
They have the training and skills to grasp the puzzling nuances of accounting. You may not have that knowledge. You’ll want to work with someone who can explain almost everything in layman’s terms. Generating graphs and reports isn’t enough.
They need to communicate solutions, issues, weaknesses and strong points plainly so that you’ll be able to resolve problems quickly and efficiently.
When you’re having a meeting with your leadership team, you’d want to have someone there who can outline issues and opportunities in a manner understandable to everyone. If you’re all on the same page, you can take the best course of action.
The Right Person for Your Niche
Make an effort to seek out an expert who has the right background for your industry and business type, in addition to being well versed in all aspects of accounting.
The perfect person for the job is familiar with the way your particular business operates. If you manage to find someone who knows every nook and cranny of your niche, your finances will run as smoothly as possible.
If they have the right experience, they understand the operating procedures and common costs in your industry. The proper background can also be of huge importance when it comes to tax preparation.
In addition to seeking a professional or firm with experience in your niche, it would be best if they have experience working with companies at a similar stage as yours. Nothing will catch them off guard if they already know what challenges and opportunities lie ahead.
Keeping up with the Times
Accounting is one of many professions that is undergoing seismic change due to new technologies. Accounting professionals are now aided by modern software that gives them deeper insight into the client’s financials.
Your accountant has to be acquainted with the latest office technology. They should also be willing to embrace new technology. Many accountants still favour outdated solutions. You’ll go a long way with an accountant that can learn and implement new systems that make processes easier.
When hiring an accountant, ask them about the software they use and why they use it. Also, be sure to have their take on the way technology affects their profession.
More Questions to Ask
- How long has your firm been in business?
- How long have you worked for the firm?
- How long have you been working independently?
- How large is your firm?
- What types of clients do you have?
- What’s the typical response time for year-end financial statements or tax return preparations?
As a takeaway, be sure to get your money’s worth. Do a little bit of window shopping. Be sure to ask for quotes. Vet all candidates. A good accountant is hard to find. Don’t rush it.