As a business owner, your accountant will be one of your most significant and most necessary allies. However, it can be challenging to find a good accountant to grow your small business. From ensuring that a prospective accountant is experienced working within your industry to making sure that your work and communication styles align, it’s crucial to properly vet your CPA to be sure that they will be a strong partner for your business.
Explore the following tips to help get a sense of how to find and hire the best accountant to help scale your small business.
How to Find a Good Accountant for Your Small Business
Find an accountant with relevant experience.
First and foremost, you’ll want to consider candidates who have experience working with companies in your industry. More importantly, focus on accountants who have prepared financial documents and tax returns for businesses of similar size, age, and size to yours. It’s also worth finding out if your prospective accountant has larger clients than your current business, as this can show that they are prepared to handle your needs as your business continues to grow.
Check their credentials and references.
Once you’ve found a candidate you’re interested in meeting, you’ll want to do your due diligence to ensure that the CPA you’re speaking with has all the experience and credentials you’re looking for. Ensure that they’ve been licensed by the state and participate in the continuing education required to maintain that license and stay up to date on all relevant tax laws. Additionally, you want to check references for each prospective accountant to ensure they are who they say they are—as well as to get some votes of confidence on working with this particular partner.
Arrange an in-person meeting.
Even though we live in the age of technology, software or and digital solutions don’t quite serve as an adequate substitute for face-to-face meetings. Remember, this is the person who will be responsible for all of your money, which means your livelihood. You will want to establish a personal connection and use the opportunity to get a feel for who they are, and if they’re someone you can see yourself partnering with long-term. Also, it’s a major red flag if your prospective accountant is not ready and willing to meet with you in person and should immediately prompt you to move on to the next candidate.
Conduct interviews with multiple candidates.
Even if the first accountant you meet appears to be a good fit, it’s vital to conduct interviews with multiple candidates before making your final hiring decision. You give yourself an advantage when you can compare numerous accountants and the products, services, and prices that they are offering. Interviewing multiple candidates allows you to compare what it’s like to have a dialogue with each candidate, hopefully clarifying which person you can best see yourself working with in the long run based on where your business is headed.
Use your social networks.
Social networks are powerful tools for hiring for your small business. Not only can you ask your friends and professional connections for recommendations, but you can also do your own research on prospective hires. Using these networks, you can find out who else your potential accountant is connected to and how they talk about their work. It’s also helpful to keep an eye out for feedback and reviews from current or previous clients.
Trust yourself first.
Above all other criteria, make sure you listen to and trust yourself first. Your instincts are powerful, and if something tells you that a person is not a good fit, you’re probably right even if they check all of the boxes. Someone might be a great accountant but not the right accountant for you, and figuring that out before entering into a crucial business relationship with them can save you both a lot of time, money, and frustration.
Vetting a Prospective Accountant
Finding an account to help grow your small business is one of the most important choices you’ll make as a business owner. Once you’ve found a prospective accountant, it’s critical to make sure that they are indeed the right fit by asking clarifying questions. Some of these questions include discussing communication methods and expectations, how billing is done, and how much it costs to work with that accountant. You may also want to inquire about how much experience the accountant has in your particular industry. Most importantly, you will want to ask how that accountant will work with you as you scale your small business. This helps you guarantee that the accountant has a clear long-term vision for your business that aligns with how you’re looking to grow.
Taking the opportunity to learn more about your prospective accountant is beneficial for both you and the accountant. Not only are you asking questions about them, but they have a chance to find out what your needs are and what your expectations will be if you decide to work together. Establishing an accountant/client relationship that fosters open communication and trust from the start lays the groundwork for a successful partnership over time.
By spending the time to find an accountant that feels like the best fit for you and your business, you are investing in yourself and the future of your company. The success of your business is deeply tied to the people you hire and the right accountant will help you continue to grow and thrive for years to come.