You have many decisions to make as a business owner that will either help your business grow or eventually lead to stagnation. One prime example is hiring an accountant. Often, some business owners can handle basic accounting processes at the beginning but as transactions increase, they will eventually need professional help and advice. The most important thing is to pick the right individual or firm for the job. Here are a few things you should be considering when looking for an accountant.
Anyone can claim to be an accountant and promise to offer reliable services. Go beyond the sales pitch and verify the accountant’s professional qualifications. If an individual is not affiliated with any professional institution or possess academic documents, he or she is likely to be unqualified for the job. The accountant should be registered as a tax agent in Australia before filing a single tax return for your business. They should also be a member of a professional association like the Institute of Public Accountants institutions, the CPAA, or the ICAA for instance.
2. Technical Skills
Most business processes including accounting are now automated and your business needs the latest accounting software to prepare reports. The right candidate should not only have basic computing skills but the skills to use accounting packages and tools. If you are introducing the technology to your business, you need a professional that can recommend the best tools for your business. And they should also be able to use both cloud software tools and business software in conjunction with each other or independently.
3. Additional Skills and Services
You are hiring an accountant to manage certain aspects of your business and maximize your tax returns. However, they should be able to do more than generate reports, especially if you are outsourcing the function to a company. You need professional advice based on the financial trends that will push your business to a new level of productivity. The accountant should not offer the easiest advice to please you as a client but the right advice that your business needs.
Accountants need multiple skills including communication, reporting, and organizational skills. You can tell from the start if the individual or company is organized. Apart from filing tax returns and preparing the payroll, the accountant should give sound financial planning advice. You also need advice in preparing for retirement, especially for your employees. A qualified accountant can help you to prepare business plans when sourcing for funds to grow your business.
4. Payment Rates and Schedule
The cost of hiring an accountant often varies with the job description and their qualifications. Experienced accountants will charge a higher rate than new entrants into the field will. Most professionals charge an hourly rate, but with the advent of cloud accounting, fixed price billing is becoming more common. And more firms are asking for upfront fees before the service begins. So, make sure that you understand the payment structure in detail before you start working with anybody.
Hiring an accountant is a critical decision that most business owners must make at some point. In addition to qualifications, focus on the actual value the accountant or accounting firm is offering your business.