An accountant is a necessity for any business. Huge corporations may have lesser problems finding one but small businesses might need more effort to hire this professional. How do you choose and hire the suitable accountant for the accounting needs of your small business? Here are some guidelines that you might find helpful for this task.
• Ask for references from your lawyer, banker, or business colleagues. It’s either you will be hiring a person or an agency. Check how much work will your company do and the accountant will do.
• Interview the referrals. Here are the things you need to know during the interview:
-Services to render. What will be the scope of the accounting service? The common inclusions are tax and auditing services. Know if bookkeeping, management consulting, business planning, and other specialized financial and accounting services are also part of the offer. Ensure also that they have experience in working with small businesses and if they are suited to your company’s needs.
-Personality. Being compatible with the accountant can enhance the working relationship and make the output a lot better. Ensure that the people you meet at the accounting firm would be the same people doing the services for you. Clarify this matter from the start when you contract the agency’s services. To assess the competency and compatibility of the accountant, you may ask how he or she will handle a situation relevant to what is happening or might happen in your business.
-Fees. This aspect should be accomplished upfront. Make this as clear as possible. Some accountants charge by the hour while others work on a monthly basis. Costs, however, should not be your sole reason in choosing. Some charges more because they are more experienced and skilled while others charge littler because they are not as experienced. Make sure that you base your judgments by considering all relevant things.
• After choosing, draft the agreement. All details should be clearly seen at the agreement letter. State properly the statements included returns, fees to be charged, and others. A well-written agreement will prevent any misunderstandings in the future. This also ensures that expectations of both parties are met.
• Make your own assignment. Ensure that you’d not just hand the accountant records and loose receipts. Have a record of your income and expenses and the details that goes with the transactions. This helps your accountant work faster which means lower fees on your part.
• Regularly meet with your accountant. Review the financial statements and assess problems if there are any. You should know where your money is going. A good accountant should not only be concerned with preparing financial statements but should also be able to suggest ways to cut expenses and provide ideas and answers to questions you may have.
A good accountant may save you more than you can think of when done effectively and systematically. Working for a Nashville accounting firm, I believe an accountant is a lifetime partner for any entrepreneur to keep a great business going.