Your business success depends on many factors. Managing your money well and understanding your finances are two of the most critical. Unless you are an accountant by trade, it is likely you will need some outside guidance and insight as you start and grow your company.
Getting help from an accountant can benefit your business in a number of ways:
- An accountant can inform you of legitimate ways to reduce your tax liability.
- An accountant can ensure you are aware of reporting requirements and deadlines. (If you are not in compliance, you might have to pay fines.)
- An accountant can assist you in filing your taxes (saving you time and sparing you headaches).
- An accountant can provide suggestions that might help you run your business more profitably.
Just as when you contract any other type of professional to help you move your business forward, you should be choosy when selecting an accountant.
Your first step should be to build a short list of accountants that you would consider ‘partnering’ with, because that is exactly what you are doing by hiring a business accountant.
SCORE suggests your list only include accountants and accounting firms that meet the following criteria:
- They have experience in your line of business.
- They reside in your state and/or city.
- They come highly recommended by someone or some source that you trust.
- They are large enough to handle your business requirements in a timely manner, BUT not too large to get to know you and your business on a personal level.
- They do tax work as well as weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly reporting, according to acceptable accounting practices.
From this short list, you should set up interview meetings with each. For the interviews, you should develop a list of items, by which you wish to judge each candidate. Also apply a simple grading scheme to give candidates a score of 1-3 or 1-5 for each criterion. Include “price for service” among the judging criteria, but do not make it the number one factor when deciding on which accountant to hire. After all interviews are completed and all grading is reviewed, your top choices should be apparent.
If you need help creating your list of potential accountants, consider asking your local SCORE chapter or chamber of commerce for names of reputable professionals within your community.
Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, contact SCORE TriCounty. You can call 610.327.2673, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.tricounty.score.org.