If you’re the owner of a business, you may have started out thinking that you could handle the financial side of things on your own, as many entrepreneurs have done. In the beginning, keeping track of the books is fairly simple but as your company grows, trying to run your business while being responsible for taking care of taxes and accounts can quickly become overwhelming, even with accounting software. This is the point where accounting firms can become a crucial part of the success of your business.
With so many accounting firms out there, how do you choose?
First, you’ll need to make a list of the services you plan to use and narrow down your choices to those firms that provide those benefits. Some of the services offered by many include:
- Basic accounting services including the management of payables and receivables as well as financial reports for banks, investors or internal use.
- Payroll management as well as payroll preparation and payroll tax reporting.
- Tax Services, including preparing and filing federal, state and local tax returns. Most accounting firms will also work with you through the year to help minimize your tax burden.
- If you don’t have a full-charge bookkeeper on staff, the firm should also be able to provide those services for you including maintaining a general journal, reconciling bank statements and analyzing receivables and payables.
- Many firms will help your business set up appropriate accounting software including implementation and training and provide help if there are issues or questions come up in regard to its use.
- If your business is audited, the firm can be a huge help in making sure that your financial statements are accurate and complete.
Once you’ve decided which services your business will need, start prioritizing the list from most critical to the least critical. Next, you’ll need to compile a list of accounting firms. You might check the yellow pages, search online, but the best option is a good reference from, family or colleagues who are already using a firm and are happy with the services received.
Look for a firm that specializes in your size of business, with experience in your industry, and is not only reasonably priced, but is able to provide useful advice as well as all of the critical services you need. It’s important that you can trust the firm and can build a long term relationship with the accountant you’ll be working with. Remember to thoroughly check their client references, and don’t commit to a long relationship until you feel comfortable that the firm will be reliable and provide the services your business really needs.