Here at Gadsby Accountants, we often help people to answer the question of whether or not they need an accountant and how to find one that will help them. If you are in business, money is clearly necessary, and handling and monitoring it effectively is essential too. The short answer is that the services of a good accountant are a must for anyone who is in business.
Keep reading if you don’t have your own accountant but feel that you certainly need one. Hiring the right one for the needs of your business should be your goal, and we can help you to achieve that goal.
When do you need to hire an accountant?
It should be one of the first things you do when you establish and run your own business, along with finding a good lawyer and banker too. Knowing someone with accounting expertise is a good thing to do as early as possible, so you have someone to consult when the time comes. It’s always a good idea to find an accountant sooner rather than later, even if you haven’t quite got your business off the ground yet.
What should you look for in an accountant?
Don’t overestimate the needs of your company and hire a huge accounting company immediately when you don’t really need a large company; it’s a mistake many small business owners make. If you have a business employing just a few people, clearly you don’t need the services of a huge accounting firm. You’ll probably benefit from a smaller company if they can provide what you need.
It’s important that you feel comfortable talking with your chosen accountant, in person, and on the phone. And try to work with someone who is willing to answer your questions, is genuinely helpful and doesn’t use too much jargon.
There is little point in working with an accountant that you just don’t feel comfortable with. remember that their role is to help you and your business, advise you on financial matters and generally make your life easier.
How much will it cost to use an accountant?
It typically won’t cost you anything to have an initial consultation as most small practice companies are vying for your business. And the fees for setup work are usually nominal.
The charges assessed by accountants can vary from one area to another; you’ll probably pay less to hire an accounting company in Iowa or Alabama than you would in New York or Los Angeles.
You can get an idea of how much you’ll pay where you live and the average cost of preparing your taxes by referring to the US TaxCenter’s useful guide. If you are based in Canada and need to use an accountant, before deciding on fees that work with your company’s budget, do some basic research on fees charged, so you know what to expect.
What should your accountant do for you?
A good accountant can guide you on financial strategy, help you set up your business and choose the best legal structure for your company, as well of course, as preparing your taxes every year. If you get audited by the IRS, some accountants can support and assist you. And if you need help with a payroll system, forms your business may need, applying for a business loan or deciding which accounting system to use, your accountant can potentially help with all this and more.
By now you can probably see why it’s a good idea to know a reliable accountant, even if you feel you don’t need to hire one full time at the moment.
You may be able to take advantage of different services offered by your accountant, that can be outsourced somewhere else. Don’t make the common mistake of assuming your accountant will do absolutely everything.
As an example, your accountant could take on a role as a general financial advisor, and you can continue to handle your expenses and invoicing with FreshBooks, as you are already doing now.
Your accountant shouldn’t have a problem with you using another company or person to provide additional services at a better price. Remember, it’s all about making sensible financial decisions, as any accountant will verify.
How to find a good accountant
Other small business owners may be able to recommend a good accountant to you, and it’s an effective way to find someone. If you are considering working with a particular accounting company, check online comments and reviews from current clients.
You may also be able to get recommendations for a good accounting firm by using FreshBooks, Bench, or similar services. To locate an accountant based in your area who is comfortable with FreshBooks, use the FreshMap tool.
Working with an accounting company that is based locally is the preference of most of the business owners that we work with here at Bench. If you prefer to work with an accountant who is based some distance away from you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do that, although it’s a must that you verify they are able to help you remotely effectively.
If possible, carry out a test run of their services, once you feel you have found an accountant you are comfortable working with. Getting a feel for their system when you are given access to it is obviously useful and will help you to decide if they are the company you want to use for your accounting needs.
The expertise and help of a skilled accountant can make a positive difference, regardless of the size of your business. The right accountant can help your business to grow, can function as a valuable partner for the long term, and can assist with any financial concerns. And of course, tax time is a lot easier too.