As a small-business owner, up until this point, you may have managed your money successfully. Software programs like QuickBooks make it possible, even if you don’t have much financial knowledge or experience.
However, as your business — and revenue — grow, managing your financials may become a task you don’t have the time or knowledge to manage. Specifically, when it comes avoiding legal and compliance issues, accountants can be worth their weight in gold.
If you’re not sure if you need to hire an accountant, look for these nine signs:
1. You Aren’t Familiar With Accounting
If financial statements confuse you, you have a hard time creating reports, or you are lost when it comes to accounting terms, you likely need to hire an accountant — at least initially — to coach you in all things financial. An accountant can talk to you in straight terms, weed through terminology, and teach you how to manage your own finances. In addition, you don’t want to miss key information or make mistakes early that could cost you down the road. An accountant can start you and your business off on the right track.
2. You Don’t Know Anything About Taxes
The U.S. Tax Code is complicated. Regardless, if you fail to pay the right taxes for your business type and industry, you will likely be hit with penalties and fines. An accountant can advise you early on so that you can comply with all tax regulations. More importantly, an accountant can inform you of tax credits and deductions you can take, and predict the taxes you’ll owe so that you don’t come up short when Uncle Sam comes knocking. Finally, an accountant will make tax season less daunting because he or she can file your taxes for you.
3. Bookkeeping Takes You Away From More Important Tasks
Perhaps you have some working knowledge of accounting, but managing your books is preventing you from accomplishing tasks that could directly grow your business (for example, acquiring new clients or moving into new markets) or managing your business effectively (such as dealing with performance issues or troubleshooting service problems). Hire an accountant so you can focus on winning more business, innovating, building your team, and other development activities.
4. You Have Experienced Rapid Growth
Making more money is a great thing. However, as you expand, you will also serve more customers, hire more employees, take on additional vendors, and more. All of those things require more paperwork and number crunching, and it could rapidly become impossible for you to manage.
5. Revenue Is Increasing but Profit Isn’t
If you are selling more than ever, but you aren’t seeing a higher profit, an accountant can take an objective look at your overhead costs and point out areas where you can cut costs or make other adjustments to increase your profit margins.
6. Your Investors Expect Professional Financial Reports
Accountants can create detailed, accurate reports that keep your investors happy and allow you to focus on tasks like growing the business. Additionally, if you are looking for a loan or funding from an investor, you will need to present a polished business plan. An accountant can help you flesh out the financial portion of your plan, ensuring that you’ve thought of everything.
7. You Want to Expand Into a Different State
If you want to open a new location, distribute in a new state, or hire employees in other states, an accountant can help ensure you are compliant with regional sales, income, or payroll tax-reporting requirements.
8. You’re Planning to Buy or Sell Property — or Sell Your Business
If you want to grow through an acquisition, sell off parts of the business, or sell the entire business, an accountant can walk you through the process and determine how to structure the transaction so that you aren’t hit with overwhelming taxes.
9. You’re Facing an Audit
An accountant will guide you through this messy process by preparing you to manage the audit or by working with the IRS on your behalf. An accountant can save you precious time and money, and offer guidance during a particularly stressful time.
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