Choosing an accountant for your business is one of the most important decisions you'll make as a business owner. There are considerations related to your choice of an accountant that probably don't apply to other professional services that you might select for your business needs. Those who operate a business without a strong accounting background may tend to think all accountants are pretty much the same. But in reality, no other professional can have as potentially profound an effect on your business, as a good accountant. Here are a few reasons why:
First, you want more than just someone who can crunch numbers and produce reports. These days, software can do that. There are some much more important services that you should be looking for.
An accountant worth the trouble should not only be able to tell you where your business is financially at any time, but how to take your business where you want it to go.
Analyze, interpret, and distill financial information into a form best described as business intelligence, business advice based on expertise and experience in the business world and backed by hard numbers. The right CPA can be your dependable resource for:
- Personal Finance Advice. Your personal finances and business finances are integrally linked. Your CPA should be able to offer advice on both. Retirement planning, estate planning, and business-exit planning are ancillary to your business finances and the right advice about them can put you in a stronger financial position.
- Business Consulting. Expert small-business accountants should function as a trusted general business consultant, assessing business problems and offering specific solutions. Look for an accountant who can function as a trusted business advisor who is motivated and anxious to see you succeed.
- Tax Planning. Your accountant should be involved in business planning throughout the year, and regularly advise you so your business functions with peak tax efficiency.
- Technology Competence. Your accountant must be thoroughly familiar with accounting software applications that have the ability to convert business data into business intelligence that can be used to build your business. Your accountant should be well-versed in leading small business accounting programs, especially QuickBooks.
- Networking. It isn't just what the best accountants know, it's who they know. Your accountant should be a good source of referrals. Need a good banker? Your accountant should be able to introduce you to one.