Why you need an accountant and how to choose one
Why accountants are necessary
Unless you’re an experienced accountant yourself, it’s always best to have an expert overseeing your financial business affairs. As a business owner, you’ll probably be juggling several roles, but it’s not wise to spread yourself too thin where money is concerned. And even though accounting software does most of the hard work (reconciling bank accounts and even producing draft profit and loss accounts), accounting software doesn’t actually think. This is where the expert comes in.
Preparing end-of-year reports and filing taxes can be complicated. If you’re not doing it right, you could be liable for penalties, or at the very least, not taking advantage of tax gains and financial opportunities. An accountant can not only make sure your business remains compliant (and pay as little tax as possible) but also help you analyze your business performance and work with you to achieve your goals.
Aside from records and taxes, your accountant can – and should – become one of your most trusted advisors. They haven’t spent all that time learning about financial systems for nothing, so they can become a valuable mentor. If your business gets into trouble, they’ll be the one to guide you through the minefield and back on track.
Finding the right accountant
For obvious reasons, choosing wisely is important. So, when you’re doing your research on accountant options, keep the following in mind:
- Experience – ideally you want someone who understands and has experience with small businesses and what tax obligations they have to meet. It’s a good idea to talk to other business owners – word-of-mouth is one of the most effective ways to find a good accountant.
- Audits – should you have to face one, you’ll need your accountant to hold your hand throughout the process, so they can explain what to expect and reduce your stress levels. So, it’s important to look for someone who’s been through it before.
- Accounting software – you want to choose someone who’ll not only help you purchase the right software for your business but will show you how to use it.
- Good relationship – again, talk to other business owners about the relationships they have with their accountants. You’re looking for someone who’s in it for the long haul, who has an interest in seeing you and your business succeed, and who’s willing to be your adviser year-long, not just when the end-of-year report is due.
Taxes are complicated. But there are financial benefits to be had for business owners, so you’re looking for an accountant who has a focus on tax strategies and can help you get the most out of them for your business.
A good accountant will do all they can to help minimize the amount of tax you have to pay and will pinpoint any opportunities.
So, not only are you looking for someone who’ll prepare your taxes for you but will also make suggestions and recommendations, so you can take full advantage of any tax benefits. This advisory role is essential for all accountants.
Making your choice
Tap into your business network contacts and do your due diligence online so that you can identify accountants who fit the bill for your business and narrow down the search.
Contact us and arrange for a time to come in and interview us. Let us show you all the ways that we can help.
During the interview, have some prepared questions that focus on being proactive about saving money, understanding taxes, and focusing on growth.
Just like in any other interview situation, go with your instincts. If you sense a rapport with an accountant and feel confident that they know their stuff, you’re probably right. On the other hand, if your gut’s telling you that the person you’re talking to is complacent and without a real sense of involvement, then strike them off the list.
What you’re looking for is someone who is experienced, capable and understanding. You should feel that they’ll be a good advisor and are interested in developing a long-term professional relationship with you.
Having the right accountant for your business leaves you free to focus on why you started the business in the first place – to see it grow and become profitable. An accountant is an important part of this because they’ll keep your finances on track. Which, in the end, is the whole point.