A good accountant is an invaluable partner for a small business. Most business owners don’t become entrepreneurs to crunch numbers and labor over tax laws to uncover small business tax advantages. An accountant, however, can steer you towards smart financial decisions and tax savings opportunities that you may not have known were available.
Finding the right small business accountant is an important step when you’re starting out.
A smart, proactive accountant will save you their fee in deductions and avoided compliance penalty fees ten-fold if you choose the right one. Here are just a few of the ways that seeking help from the right accountant will benefit your business.
The right small business accountant will:
- Inform you of ways to reduce your tax liability
- Ensure you’re aware of reporting requirements and deadlines
- File your taxes accurately and on time
- Suggest ways to manage your finances more effectively to increase profitability
Be as selective about who you hire to handle your accounting as you would any other professional partner.
According to Jim Lewis, SCORE mentor an former chairman of SCORE’s Fort Worth Chapter, “Your first step should be to build a shortlist of accountants who you would consider ‘partnering’ with because that’s exactly what you are doing by hiring a business accountant.”
Lewis suggests your list only include accountants and accounting firms that meet the following criteria:
- Experience in your line of business
- Located in your state and/or city
- Large enough to handle your business requirements promptly while maintaining a personal touch
- File and prepare weekly, quarterly and annual tax estimates and returns
As you build a shortlist of potential accountants, leverage your professional network for recommendations. Referrals are one of the best ways to pinpoint the right partner.
Also, consider the tools a prospective accountant uses to file taxes and communicate with clients. If you prefer to handle your taxes online and utilize cloud-based services, make sure your accountant can share, store and file documents using a secure, password-protected client portal. However, if you’re more comfortable with paper records, make sure your accountant can work that way as well.
Meet prospective accountants in person before you hire.
Always put a face to a name before you bring on an accountant to manage your business taxes. An accountant is one of your business’ most important partners. Choosing the right one should take time and careful consideration.
Chances are that many of the accountants you meet will look the same on paper and will all promise to do quality work. In the end, trust your gut. There are many qualified accountants out there. The partner you choose should be someone you feel comfortable with and who demonstrates an understanding of your business.
Finding the right accountant for your business is easier with a SCORE mentor by your side. A SCORE mentor will work with you to identify qualified accountants and ultimately hire the best accounting partner for your business. Contact a SCORE mentor today.