One of the best ways to ensure that your finances are in order is to find accounting outsourcing firms that can work as an extension of your own. The best companies have teams of skilled and experienced accountants and bookkeepers with adequate resources at their disposal, ready to handle every single one of your accounting needs.
Accountants play a critical role in any business. They ensure the accuracy of financial documents and compliance with laws and regulations, prepare and maintain crucial financial reports, and prepare tax returns. Accountants also evaluate commercial operations, provide guidance on cost reduction and profit maximization, and perform forecasting and risk analysis assessments. On top of that, these professionals have a legal obligation to act honestly and avoid negligence in their work. So, they are liable.
However, like any other professional, not all accountants are fit for work. Some are only doing it to get by and not really to help you and your business grow. That’s why you cannot go around picking any accounting company that comes your way. You need to be diligent in your approach if you are to find accounting outsourcing firms that fit your company’s needs. With that in mind, here are some critical factors to keep in mind when choosing an accounting firm:
Many entrepreneurs and business leaders assume that all accounting firms handle the same type of work – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that some firms specialize in a few areas to offer even better services to their clients. As an example, some accountants only handle tax accounting or financial accounting or management accounting. Others specialize in auditing and forensic services or environmental accounting, and so on. But you will also meet others who do all types of accounting. If you want better experience and results, you may want to work with a specialized accountant, because that means they have extensive knowledge in the particular area you are interested in.
In addition to specialization, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced accountant. Keep in mind that an accountant may be specialized but still lack experience because they are only new to the field. Ask about the number of years they have been in practice, and the number of companies they have helped in the past. This should give you a rough idea of how experienced they are.
Certification and licensing
Not all accountants are CPAs. Accounts need to pass an exam and meet state-specific criteria to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Accreditation is the only way to tell whether the accountant in question has the necessary training and knowledge to do what he/she says they’ll do. Again, since this certification is subject to renewal, you have to ensure that the accountant in question is has the latest certification. Check out Licensing shows you that the accountant has met all the requirements and guidelines for practicing in the city or country.
Your firm’s accounting is a significant responsibility. The last thing you want is to deal with an accounting company that has too much on its plate. This will only translate to hurried work and a not-so-good experience. Find a firm that’s available to handle your job. It’s also a good idea if they are available to answer your questions or address your concerns whenever a need arises. In this case, you’ll need to know if you can drop a call, or will need to meet in person.
In your search for the best accounting firm, you’ll notice that you click with some accountants, but not the others. It is essential to work with someone you’re comfortable with. Remember, these experts are going to work as an extension of your business. The last thing you want is to deal with someone who irritates you. Try to avoid accountants who keep using terms like “you don’t get it.” If you feel intimidated, walk away.
One of the primary duties of accountants is to help prepare tax. But it is an added benefit if your accountant can stick by your side through audits, for extra support. Small businesses get frequent visits from tax auditors. So, you may want to work with an accounting firm that provides their own offices for audit reasons and offer an accountant to represent your interests. This will remove a whole lot of stress from your shoulders.
Last but not least, is the cost. You likely have a budget in place for your accountant. If a potential accountant wants more, it’s a good idea to negotiate. Either way, don’t settle for one that charges too high or too low for your preference.
As a business owner, you understand the value of networking. Your networks come in handy in such times as they will help you find the right accountant. You can also check out online reviews and recommendations. But once you identify potential accounting companies, use the criteria above to narrow down to the best.