Running a company is a stressful job, and there are a million things you need to be mindful of. While small business owners need to be able to wear a lot of hats and cover so many areas, there are some that you might just want to stay away from - especially the things that can have legal consequences if you get them wrong. The main one being accounting. It’s the backbone of every company, and while many only have it as an afterthought, it is vital to run a good business. So, you want to hire professionals to handle that, but what is it exactly you should be looking for in an accounting company.
As with most other things, you want to look at the company’s history and see what they’ve done in the past. Remember that just because they’ve been around for a long time doesn’t mean they’re good and being new doesn’t mean they’re inexperienced. You want to look for a company that has worked with businesses in your particular industry because having similar experience means they will handle your business with ease. You also want to look at reviews and customer experiences. Not just the ones they post on their website, but those that people posted on independent review sites or forums. Of course, there’s nothing better than word of mouth and getting a direct recommendation from someone to work with the company.
If you’re jumping through all the hoops to find the best accounting firm, you don’t want to find out they’ll only handle one part of the work. So when reviewing their services, make sure that they can cover everything you need. The team from Assurance and Advisory Services |West Palm Beach CPA | Fort Lauderdale CPA explained that these firms will do forecasts, internal control reviews, payroll, cash flow, reports, and every other aspect of accounting. The forecast part is especially important since an accounting company should be able to alert you of trends that will help save or even make you money.
If you’re not a financial expert, you can’t work with someone who doesn’t know how to communicate properly. They are the accountant, but you’re the ones making the decisions on how you want to proceed with your money, so you’ll need them to communicate the information to you. Whether that’s through graphs, presentations, or regular reports, you need to be on the same page. And even if you don’t care all too much about knowing all the details regularly, you just don’t want all of your money handled by someone with whom you can’t communicate, because that will not only lead to a bad relationship - but too bad financial decisions.
While finances have been around for as long as a society, they have also changed and morphed. Nobody is tracking things manually anymore, and the development in technology is what allows us to be more and more successful. Your accounting firm needs to be able to take full advantage of the newest technologies allowing them, through analysis of data, to spot information that can be extremely lucrative to you. This is hard to gauge if you’re not an expert - how do you know what programs are new and which are old? But, through a short conversation about it with them, you’ll be able to tell whether they are “keeping up with the newest trends” or if they “prefer the good old stuff”.
You can always hire an accountant to work full time, but the advantage of a firm is in the flexibility you have. You might not need all of their services all the time, and you can negotiate different types of packaged and payment plans. Is it a one-time fee every time they do something, or is it an ongoing deal? Different firms will offer you different types of agreements, and you can choose what is best for you and your company. You’ll also want to make sure that there is one dedicated accountant within their company who is taking care of your business, because you want someone to know the ins and outs of your company, without having to explain your business model from scratch every month to a new person.
Accounting might seem like a “necessary evil” kind of expense, but try to embrace it more like an opportunity. A good accounting firm will help keep your business on the right track and above water for as long as necessary, and this kind of support is crucial at the beginning of a new chapter of opening a business.