Picking the right accounting tool for your business will have an impact on the majority of your financial processes. As such, it’s crucial for the efficiency and financial health of your business.
The most important thing about this is the fact that these processes are something that you will have to deal with on a daily basis. Small transactions happen every day, while even monthly payments are seldom scheduled for the same day.
Over the course of years, your plans will change and usually become more complex. As you re-evaluate your methods, you will find ways to improve your operations. Chances are that as a business, you will also progress from doing your bookkeeping on your own to hiring a bookkeeper to hiring a proper accountant.
So, how do you find the accounting service that will provide you with decent scalability and allow you to grow your business properly? Here are several tips to help you out.
Look for Certification
You need to start your search by looking for a certification of the services that you intend to work with. Accounting is not bookkeeping, and the specialists you’re going to work with need to have formal education and relevant certificates.
While this lack of certification might not seem to be a problem while your enterprise is still relatively small in size, once you start expanding, the needs of your business will grow. The situation in which this is the most important is the one where you get flagged for an audit. Having someone certified to handle your accounting services is the best contingency plan for this scenario.
In terms of popular accounting certifications, the list is quite lengthy. Your accountant should have CPA, CFA, CFE, CIA, CMA, CGMA, or EA. While the list is not complete, these are some of the most popular certificates and such, the first thing you should keep your eye out for.
Consider Your Needs
There is no such thing as an ideal accounting service, only an ideal accounting service for you. So, try to be realistic when it comes to your enterprise’s accounting needs.
Roleplay being your own accountant for a month and try to make a list of all financial processes that take place in your business. Do you pay wages on a weekly or monthly level? How spread out are due dates on your monthly payments? Do you only plan to entrust your accountants with your taxes?
Depending on the bookkeeping or accounting software you use, the same number of financial processes can be decreased. With the right tool, a single accountant can handle the workload of an entire department. However, just because the workload is reduced in size, this doesn’t mean that it becomes easier or that anyone can handle it.
The bottom line, while your needs may vary, you do need a professional.
One of the biggest misconceptions about hiring an accountant is the idea that only hiring someone during tax time saves you money. This way of thinking is faulty for two reasons.
First, hiring someone to handle all of your records in a limited time span will end up costing you more. Having someone on retainer and having them handle all of your financial processes on a regular basis will make their work during this crucial period of time much more valuable.
Second, it’s not about cost. It’s about the value that they provide for their cost. Accountants are not just there to handle your taxes and prepare you for the audit. The amount of opportune value you would lose by interacting with accountants once per year can be astronomical.
From the perspective of cost-effectiveness, a skilled accountant is also a financial advisor. Their quotes can prove to be invaluable when it comes to things like increasing the average order value. The main reason why this profession is so in-demand, to begin with, is because it provides more than it costs.
Can Your Budget Handle It?
Not everyone can afford an in-house accountant or accounting department. Still, outsourcing is always an option. Instead of looking at it as an optional expense, you need to see accounting for what it is – a basic operational cost.
Of course, when negotiating the terms of your outsourcing to an agency, you can negotiate your terms. The way this is supposed to work is fairly simple. They set a price, you negotiate. You ask about all the services included in this cost, and you may even try to exclude some that you see as non-essential to reduce the cost. A word of caution, not all accounting firms will agree to this, and excluding accounting services on your own is seldom a smart choice.
Fortunately, in the digital age, you are no longer restricted to local accounting firms. The fact that you have a choice means that you have more leverage in the matter. First, however, you should try shopping around a bit.
Recommendations and Credentials
The experiences of others who worked with the accounting service in question should be one of the biggest determining factors. Still, checking this is never an easy task, and it might require a bit of outreach.
One of the ways in which you could make this decision is to collaborate with an accounting firm that you hear about through a recommendation. The biggest flaw with this decision lies in the fact that you may find a great offer even from an obscure accounting agency.
WOM recommendations are important, but they are not always available. Therefore, you should not restrict your decision-making process on them alone or choose based on them.
Picking the right accountant or an accounting service definitely counts as a major business decision. Due to the importance and frequency of financial processes for your enterprise, this is something that will affect your day-to-day operations more than you can possibly imagine. Overall, you need to take your time, weigh in all the factors, and only make a final decision once you’re 100% sure that you won’t regret it.