Many small business owners feel they need to do it all, but should that include the stress from managing all the business finances? When it comes to keeping the books, there are three people to look at: yourself, someone on your team, or an accountant. Given your limited bandwidth as a business owner, it’s natural to find yourself asking, “Do I need an accountant for my small business?”
In most cases, hiring an accountant is the way to go—especially when your company begins to expand. Accountants can take on many financial roles for your business and help make better decisions, especially during tax season. Whether your accountant is on staff or a trusted consultant (more on this below), that internal knowledge on taxes and bookkeeping can turn business finance into an advantage as your small business looks for opportunities to grow. If you find yourself managing any of the following items, it may be time for an accountant to remove these specific duties from your plate.
What can an accountant do for your small business?
Accountants main duty is to manage your cash. They can help make professional decisions by evaluating the cash you have in your accounts and placing it around the obligated expenses. Along with evaluating the data, they will store the data securely, while updating it day to day. These daily updates will give investors and owners the proper information about the business. Given their professional experience in working with business finances, you can also be confident in the security of your financial information.
Sometimes, small business owners need a clear picture of financial implications when they need to be decisive with an opportunity. Accountants can come to the rescue. They produce financial analysis for business plans. They can interpret the analyses and guide you to make the right decisions. If you have a question about credit or tax deductions, they can be that helpful resource.
Have we mentioned cash flow? Well, accountants can manage documentation to help with your visibility, and also to ensure your documentation is appropriate. The updates on the company’s cash will make tax season go smoother with all the entered transactions. They will also create reports about the future and end of the year projections. This is not to say that you should forget about cash and leave it to an accountant. There’s still tremendous value in visibility of real-time cash flow for business owners. But perhaps the technical and regulatory details are not the best use of your time.
Accountants also provide strong advice while balancing books. They can activate their knowledge and skills to help your business reach its goals. Any changes you are considering can be analyzed by an accountant and they can ultimately help you see the layout of the future if the changes are pursued. Their recommendations can also come from what is going on in the economy that you may be unaware is happening.
When to hire an accountant
The biggest benefit of hiring an accountant is the time it will save you. Owners have so many tasks to keep their business afloat, and instead of wasting time on finances, accountants give you that time back. Here are just some of the items an accountant can help with:
- Writing a business plan
- Buying another business
- Expanding your business
- Applying for loans or financial assistance
- Help with budgets, expenses, and day-to-day finances
- Dealing with government compliance
- Selling you business
And most importantly… TAX TIME! This time of year is always the most stressful, especially for startup businesses. Without an accountant, business owners will spend a lot of time and risk costly mistakes. An accountant provides peace of mind and confidence when dealing with the IRS. Tax issues can cost a company money and opportunity, and accountants ensure accurate information to minimize your risk.
New business owners already have enough on their plates. Accountants reduce stress in those areas by producing efficient feedback to encourage new opportunities.
Outsource or full-time?
Either one you choose will always be more helpful than organizing your finances on your own.
Outsourced accounting services may specialize in specific functions, so research and interview appropriately. If there is a specific service that you need help with, it may be easier to to find a consultant than a full-time employee. In any case, be sure to understand any fees for services you outsource.
A full-time accountant may not be the cheapest solution, but it can provide major benefits. Any question you may have throughout the day, your account is ready to help. Internal accounting will provide confidence throughout your business. They will be able to focus on your projects directly and give quick feedback to solve any problem—from expenses, to tax implications, to expansion opportunities. As a part of your company culture, the accountant will better understand your goals and financial implications of your decisions.