A comfort level of trust, confidence with an accountant is a must
December 21, 2014
Q: How can I find accounting help I can count on for my small business?
A: Many responsibilities come with being a small business owner, and every one is critical to maintaining profitability and promoting growth. You can't risk letting a deadline slip or overlook an administrative requirement, yet there are only so many hours in the day to get things done.
To ensure you stay focused on the most important things, it may be a good idea to transfer some routine chores. Even though accounting software programs have simplified the process of bookkeeping and tax preparation, someone well-versed in this area can spot trends or problems you might miss. And the more complex your needs - preparing financial reports, invoicing, payroll - the more time-consuming accounting becomes.
If you decide you need the skills of an accounting professional, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants can help. The "For the Public" section of the AICPA website, www.aicpa.org,offers guidance in selecting the right CPA for your small business, including a searchable directory of AICPA member firms.
Fees vary greatly among accountants, depending on location, expertise, and services provided. Some firms will provide bundled services for a flat monthly fee, but may charge less for bookkeeping and other tasks that don't require CPA-level training. If you are considering a larger accounting firm, make sure you meet and get to know the people with whom you will be working. As with any business relationship, a comfort level of trust, confidence, and communication with an accountant is a must.
If you're not sure you need a CPA, a professional bookkeeper may be the right choice. The free online "Bookkeepers Hiring Test" from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (www.aipb.org) can help you assess candidates' qualifications.
Other good sources are the membership directories of your local chambers of commerce, particularly if you need an accountant or bookkeeper within your geographic area. Most chambers have searchable directories on their websites showing their members by business category, including accounting.