Deciding that it's finally time to look for an accountant is a big step for any growing business, but you will need to make sure that your financial information – one of the most important areas of your business – are in good hands.
It is very likely that most people will turn to their search engines first when they are looking for an accountant. While it's perfectly fine to do a quick search for reviews when looking for the best pizza store in your area, you may want to dig a little deeper by looking for someone to review the finances. your business and file your tax documents.
5 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an Accountant
Whether by a reference or an online search, there are five determining factors in choosing an accountant for your business:
1. Certification and Experience
Passing the ACP exam is a difficult process – intentionally.
Although all CPA's are accountants, not all accountants are CPA. Make sure your accountant is sufficiently trained to meet the expectations and requirements of the accounting profession today. Although they have taken rigorous courses and examinations in the past, they should also take continuing education and professional development courses to remain certified, licensed and in addition to changing the rules and regulations. regulations in the accounting landscape.
With all this, nothing beats the experience – so make sure your prospective accountant has handled the tax and accounting work in the field – since practical experience can not be beat!
Do not forget to consider if your accountant is a single person or is part of a business. Does your future accountant have a team that can handle everything that is started or will you have to look for another accountant as your business grows or the dynamics change?
Tax reforms in the United States and Canada occur frequently and you need to make sure your accountant is aware of the changes to the new rules. Usually, with a company or team behind them, accountants are able to react more quickly to changes, but this is not always the case – there are many accounting firms that make a difference. great job to adapt to changes. fiscal landscape.
A single person operation is probably more profitable, something that is probably important when you're just starting out. That being said, having incorrect advice can be even more expensive in the long run – there is a lot to consider!
Thanks to rapid advances in technology, accounting software has become more robust – adding automation and tons of time-saving features – turning accounting into a dynamic and dynamic industry. Accounting software, such as Xero and QuickBooks Online, helps improve productivity by performing tedious accounting tasks while reducing the margin of error at the click of a mouse.
One of the most striking features of current technology is the ease of access to real-time information wherever you are, without sacrificing the security of your business. The more an accountant knows about cloud-based accounting and business management tools, the more he can help you automate your business processes while giving you financial visibility.
In addition, innovations such as tax return software, e-signatures and other cloud-based tools eliminate the heavy paperwork burden and routine tasks while ensuring effective tax returns. and document management. That said, accountants who are aware of technology trends and understand the power of these tools could pay more attention to value-added solutions and better meet the needs of your business. As a business owner, the better your accountant is at technology, the more effective your relationship and communication will be.
3. Business Growth
Finding an accountant who has an empathic ear and who can really connect and understand your business is essential.
It is crucial that your business receives all the support it needs and that you are comfortable with the people who manage your accounts. Remember that the role of your CPA does not stop at planning and preparing taxes – these are your trusted business advisors. They can be your source of light when your business is facing uncertainties and they can help you make the right financial decisions when you need advice. Look for an accountant who would treat your business as they would treat theirs.
I personally know the story of an accountant who, many years ago, saved a business by helping him to make an agreement with the bank to get a loan. The bank has agreed on an accountant deal, and decades later, this business is thriving and employs a little less than a hundred people.
Accountants like this are not readily available – but you understand. Look for someone who is not there to make money!
As a business owner, time is money, and choosing the right CPA can save you more time, allowing you to focus on achieving your goals. goals. Some accountants are willing to do accounting and payroll for example, in addition to the usual services that they provide. Other accountants follow essential things like financial statements and tax returns. You will need to assess your strengths and weaknesses and weaknesses – so you can free up your time to manage and grow your business.
In addition to the typical services offered by many accountants, you need to make sure your CPA is comfortable with tax planning and / or developing a strategy to help you, your family and your business plan and to create an optimal structure to ensure the necessary tax deductions are used.
When you start, things can be pretty simple – you may not even pay. But, as the business grows, you will probably be faced with tax optimization questions that include everything you need to pay yourself by pay, dividends or both to the question of whether you should create a holding company. Although most CPOs are familiar with basic organizational structures, you may need a CPA with specialized tax restructuring experience if your situation is unique. This does not mean that you have to leave your accountant, but rather have them work together on special projects when they occur.
Although the digital era has paved the way for faster and more convenient methods of information processing, it has also brought new risks and new threats.
Find someone proactive by adopting regular security methods to protect sensitive information from your customers. Do they use encryption software to manage your private information? What are their practices in terms of integrity and data security? It is crucial that your CPA guarantees a "waterproof" security and has a very low risk of security breach.
Unfortunately, hacking is commonplace and email is not a sure way to convey sensitive financial documents. Having your CPA share documents via a secure portal helps immensely, including making regular backups.
There are many excellent CPA's and there is no doubt that you can establish a relationship with a trusted advisor to guide your business in its growth phase and beyond. Before doing so, take the time to assess where you need help, then start meeting with accountants to determine which one would be best. If you have friends or family who use an accountant with whom they like to work, a recommendation would be a great way to start. Online articles, such as this list of the top 20 small business accounting websites, are also a great place to enrich your knowledge base and get to know some accountants specializing in small businesses.
If you have any tips to share or if you are a small business accountant, please post a comment below.
Author : Lior Zehtser is one of the co-founders of ConnectCPA, a leading online accounting firm in Canada . ConnectCPA's mission is to improve the profitability of each client with whom it works by providing them with online tools to improve their processes and provide visibility into their numbers and operations.