Businesses and other organizations across the United States spent $13.9 billion on accounting services in 2019.
Getting an accountant for your organization is akin to selecting a new business partner. Your firm will depend on this person to run its financials prudently and support its growth. If you make the wrong choice, you might end up joining the 65% of firms that die due to financial mismanagement.
Therefore, knowing the right things to check on how to find a good accountant is mission-critical. Here are some tips to help you zero in on the accountant your business needs.
Look for the Right Set of Accounting Skills
Running a business is hard, and each type of firm has its complexities that can impact financial management. One of the most critical goals when looking for an accountant is to find out whether they have any previous experience working with your kind of firm.
If you run a large corporation, for example, the type of accountant you would want to hire needs to understand the responsibilities of operating at such a scale. On the other hand, a small business accountant needs to have a firm grasp of the dynamics of working with small organizations.
In fact, this principle not only applies to businesses seeking an accountant but virtually any other organization.
Let’s say you run a non-profit and need to look for nonprofit accounting services. It would be foolhardy to bring on an accountant who does not understand the nuances of non-profit reporting and compliance.
Again, the accountant you bring on board for such an organization would also need to be familiar with organizations that operate at the scale your non-profit is at.
Bear in mind that as you check for relevant expertise, lean towards an accountant who has dealt with firms slightly more substantial than yours. Such a hire will be valuable because they would have the capacity to scale with you.
Insist on Valid Certification
Once you identify options for an accountant who has the expertise you require, it’s time to look at their papers.
While certification does not necessarily indicate how good an accountant may be, it does show that they are above board. If someone is going to handle your financial management, you want them to hold legitimate qualifications at the least.
In the United States, the state board of accountancy carries the primary responsibility of regulating accountants. The state board then coordinates with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to continually monitor certified public accountants (CPAs).
Thus, you should seek only to hire a CPA. The reason is that even though some duties such as bookkeeping and tax preparation may not need a CPA, you might run into issues later on.
When applying for a loan, for example, the lender would require your business to have an accountant with legally recognized qualifications. The same goes for when you need to undergo an audit.
Consult Government and Business Association
Private enterprise is at the heart of the country’s economic growth. Consequently, the government seeks to encourage its continued growth by supporting associations that help the cause of various industries.
These organizations are places where you can get high-quality referrals for qualified accountants. Consult your state’s chamber of commerce to narrow down on candidates who can fit the bill.
Along with government-led initiatives, business associations are also a hotbed of recommendations. Make time to be part of the relevant business associations in your area where you can network and develop relationships.
It is the relationships fostered through such associations that can help you land the right expertise your firm needs for its accounting needs. Even if you do not find a direct-hire through the business association, it can still help you fine-tune your list of potential interviewees for the position.
Make Use of Your Social Networks
Technology today makes it easy for entrepreneurs to share information. Often, these online interactions end up influencing offline events, and you can leverage this fact when hiring an accountant.
Do you have any family members or friends who run businesses of their own? Talk to them to find out which accountant they would feel most comfortable recommending and why. You might find that the skills you are looking for are right under your nose.
An important fact to keep in mind as you consult friends and family is that businesses differ. Thus, the right accountant for your friend’s retail store may not be suitable for your manufacturing operation. Use this knowledge to sift through the recommendations that come your way.
On top of reaching out to your offline relationships, you can also shake the trees in your social networks. Business-oriented groups and networks on social media are useful places for running down potential leads for an accountant.
Furthermore, social media networks that are oriented for professionals tend to act as a shortcut for recruiting. Using such networks, you can dig deeper into a candidate’s background and track record to assess whether they could be the right fit for your organization.
Ask About Their Billing
As with any other significant purchase for your firm, you need to find out how much each candidate will charge you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to billing for accountants.
As such, find out if the potential hire will charge you by the hour or if they prefer a monthly retainer. Some accounts will take the unusual route of billing you as a percentage of your turnover.
Keep in mind that even though an expensive accountant doesn’t mean they are right for you, it often does mean that they have more to offer your company.
Get quotations (written ones) from several candidates and compare them to come up with the best billing decision for you.
Learn How to Find a Good Accountant
An accountant is a critical business partner that can either support or drag your firm down. To avoid becoming yet another statistic due to poor financial management, you need to know how to find a good accountant. Take a look at each candidate’s expertise, background, reputation, and certification to determine who can best serve your business.
Are you determined to make your business succeed? Peruse more of our articles for business insights that can help take your firm to the next level.