Bookkeeping, taxes, payroll—these are all crucial elements of running your small business. And whether you’re thinking about hiring an in-house accountant or handing your books over to a firm—there are several things you should consider.
When asked technical questions, the best accountants will tend to begin their answer with “Well, it depends...” There are few straightforward answers when it comes to accounting and taxes—a testament to why it’s so important to let professionals handle your bookkeeping. If an accountant only responds with direct answers, there’s a good chance that they lack a full understanding of the topic or that they’re hoping to falsely project confidence so that you’ll invest in their services.
Make sure that the level of your business's needs match that of your hire. If the accountant or firm you’re considering usually services clients much smaller than you, they might not have the expertise to handle a larger business’s needs. Likewise, accountants who traditionally work with larger companies may not be wired to give a smaller business the attention it deserves.
Certain industries have special accounting and tax needs. Just as you wouldn’t want a cardiologist doing your dental work or a neurologist acting as your chiropractor—you don’t want the wrong type of accountant servicing your business. This is particularly true if your industry is regulation heavy, like energy and gas. Vet your candidates with industry-specific questions to assure that they’re familiar with your particular niche. Choosing a specialized candidate who knows the ins and outs of your industry will help you maximize return.
If you’re considering doing business with an accounting firm or all-inclusive bookkeeping service like KPMG Spark, find out exactly what services they’re offering. Many places will only offer portions of what your business needs such as: bookkeeping, bill pay, sales tax, property tax, income tax, payroll, or audit services. Furthermore, some companies will have hidden fees when it comes to services you unknowingly assume are included in the plan. Ask questions, and be thorough. Make sure you know exactly what you are buying and what will be required of you.