Your most important metrics are your financial metrics. So if you are running a business, you better have a good accountant. Here are four tips to help you find one for your business.
(Related Guides: How to find a lawyer | How to find an insurance broker/agent)
Like finding an attorney, the best way to find an accountant in Kansas City is to get a good referral. Ask your other professional advisors for people they have worked with or check in with other entrepreneurs that work in your industry. This is by far the best way to find a high-quality accountant that provides the services you need to accomplish your goals.
If you can’t find a referral, you can explore accountants recommended by your accounting software (for example, Xero and Freshbooks both maintain directories).
Accountants and CPAs offer a wide range of advice, from strictly bookkeeping, to taxation, forecasting, auditing, and more.
The key is to understand your needs. At the outset, it is always smart to meet with an accountant when starting your new business so you can create a good set of books from which to work. You can probably manage your daily bookkeeping on your own but if you are a bit larger, you might want to hire an accountant to do that for you.
You will also want an accountant to be ready to answer your questions about hiring employees and paying taxes, as well as to understand what sales tax obligations you might have.
From there, you will likely want help preparing your annual tax returns (and/or quarterly filings) and in some cases, you may need help performing internal audits.
That’s a lot of ground to cover, and you should make sure you understand your needs when deciding which accountant to hire because some accountants have limitations.
You and your accountant need to have a good working relationship. Thus, don’t hire an accountant that still uses snail mail if you prefer to work in the cloud. If you have a specific accounting software that you love, make sure your accountant is fully vested in keeping up with that software.
This seems like an easy item to check off your list, but if you don’t ask the right questions when interviewing accountants, you might get a surprise later when you learn that you and your accountant have different ways of getting things done.
If possible, never hire an accountant solely based on what they charge. This should be a factor in your decision process, but not the leading factor.
The important thing on this item is to understand how your accountant charges. Some accountants will perform an inexpensive “set up” meeting to help you get your books set up properly. From there, many will charge by the hour for certain services but offer fixed fees for routine monthly services.
Always ask questions about accounting fees. Never assume anything. You don’t want to get upside down with your professional advisors. They are there to help you!
(This article is general in nature and is not legal advice.)
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