How to Find an Ideal Accounting Firm for Your Business: 7 Tips to Consider

CATEGORY
(
Accounting
)
READ TIME
(
7 MIN
)
Date Published
(
March 9, 2021
)

Accounting firms are tremendously helpful for tracking and optimizing a company’s financial situation. They can save money and can be invaluable resources for small businesses. But what is accounting and do you know how to find a good accountant?

What is an accounting firm?

Accounting firms are teams of experts that provide accounting and bookkeeping services for companies. Top accounting firms can connect you with a skilled Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and offer a wide variety of valuable services that enable businesses to more efficiently track expenses and revenue, as well as conduct audits, streamline financial processes, organize financial information, file tax returns, reduce tax liability, form effective projections, use capital more efficiently, and keep proper taxation and financial records.

1. Who needs an accounting firm?

Hiring accounting firms to take care of your company’s bookkeeping and accounting is extremely beneficial. But how do you know if it is the right time to hire an accounting firm? Bookkeeping and accounting cost time and money, and can become detrimental to the flow of business if not conducted by an outside party, such as a CPA. Growth and time are too valuable to spend hours doing accounting in-house. If your business is growing faster than you can efficiently manage your cash flow, if you need a proper financial and business plan, if you need advice about legal structure, if you require aid for preparing taxes, and if you need to raise capital through bank funding, it is time to hire an accounting firm.

2. What do accounting firms do?

You may be wondering about the specific roles and benefits of accounting firms. The top accounting firms can assist you with the following three things, ensuring success and efficient time management:

  • Tax return preparation: Accounting firms and a CPA can help you prepare tax returns by organizing and assessing taxation information and offering advice on how to reduce tax liability.
  • Preparing financial statements: Top accounting firms and a reliable CPA will perform regular check-ins, create detailed reports, and organize invoices in order to compile effective financial statements.
  • Analysis or problem-solving advice: A CPA from a good accounting firm will run audits and assess your finances in order to find solutions that will increase cost effectiveness and profit.

3. How much do accounting firms cost?

Accounting firms do not all charge the same rate. Fees vary between accounting firms and for each CPA. While some accounting firms will charge set rates for each task they are hired to perform (such as compiling statements and filing taxes), others may charge by the minute, which may include phone calls between yourself and your CPA, and still other accounting firms may charge monthly rates. Many online accounting firms have flat monthly fees, which fluctuate based on level of service required. Starter packages may run your company around $150/month, while other packages and additional services may bring your bill up to $500/month. In addition to these fees, some accounting firms will also charge a specific rate for filing taxes, which can range from around $750 to $900 per year. Other accounting firms may charge based on the amount of monthly transactions, rather than at a fixed rate, so it is important to do research and plan for which plan best suits your business needs and learn how to find a good accountant that fits your budget.

Should I hire an accounting firm or an internal accountant?

Now that you have a clear understanding of what is accounting, you need to consider the type of service your business needs and to find the right accountant. 

It is important to determine whether or not an accounting firm or an internal accountant is the right choice for your business. The size of your business is a factor. Depending on the size of your business, you may be able to keep track of company finances easily enough at the beginning of your company's operations. But as you grow, it will become increasingly more worthwhile to seek help for handling the immense responsibility associated with accounting and taxes. 

Accountants and a CPA help companies make improvements, create tax and business plans, and expand their networking connections. Invaluable connections and skills are brought forth by the experts who work at accounting firms and by a CPA, and can help you learn to budget more efficiently throughout the entire year. An outside accountant can help you track your costs and provide advice for reducing overhead and other potential financial strains. 

Accounting firms will likely charge you an hourly rate, but they can perform a wide variety of time-saving functions that can still be cheaper than hiring someone full time with benefits from within your company. Top accounting firms will save your business far more money than what you spend on their services.

Internal accountants can work either full or part time and may be more helpful once your business grows and your financial situation becomes increasingly complicated. In-house accountants can help with managing and maintaining your ledger; holding responsibility for daily transactions; analyzing and preparing financial statements, accounting, and variance; will measure your treasury and banking; and can perform payroll fixed asset accounting as well. It is possible to pay your internal accountant using performance-based compensation rather than a salary to keep costs more efficient for your business.

How to choose an accounting firm for your business

1. Identify your needs: Before you hire an accounting firm or CPA, you need to know what you are trying to accomplish through hiring an accounting firm or CPA, and why you need to hire one. CPAs and accounting firms perform a number of useful functions. You may decide you need to hire a CPA or accounting firm for one or more of the following reasons: filing personal taxes, assisting with audits including IRS audits, managing payroll for your business, and even for answering questions about retirement. Identifying the specific needs you or your business are seeking to meet will help you find an accountant or CPA that is right for you. This is dependent on the size of your business and where you are in your personal and corporate financial journey.

2. Know what to look for: Answering the question of how to find a good accountant or how to find a CPA near you begins with knowing what it is you need in order to improve your accounting situation. Consider the following:

  • Convenient location: Location is a key factor in hiring the right accounting firm or CPA. You may want to search "CPA near me" to find the right hire. While the internet allows for the sharing of real-time data from any location in our modern climate, it is beneficial to hire an accounting firm or CPA near your business. This makes it easier to share documents and advice back and forth and to meet in-person easily.
  • Certifications: Depending on the nature of your business and what stage your business is currently in, it may be helpful to seek accounting firms with certified public accountants (CPAs). A CPA will have an undergraduate degree and has been through extensive schooling and testing to receive their certification, and they must continue to take educational courses to maintain their certification. Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are trained to meet the demands of accounting requirements while also participating in the company's management team, must also pass an exam, and must have continuing education. If you want someone certified in accounting who also has the ability to help with managing financial business performance and internal control, a CMA might be a strong fit.
  • Proactive about saving money: It is important to find a good accountant that has a strong desire to help you save money. Whatever accountant you choose should be one who wants more than to just help you track and manage your funds; your CPA or accountant should want to help you to actually save money. Look for a CPA or accounting firm staffed with experts and CPAs that understand cash flow. Top accounting firms are proactive in executing strategies that will create a surplus of funds for your company.
  • Relevant experience: Whichever accounting firm you select, your accountant or CPA should be an expert when it comes to revenue, your market sector, and working with a business of your size, whether small, medium, or large. 
  • Industry expertise: It is not just certifications that should inform your choice to hire an accountant—you want someone with experience in doing accounting for your industry or similar industries in order for them to cultivate the best financial environment for your business. Whether it’s nonprofit, retail, auto, construction, or corporate, most accounting firms specialize in specific areas. Be sure to research and find the top accounting firms that best fit your industry.

3. Leverage your personal network: If you're still wondering how to find a good accountant or how to find a CPA near you, turn to your personal network. Using your business contacts is a good way to track down reliable accountants. You can even seek advice and recommendations from your friends, families, colleagues, and acquaintances to find good accounting firms. This is a skill small business owners typically have, as they rely on networking to achieve success regularly.

4. Never rush the hiring process! Just because an accounting firm or CPA seems like a good fit upon first meeting them, do not immediately hire them. Continue to explore your options and to meet with multiple accounting firms before you decide. You want to make the best decision possible, and it is important to track down the strongest candidates and top accounting firms for your needs. You should also be certain you understand the goals of the accounting firms and CPAs you are considering, and whether or not you think they can help you attain your own goals. It is also imperative that you feel comfortable with the person you plan to hire to assist your business with accounting.

5. Make sure they understand your business: Your accountant or CPA needs to understand your business and its specific needs. They should understand your industry and know how to assist a business of your size. They need to have a clear understanding of your goals, and you need to clearly understand them as well.

6. Run background checks: Before you hire, you should include background checks in your vetting process. You want to ensure your accountant or CPA is reliable and safe to use. This person will be responsible for all of your financial matters, so they need to be someone you can trust with accounting for your business.

7. Negotiate fees: It is a good idea to negotiate fees before finalizing a hire. You want to ensure your accountant will be beneficial to you and your company. Set a budget in place, and be willing to negotiate. Make sure the agreed upon amount is still fair for you and is agreeable to the accountant as well. When you reach an agreement, you know you have found the right accounting firm or CPA for your business.

If you’re not sure where to begin looking for the ideal accounting firm for your business, start by checking out the curated marketplace at Rocketplace. With a precision matching algorithm and rapid responses, you can have a shortlist of candidates tailored to your specific needs faster than ever before. Click here to get started today!

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