Posted on Jan 26, 2017
I was at a small business seminar recently where the speaker asked “Who here loves their accountant?
Only one person raised their hand.
While the speaker didn’t ask why nobody else raised their hand, I surmised from the grumbles around me that nobody really understands their accountant.
And, why would they? Accountants have their own language. That’s why it’s important to hire one that speaks YOUR language.
Hiring an accountant is no different than hiring an employee. You need to find somebody that’s qualified and fits. So, go through an interview process, talk to a few different candidates, and decide from there.
Stick to somebody who only works with small businesses. Small business stuff is a lot simpler than big business stuff so, resist the temptation to hire one of the big name accounting firms. If you go that route, not only will you be charged the big name price, you’ll also run the risk of not getting the time and attention you need because you’re too small.
Look for somebody that will take the time to educate and coach you. Even if you’re not a numbers person, your accountant should still be able to present information in such a way that you get it. If they don’t, they haven’t done their job. And, if they don’t do their job, you can’t do yours.
It’s important that the person you hire be available to review your finances on a regular basis. This will help you plan and grow.
For the record, I can’t stress “on a regular basis” enough.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can look at these things once a year. You can’t. If you’ve been losing money for 11 months, finding out in month 12 isn’t an option. So, when going through the interview process, ask how often they’d be willing to meet with you. If they say once or twice a year, send them packing.
You should also beware of any candidates that don’t ask you a lot of questions. Without all the information, your accountant can’t advise you properly. So, put all your cards on the table, let them know about everything in your life. Knowing this stuff up front makes their job easier, if their job is easier, yours will be too!
And two final points:
Absolutely, positively, DO NOT hire a family member.
Because you can’t fire family!!
DO NOT cheap out and try to do this yourself.
Your time will be better spent focusing on your customers and growing your business vs. making sure all your sales and payroll taxes are filed on time. Further, tax laws are constantly changing, leaving this piece to the expert will ensure you are always compliant.