Working with an accountant can help small businesses avoid mistakes and oversights. Misdated invoices or inaccurate financial statements might seem like minor kinks right now, but inaccurate financial statements lead to bad financial information and badly-informed decisions for your business.
The process of trying to choose the right accountant is undoubtedly an important decision, since poor financial management causes 82% of businesses to fail. But when you’re trying to find an accountant for your business, it can be overwhelming. Should you look at large firms or pick a mid-sized CPA firm to take care of your small business accounting?
Chat with your prospective accountant and ask the following 8 questions so you can choose the right accountant for your needs.
1. What services do you offer?
The best accounting firms provide a varied range of services. These may include traditional offers, such as bookkeeping and tax services, and more cutting-edge solutions that align with modern business needs. Offering a myriad of services lets certified public accountants provide comprehensive financial strategies based on sound taxes, accounting, and bookkeeping.
For example, a CFO service allows business owners to make smart financial decisions without incurring the cost of employing a full-time chief financial officer. As your business grows, outsourcing your accounting services saves you time and improves the accuracy of your tax preparation and tax returns, your company’s accounting work, and allows for better business planning.
When narrowing down your accountant options, learn as much as you can about the portfolio available. Good accounting firms will have one eye on today — handling your incomings and outgoings — while also thinking about your business’s financial future.
2. How much experience do you have?
Be wary of accounting firms who have little to no demonstrable experience with businesses like yours. If this sounds like your current accountant, it may be time to change.
Ask about the firm’s background, the number of ongoing clients it has, and the team’s credentials. The more they understand about your sector, the better support they’ll be able to give.
Also, learn to spot the signs of bad accountants, such as a lack of discretion when discussing other clients or suggesting dishonest practices. Knowing how to spot a red flag when looking for a certified accountant or CPA will help you avoid wasting time and money.
3. How can we communicate from day to day?
Some accounting firms are still catching up. They may be skeptical about cloud-based tools because of security issues, despite the high-end measures the best platforms use. And that’s inconvenient for modern businesses, who depend on online communications daily.
Most reliable accounting firms leverage various communication solutions to interact with clients.
4. How will you help my business prepare for the upcoming tax season?
Preparing and filing your taxes is rarely pleasant. But it becomes much, much more comfortable with a tax expert on your side.
A professional accounting firm offering tax services will focus on accurate bookkeeping and necessary adjustments throughout the year to:
- Take advantage of any deductions available
- Lower taxable income with tax credits (if viable)
- Help you to maintain regulatory compliance
Leaving taxes to the last minute increases your risk of making mistakes, being audited, and even facing brutal penalties. Without help from a tax expert, you could miss out on opportunities to increase savings and end up paying more than you need to.
5. Can you help me improve my existing accounting system?
Your current accounting system may make managing your finances more difficult than it should be.
Working with an accountant presents an opportunity to maximize productivity, outsource bookkeeping services to save money, and integrate the best accounting software into your daily processes.
6. How does your payment system work?
Will your accountant charge on an hourly basis? Will they send you an invoice at the end of a month? Or, do they have a subscription model in place?
Make sure you’re clear on payments before hiring an accountant. Understand what you’re paying for, how much it costs, and when you’re expected to pay.
7. Who will handle my accounting, and is this likely to change?
The majority of business owners want to know who’s responsible for their accounting, bookkeeping, tax filing, etc. And that’s generally not an issue if you’re working with a small, or solo, accounting team.
But accounting firms employing numerous CPAs may appoint multiple experts to handle your finances. If that’s a problem for you, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. The best accounting firms are committed to total client satisfaction and will flex to align with your expectations. They’ll be happy to answer your questions and set your mind at ease.
8. What changes can I make to save money and improve my financial management?
Quality accountants will make you more productive — suggesting ways to streamline your bookkeeping processes and free up time for other tasks. Your workforce may become more efficient, focused, and profitable as a result.
Want to choose the right accountant?
Choosing the right accountant can alleviate much of the stress brought by managing your finances while reducing the risk of cash-flow problems throughout the fiscal year.
Whether this is your first time or if you’re changing accountants, learn as much as you can before you decide. A good team will always be happy to provide total peace of mind.
To learn more about the benefits of working with experienced accountants, contact our team today.