Managing the books of your small business can be a challenge, particularly if you don’t have a background in accounting. But good accounting can save your business money at tax time. Small business accountants who specialize in helping companies like yours can keep the financial side of your business in working order.
Why Small Businesses Need Specialized Accountants
Small business accounting needs differ from those of larger corporations. As a small business owner, you want an accountant who understands the dynamics of small businesses. For example, a person or firm that normally works with large corporations might not be as adept with the nuances of a sole proprietorship or partnership. Make sure the accountant offers services that line up with your needs, whether you want an accountant just for tax time or you prefer a year-round accountant who can offer viable tips on how to make your firm more financially sound.
Network With Other Small Business Owners
Word-of-mouth referrals represent one of the most reliable ways to find professionals to perform services for your business. Reviewing accountants’ marketing literature and scanning their websites help you learn about their business and their specialties. However, this method falls short because accountants may showcase their talents without giving you a true picture of what they do or don’t do. Other methods of getting referrals include:
- Asking other business owners about their experiences working with a particular accountant
- Asking small business owners if they have an accountant who helps their business
- Attending a networking event or a gathering for small business owners
- Reaching out to your industry organization for suggestions
- Reviewing Canadian CPA directories for additional information and ratings
Another good thing about small business accountants is that many of them are small business owners themselves. If you find one whose business is in need of a product or service you offer, you might be able to work out a barter deal.
For example, suppose your company specializes in search engine marketing. Through another small business owner, you hear of a local accountant who has a great reputation but has had trouble finding new clients. In this situation, offering the accountant your expertise in exchange for theirs can result in a mutually beneficial relationship that requires little to no cash on either side.
Consider an Online Business Accountant
With online accounting technology, hiring an online accountant presents a viable alternative to hiring someone from a brick-and-mortar accounting firm. Hiring an online accountant offers several advantages. If you don’t have to clear time in your schedule to meet with your accountant face-to-face, you can simply communicate with the accountant via email, phone, or videoconferencing. You can offer access to your books and tax paperwork through cloud accounting software so that they can access it any time.
The candidate pool expands greatly when you take your search online. Do your research to make sure you’re dealing with someone who’s reputable and trustworthy by checking any online reviews and asking to speak with current and former clients. Confirming credentials with professional organizations such as Chartered Professional Accounts of Canada or the Society of Professional Accountants in Canada is also a good idea. As you interview any accountant, ask questions to see if they understand your industry and to determine whether you feel comfortable working with them.
What to Do Once You Find a Small Business Accountant
Once you narrow your selections, you’re still not done vetting your accountant. Hiring an accountant for your small business isn’t a decision to make lightly. Interview a prospective accountant and ask questions such as how much money the accountant charges, how the person views accounting, and how much value you can expect from the services offered. Ask for references you can contact. The accountant’s customers can give you a better idea of what to expect.
Online accounting software can make the job of your accountant easier, especially when the program stores all your financial data in one place. Having online accounting software package, such as QuickBooks, allows your accountant easy and secure access to your books.
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