Hiring a small business accountant is not a task to be taken lightly. You literally hand over the keys to your domain to your accountant, all the more reason why you need to take care and think through before you make a decision. So what should you look for in an accountant? He should have thorough knowledge and understanding of bookkeeping and accounting principles, which of course is a given. Here are some other things you need to watch out for when hiring a small business accountant.
- Should Understand Your Industry– Each industry has its set of specific functions and terms. Familiarity with the industry and its workings will make it easier for the accountant and you to work together. Experience in your field can make things a lot easier for the both of you.
- Effective Communication Skills– No relationship, business or personal, can be effective unless both parties can communicate with each other. Communication involves not just talking, but being able to present ideas, listen, understand and interact. Your business cannot grow until your accountant can communicate with you and with all other people involved directly or indirectly with your books and accounts.
- Has Basic Computer Knowledge and Uses Latest Software– It is no longer the age of ledgers; today everything is online or cloud based. You need an accountant who is in keeping with the times, well aware of developments in the field of accounting and uses the latest tools and software available.
- Provide Regular Accounting Reports– Financial reports are valuable to a business owner. They provide information about the business, trends, cash flow, profit and loss, all of which are needed to make informed business decisions. A reliable small business accountant will provide you with timely accurate reports, decipher them for you if needed and guide you when making decisions.
Choose your accountant wisely. Take your time, do research, talk to your peers and other businessmen before you decide.
All business owners, entrepreneurs and small business accountant worry about someone hacking into their network and stealing information; data security is a matter of great concern in today’s small digital world. However when it comes to data security, it is not just the big things, even the little things matter- the little things that we often consider as trivial and ignore. Unfortunately, it may be these little things that result in a security breach. Here are some ways in which business owners out their data at risk.
- Not Being Careful with Passwords– No matter how much banks and other services emphasise that passwords never be shared, some business owners just don’t get it. It doesn’t matter that you trust the person you shared the password with; what matters is that the more people know your password, the more there are chances of it getting out. This is why all small business accountant and bookkeepers urge business owners to be vigilant always. It is also a healthy practise to ensure that you have different passwords for all your accounts; same passwords can mean that in the event that someone finds your password, they will have access to all your accounts. It also helps to change passwords regularly so that no one can figure it out.
- Using Outdated Software– Hackers are getting smarter by the day; security vulnerabilities are reported every other day. Using the latest software and applications means that you will have access to the latest security patches, thereby keeping your system as secure as possible. Install strong and reliable security software so that your system and network can be kept safe from malicious software and applications.
- Lack of Knowledge about Fake Emails– Fake emails are a major cause for concern. Phishing and scam emails can gather sensitive information and use them to get into your system. The only way to prevent this is to be aware. Typically fake emails use incorrect spelling, grammar, urge immediate action and request personal information. Make sure you and your staff keep away from such suspicious emails. Do not ever open links or attachments mentioned in fake emails.
“Should I hire a CFO?” All small business owners ask themselves this question at some point, most probably multiple times from when they started out. Business owners most often do not know much about finances and would love to have someone take over the money aspect like a CFO or small business accountant, but on the downside is the cost- hiring a CFO can be quite expensive. What happens eventually is that you ask yourself the question on and off, but never really take a decision because CFOs are expensive, or at best hire a small business accountant. Because honestly what matters more than saving money when you have a small business going. So, is hiring a CFO necessary? Let’s find out.
What Do CFOs Do?
A CFO is the number man like your small business accountant or bookkeeper; he watches the cash flow, sales and expenses. He can read budget reports, balance sheets, income statements and all the other accounting and bookkeeping reports with ease. Aside from this, a CFO can provide business planning, financial projections, cash forecasts, annual budgets, monthly management reports, manage debts, mergers and acquisitions and more. A CFO is a valuable asset to any company; he can help you develop and maintain strong financials.
How Can CFOs Help You?
- A CFO Understands Money and Its Workings– You can finally hand over the finances to someone who understands it and can manage it better than you, other than your small business accountant. Your CFO will take over financial analysis, accounting, budgets, insurance, banking, AR, AP and legal issues, all of which means you can focus on your business and growing it.
- A CFO Can Ensure Compliance to Tax and Payroll Laws– All businesses have to follow countless tax and payroll taxes irrespective of the size of the business. And as your business grows, there are more rules that you have to follow; now isn’t that a lot to do. A CFO can take care of all this while you, yes, focus on the business.
- A CFO can deal with Investors– Dealing with investors can be difficult and time consuming; a CFO is the person to deal with investors. He can interact with the investors and keep them updated on the company’s performance.
Hiring a CFO is definitely not easy or cost effective, but it is worth it. Our advice to you: hire a CFO as soon as you can afford one; you and your business need it.
Your CPA is an important part of your business. Whether you hire a full time or part time small business accountant, or outsource your accounting, you need someone who can understand your business and what it needs. It is also vital that you can trust your accountant, after all your accounts are in his hands. Most small business owners however are not really sure what they should look for in their CPA. Here are some tips that can help you.
- Your accountant needs much more than the right qualifications.
Having the right qualifications is not all that counts when it comes to your accountant. Aside from all the necessary degrees, , you need an accountant who has a thorough understanding of your business, and is capable of working with your employees and communicating with them. It is also crucial that your small business accountant is someone you can trust and depend on, especially in times of trouble.
- Figure out what specific accounting needs you have before hiring.
Quite often, business owners begin the recruitment process without any idea of what they are looking for, which often results in hiring the wrong person or firm. If you are able to identify the accounting areas you need help in, you are in a better position to weed out the wrong candidates. It also provides the CPA or CPA firm with a better understanding of what is expected of them and ensures that everyone is on the right page.
- You need a CPA or CPA firm you can communicate with.
Never underestimate the importance of communication when it comes to your CPA. You need someone you can talk to, someone who is willing to take you through each step and explain things when needed. Your small business accountant has his finger on the pulse of your business, so if you need to know where your business is headed, you need to be able to communicate with him.
- Find an accounting service provider who also provides financial analysis.
A good CPA or CPA firm should be able to provide you with financial analysis reports. These reports are essential for making informed business decisions. There are a few firms that don’t provide financial analysis services, it is better to avoid them. Make it clear to your small business accountant during the hiring process that you want financial analysis done as well.