It might be tempting to try to do everything yourself to save a few bucks, but most business owners can’t sustain this model. Unless you went into business to be a banker, attorney, HR specialist, or accountant, you’re going to need some help.
It only makes sense that you focus on attracting and serving your customers while you let someone else handle some of those support services. In the case of an accountant, having a specialist in your corner can help you save money as well as avoid some expensive mistakes.
But how do you hire the best accountant for the job? Here’s what you need to know.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Business Accountant
Finding the right accountant isn’t as simple as a Google search. Unfortunately, not everyone offers the same services or has an equal dedication to customer service. You’ll have to dig a bit.
First, an accountant isn’t the same thing as a bookkeeper or a CPA. A bookkeeper can help you record transactions but isn’t able to give tax or financial advice. An accountant can do all of those things, but the IRS won’t recognize them as your representative if you have an issue. For that, you’ll need a CPA.
If you’re ready to hire someone, here are some questions you should ask:
1. “Tell me about your experience working with small businesses.”
The needs of a small business can be unique. Some may have to shift focus quickly from complying with tax requirements to dealing with cash flow issues. Are you a franchise, an S-corp, or a partnership? Find out how much experience the accountant has dealing with small businesses and even ask for some references.
2. “What do you know about my industry?”
Some accountants specialize in certain industries. Ask if they know anything about yours or have worked for clients in your sector in the past.
3. “How do you get to know a client’s business?”
It’s helpful to build a strong long-term relationship with your accountant as opposed to switching providers frequently. Ask how the accountant builds these relationships and the ways in which they will learn about your business.
4. “What range of services do you provide?”
Accountants can help your business in a variety of ways – if you let them. In addition to preparing your taxes, a reputable accountant can create financial reports, help with budgeting, handle payroll, and manage accounts payable and receivable. Ask what services your prospective firm provides.
5. “Who will be my point of contact?”
Since relationships are essential, find out who you’ll be dealing with from day to day. Is it the person you’re speaking with now or someone else on the firm’s staff?
6. “How will you bill for services?”
Most accountants charge an hourly rate, but some might offer services on retainer. Clarify your relationship upfront by asking how the firm bills for its services, as well as the charges for any add-ons.
Small Business Accountants and CPAs Focused on Your Success
At Nolan Accounting Center, our accountants and CPAs provide accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, tax preparation, and payroll services to small businesses throughout Southeast Wisconsin. If you are looking for help, contact us so that we can have a conversation about your needs and earn your business.