A professional accountant plays an essential role in helping your startup achieve its strategic objectives. However, picking the right fit for your business isn’t always a straightforward affair. These questions will help you in the process of searching for a suitable business accountant:
1. What Are Your Credentials?
Certified public accountants (CPAs) are among the most familiar professionals in this field. Specializations include management, forensic, investment, and project accounting. In addition to passing the Uniform CPA Exam, a licensed CPA must also be recognized by the State Board of Public Accountancy in their area of practice.
2. What Services Do You Offer?
Accounting firms offer various essential services, including bookkeeping, business valuation, recording transactions, auditing, tax preparation and planning, and financial consulting. Before hiring an accountant, ensure they can provide tailored solutions to your business problems.
3. What Are Your Fees?
This is an important question, especially to small businesses keen on minimizing expenses. Your prospective business accountant must have a clear billing structure for their services. Do they charge a flat rate for any accounting service or by the hour depending on complexity? Will you receive discounts for signing long-term agreements?
4. How Will Your Services Improve My Business?
As a business owner, the main reason for seeking an accountant is to streamline your operations. Your new accountant should provide detailed financial insights to help you achieve these objectives. Their expertise should improve your cash flow, recommend suitable new hires, adjust the business structure, and ensure compliance with various business regulations.
5. What Are the Common Accounting Problems in My Industry?
The most common accounting problems include payroll errors, revenue recognition, fraud, inadequate financial analysis, obsolete accounting software, negative cash flow, and weak internal control. An experienced accountant should understand the issues most likely to affect your industry and implement appropriate countermeasures.
6. How Can I Make My Business Tax Compliant?
The ever-changing tax code means businesses of all sizes face occasional challenges. In addition to the IRS, your accountant should facilitate compliance with local and state tax authorities. They should also create a tax planning structure that maximizes long-term financial savings for your business. Additionally, business accountants help your company benefit from other tax specialists such as enrolled agents and tax attorneys.
7. Who Are Your Other Clients?
Your prospective accountant’s past and present clients provide a glimpse into their skill and experience. Other than reading public reviews detailing their professional relationship, you can contact these clients for more information before signing a deal.
8. Do You Operate Virtually?
If your business has a wide service area, has multiple locations, or operates virtually, you’ll want an accountant with the skills and flexibility to match. Ask whether they’re available for virtual meetings, if their services can be performed online, and what security measures they have in place for digital data transfers.
9. Are You Accessible Any Time I Need Help?
Can you call or email your accountant any time you have a query during business hours, or must you book an appointment first? Will they charge you extra for these inquiries? It’s advisable to have clear answers to these questions to avoid frustrations when you urgently need guidance.
Finding the Right Accountant Matters
A competent accountant helps your business achieve growth, profitability, and long-term objectives while complying with industry regulations. These questions will help you determine the best candidate for the job and give you ample time to focus on more enjoyable aspects of running your company.