An illustration depicts hiring an accountant for a small business.

Hiring an accountant for small business: An ultimate guide

As a successful small business owner, you’re likely always looking out for the next big step for your business.

And whether you want to take some tasks off your plate or just need some accounting support, you may have asked yourself, “Should I hire an accountant for my small business?” 

But like all business decisions, you want to ensure you’re making the right one. To help you decide if hiring an accountant is right for you, read through our ultimate guide for hiring an accountant for small business.

Do you need an accountant for your small business?

A flowchart helps break down the decision-making process for hiring an accountant for a small business.

Unless you’re an ex-accountant turned small business owner, you’ve likely wondered if hiring an accountant is the right move for you and your business. While hiring an accountant isn’t a requirement, it can be a valuable investment if you need it.

To help determine whether or not your small business needs accounting help, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I know how to do it myself?
  • Do I have enough free time?
  • Is now a bad time to hire an accountant?
  • Can I keep up with the growth of my business?
  • Do I know how to file small business taxes?
  • Is an accountant too expensive?

By asking yourself the above questions, you can quickly gauge how beneficial it would be to hire an accountant for your small business. To help bring more clarity to what an accountant can do for your business, let’s break down what small business accountants do.

What does a small business accountant do?

When you think about a small business accountant, you may just think of someone who helps you do your taxes. While this is true, small business accountants also have many more responsibilities, including:

As you can see, business accountants can provide value for you and your business all year round and are not only needed for small business tax prep. If any of these services sound like something you’d like to have for your business, you might consider hiring one.

How do you find a small business accountant?

An image features an interview question checklist for hiring an accountant for a small business.

Now that you know what a business accountant does, you may wonder how to find one for your small business. Whether you’d prefer to advertise a job opening or seek out an accountant on your own, read through these steps to find out how to hire an accountant for your business. 

1. Identity your accounting needs 

Before actively searching for an accountant, you must first identify your specific accounting needs. Sometimes, an accountant may also provide bookkeeping services, whereas other accountants may only stick to specific accounting tasks such as generating financial statements and performing business audits.

2. Prepare a job posting and interview questions

With an understanding of exactly what you’re looking for in an accountant, you can begin drafting a job posting to attract the accountant of your dreams. In addition, you’ll also want to prepare a collection of interview questions that can help you vet potential hires.

To help you create a job posting that accurately reflects your needs, reach out to anyone at your business with a hand in your current bookkeeping processes.

This can help ensure that none of your business’s requirements go unmentioned, allowing you to hire an accountant to help with everything you need.

For example, you may ask a potential hire the following questions:

  • Describe a situation in which you made an accounting error. How did you respond to the situation?
  • What accounting tasks are you most comfortable with? Which ones are you least comfortable with?
  • What types of accounting software are you familiar with?
  • How do you stay informed on current accounting laws and regulations?
  • What do you think are the top five skills of a great accountant?
  • How can you reduce human error in the accounting department?

3. Post a job or look for an accounting firm to hire

Once you’ve drafted the perfect job posting, you can post it to job sites such as Indeed or LinkedIn and wait for the talent to come in. If you don’t care as much about hiring an individual accountant for your business, you may look for an accounting firm to handle your accounting needs instead.

An accounting firm is a company with multiple accountants. Unlike hiring a full-time accountant, you can lean on an accounting firm as needed, allowing you to only pay for the services you need when you need them. There may be a required retainer agreement, so be sure to do your research when deciding on an accounting firm.

4. Speak to potential hires in person

Just like with hiring any employee, you must meet the person face to face to assess whether or not you think they’d be a good fit for your small business. While you'll always want to hire an employee with the technical skills you’re searching for, finding someone you’ll enjoy working with is just as important.

To get to know your potential hire better, consider meeting outside of a formal interview setting, perhaps by grabbing lunch or coffee together.

5. Hire and onboard your chosen accountant

Once you’ve decided on the best accountant or accounting firm for the job, it’s time to begin onboarding them to your business. At this time, you must inform your new accountant of any reporting preferences you have, as well as anything else you’d like them to know about your desired accounting processes.

The onboarding process is also a good time to lay out how you plan on measuring your accountant’s performance to ensure you’re both on the same page. Lastly, make your new accountant feel at home and introduce them to the people they will be working with.

It’s also important that you make yourself available to answer any questions from your new accountant and that they have the proper resources to do their job effectively.

But what if you can’t afford an accountant?

Just because you can’t afford an accountant doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all the benefits of having one. With the help of accounting software, you can reap the benefits of streamlined accounting processes, from calculating tax deductions to tracking expenses across all your accounts.

An infographic includes information relating to hiring an accountant for a small business, from how to decide to interview questions you can use.

Hiring an accountant for small business FAQ

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