In today’s modern business world, hiring an accountant is one of the most important decisions you’re going to make. There’s the standard approach of getting an accountant who can help pay your taxes and keep everything in order, and then there’s getting yourself a proper accountant who can help you with things like tax minimization and staying legal with new laws and regulations.
This is all great, but how do you actually choose the right accountant for you? In today’s guide, we’re going to explore the five things you need to know and consider when it’s time to hire. OnTheClock also offers an Accountant Marketplace with a variety of accountants who specialize in specific areas of your business. If you're an accountant and would like to learn more about being listed in our marketplace then please see our OTC Pro program.
1. Choose an Accountant in the Right Niche and Industry
Every industry and niche in business is different, and the same applies to how accounts work within these niches. There may be taxes and laws imposed on your industry and not on others, which is why it’s so important to choose an accountant who is familiar with the industry you’re working in.
Do your research, whether online or asking potential accountants how well trained and knowledgeable they are about your niche, so you know you have someone who is not going to miss anything. It may take time and research to find an accountant that works for you, and that’s okay.
You don’t need to simply settle for the first accountant you can find, nor one that is in your local area. After all, we live in the 21st Century, which means you could even hire an accountant abroad if you so wished since you can send all your documents wirelessly and can connect via email and video calls.
Another resource to consider when hiring an accountant for your industry is to read their reviews online. Oftentimes reviews can provide you and your company with valuable and accurate information regarding an organization or service provider. Don’t feel like you are only restricted to the accounting services that are right in front of you.
2. Be Clear with Offered Services
When seeking out an accountant, make sure you’re looking as to what services your preferred accountant has to offer you, as well as the services they don’t offer you. If you find yourself under a tax audit, for example, you may need your accountant to represent you, but this can’t happen if your accountant is not qualified.
Some other accounting services you may not need now, such as bookkeeping, business valuations, investment manager, you may want in the future, and it’s much easier to find an accountant now that offers it all, rather than having to spend time switching down the line and starting your relationship from square one.
Many businesses who also hire an accountant but don’t take the time to see what services are included in the price they are paying. For example, if bookkeeping is offered at the price you’re paying, but you aren’t using the service and doing it yourself, you could be missing out on the expert specialist assistance that your accountant could be bringing into your business.
3. Is an Accountant Essential?
While we are talking a lot about how to find an accountant, it may be worth taking a moment to think about whether an accountant is actually a service you need to invest in. If you run a relatively small business with simple income and expenditure, you may be able to do your taxes yourself.
However, statistics show that 82% of small businesses fail due to poor cash flow, and this is a staggering figure that cannot be ignored. This includes a poor understanding of how cash flow works, or poor overall management. In short, if you are not looking after your money nor understanding how to manage it properly, you’re risking failure of your business.
This is why it can pay to get an accountant. They can highlight anomalies in your cash flow to help you figure out what improvements you need to make and where you can make money and can focus on making changes. With professional guidance by your side, you have all the information you need to make the right decisions with your business, and reduce your chances of ending up in the red.
“Perhaps someone who works in your business already has experience being an accountant and would be happy to manage everything for you, or maybe the fees of an accountant aren’t yet suitable for your budget. Whatever type of business you are, you always need to be asking yourself whether investing in an accountant is worth your resources,” explains Sarah McDonald, a recruiter at Academized.
4. Stay Within your Accounting Budget
There are accountants out there that offer their services at reasonable rates, but then when you really look into it, there is a possibility of hidden fees and service charges, which can end up costing you a small fortune.
It is really important to ask your potential accountants how much everything is going to cost and what kind of fees they have. A good accountant will be very upfront about this and will give you a copy of all the pricing and costs, so you always have a reference and avoid confusion.
If you have any limits to your spending and budget, make sure you have a clear understanding on services and charges so you can stick to your budget.
5. Working with Accounting Software
Managing your business and finances can be so much easier if you’re using accounting software, and thanks to the wonders of technology, there are countless options out there for you to choose from.
Using an accountant who works with accounting software can make your life so much easier since you can effortlessly send over your financial documents, and there are plenty of opportunities to see exactly how the accounting process works. This will ensure you have all the tools needed to look after your business and money properly.
With over 69% of all small businesses using some kind of cloud-based accounting software, there’s no doubt that accounting software improves the payroll process. Accounting software has come a long way over the last few years, and it is now easier than ever to manage your finances and payroll.
For example, there are many accounting software solutions that offer features such as integrating time card data. If you use a time tracking system to monitor hours that your staff is working, then accounting and time clock softwares can integrate with one another for accountants to have direct access to clients' employee hours worked.
This means a more flawless execution of your payroll processes and employee time tracking, and you minimize the risk of human error when trying to figure out how much tax you need to be paying, and who’s getting paid what.
The Conclusion to Hiring an Accountant
As you can see, there are several things you’re going to want to think about and consider when it comes to hiring an accountant for your business. By being mindful of what you are looking for, clear with your requirements, and understanding what your business needs, you can be sure that you will find the right accountant for you, your team and company.
Time Tracking That Integrates With Accounting
Use OnTheClock to track hours worked to improve accounting and payroll.