Treat making tough decisions as the norm once you begin your business. Sometimes, you’ll be stuck in a dilemma and have to make difficult choices. But at the end of the day, your goals will guide you to the right choice. And you know what can help you along the way? Your business’s financial data.
In this article, we’ll help you answer the questions lingering in your mind about whether you should hire an accountant for a small business and everything in between. Determining the answer isn’t easy, so check out these questions and the answers to help you.
Why Hire an Accountant?
Let’s begin this list of FAQs by knowing why small businesses like yours should hire a business accountant. We’ve listed a couple of reasons!
An accountant’s primary responsibility is to help you make sense of the numbers a bookkeeper collates and organizes in the books. When you hire an accountant, they can create easy-to-understand financial reports and present them regularly.
Taxes are one of the challenging tasks you need to do. As a rookie in the business, you may not understand the ins and outs of taxes, and getting it wrong can mean consequences from the tax bureau. Skip this hassle when you have an accountant. They are well-versed in taxation laws and will ensure they do it right for your business.
Forecasting is creating goals and making plans for your business finances for a certain period. To achieve a credible forecast, historical data should be sufficient and accurate. Having an accountant frees you of this task and assures you that the forecast you get is as accurate as possible.
Affects Your Company Reputation
The benefits of hiring an accountant for a small business go beyond your company. An excellent accountant reflects how reliable your organization is. Accountants can also represent you in an audit, during investor presentations, and in loan and grants meetings.
Helps You Focus on Essential Business Tasks
Lastly, when you have an accountant, you can focus on other essential tasks needed to run your business. Your accountant will handle your finances in your stead.
When Should I Hire an Accountant?
When you launch your business, ideally, you should already have an accountant on your team. Doing so can save you from untracked and disorganized financial data. Even if you have a bookkeeper that organizes your books, you still need an accountant to create reports from the data.
Aside from covering this essential financial management step, an accountant is beneficial when you find it challenging to scale your business. Accountants can give helpful insights into the root cause of the slow growth and the various ways you can speed up business expansion. They are skilled in giving financial advice based on data too.
You’ll also find an accountant most helpful when business planning as they can help you with forecasting.
What Qualities Should I Look for in Hiring an Accountant for Small Businesses?
Are you convinced you should hire an accountant, or have you been planning to do so all along? Then, the qualities you should strive for to get the best accountant must be a question you ask.
Look for these qualities to hire the best accountant:
- Has a bachelor, master's, or doctorate in accounting or any related field, so you can be confident in their skills.
- One that is a certified public accountant (CPA) and has various accounting certifications relevant to your business.
- Is a team player so that they can coordinate with different departments smoothly.
- Has good communication skills for presenting reports within the company, with investors, and when representing your company in external events.
- Is a critical thinker and problem solver to help you find workarounds to various business challenges.
It would be best to look for hard and soft skills—an accountant who is eagle-eyed with numbers but knows how to work with people.
Should I Hire a Freelance Accountant, an In-House One, or an Accounting Firm?
There are three basic ways to hire an accountant: in-house, freelance, and one from a financial services company. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.
You can hire an in-house accountant the traditional way. Post a job opening including the qualifications and responsibilities you expect applicants to have, interview them, and conduct tests if need be.
The advantage of having an in-house accountant is they’ll be familiarized with your business operations and know your company personally. As a result, their financial analysis will be more personal and tailor-fit.
However, you will be responsible for their monthly salary, benefits, and training and development because they are formally a company member.
You can also choose to go with a freelance accountant. You can find them on freelancing websites posting their experiences, qualifications, and contact information. Most freelancing websites show feedback from previous clients, so you can also check for social proof of the accountant’s performance.
You do not need to require a freelancer to work a regular 8-hour shift. You can give them tasks; you only need to pay them for their rendered hours when they are done. Because they work with many companies, freelancers have diverse experiences and can provide insights based on those.
The only drawback is you need to invest time briefing your accountant about your company and operations, so their analysis and advice will be relevant.
Financial Management Company
Your third choice in hiring an accountant is by partnering with a financial management company. These organizations usually have established websites where you can contact them. As part of your research, you can browse their site for their offers and the companies they’ve worked with.
Financial management companies do not offer only accounting services, but also other services you might need for your company finances. These offers come in various plans. You need to choose which plan has the help you need and sign up for it. You can stop the service anytime or after a contract expires. You may also extend it as needed.
Working with agencies has the same disadvantage as working with freelancers. You need to explain your business and operations to them so they can handle your account effectively.
How Much Does an Accounting Service Cost?
The answer depends on the type of accounting service you want and your location. In the US, different states pay accountants different monthly salaries, and the best-paying states offer salaries ranging from $95,000 to $110,000.
Meanwhile, a freelancers’ average hourly rate is $37 for 2023. And if you wish to partner with agencies, the costs vary too, depending on whether you’ll sign up for a monthly, quarterly, or annual plan and the variety of the included services.
The qualifications and experiences of the accountants also affect their hourly rates and salaries as well as the services they’ll provide you.
Bonus Question: Which Accounting Software Should an Accountant Use?
Whether you need an accountant or not goes hand in hand with which accounting software you decide to invest in. To make your accountant’s work more efficient, you must pick software they can use. Here are two of the best ones out there.
QuickBooks is a reliable accounting tool because its features make an accountant’s life easier. QuickBooks has a live bookkeeping function that ensures your books are complete with data from the beginning of the year to the present. As a result, accountants can run complete reports and give insights using updated data.
An accountant can remind customers and receive payment from online gateways through invoicing. Bank transactions automatically go into the accounting system too.
And if you have projects and employees to manage, the software's time and project tracking feature will make your accountant’s payroll duties more efficient.
Xero is another software that’ll make your company’s accounting more efficient. Your company bookkeeper and accountant can use the tool to track income and expenses, send invoices to receive payments on time, and track bank transactions through bank reconciliation.
It also has a time and project tracking feature, making sure that hours rendered by your employees are recorded in the books. With readily available data, your accountant can prepare the payroll faster.
Xero is also integration-friendly, so data from other business tools you have can all be collated in a single accounting software. When analysis and reporting days come, your accountant can run reports that show all areas of your business.
Get Assistance From Unloop
A qualified accountant will help you make sound business decisions based on their knowledge, experiences, and collected financial data. So, hiring an accountant is a significant business decision. We hope that these answers can help you hire the best candidate.
And if partnering with an agency of finance experts is the right choice for your business, we at Unloop can help you. Our services revolve around bookkeeping, forecasting, handling taxes, accounts payable, and payroll solutions. Contact us now. We’ll be glad to discuss the details of our services with you.