As your business continues to grow, so will the need to hire some outside help. Even if you were once able to handle all of your business’ responsibilities on your own, increased revenues—and a more complicated business model—will make the need for outsourcing at least some of your essential business functions pretty much inevitable.
Because accounting and bookkeeping can often be quite complicated, these services are often among the first that a business will choose to outsource. After all, if you make a mistake on your taxes or end up paying more for some expenses than is necessary, you will end up experiencing cash flow issues that compound over time.
While the “Big Four” accounting firms still play an important role within the industry, many businesses—especially small businesses and new businesses—have begun searching for accounting solutions that are a bit more accessible. Fortunately, due to the many advancements of the modern era, finding a niche accounting firm that meets your needs is easier than ever before.
Despite this ease of access, with an estimated 1.26 million accountants practicing within the United States, you may not be sure which firm makes the most sense for your business. Before hiring an outsourced accounting firm, it is usually a good idea to ask them at least a few preliminary questions. This way, you’ll be much more confident in whichever firm or individual accountant you end up choosing. In this article, we will discuss 8 of the most important questions to ask when hiring a new accountant.
Which Types of Businesses do You Typically Work With?
Our economy contains many different kinds of businesses, each with very distinctive needs. The outsourced accounting firm that makes the most sense for you will depend on your business’ size, the industry you operate in, your financial objectives, and many other factors. By seeing that a potential accounting firm has worked with businesses similar to your own, you can be much more confident that they can help you achieve your objectives.
Does Your Firm Offer CFO Advisory Services?
While accountants are primarily concerned with organizing books and keeping track of financial objectives, a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will be much more involved with long-term financial planning. By working with a firm that offers CFO advisory services, you will be able to pursue financially lucrative projects while also finding other strategic methods to improve your bottom line. Because these services are offered “fractionally”, you will be able to eliminate the cost of having a CFO while still advancing your business as time goes on.
How Can My Business Improve its eCommerce Operations?
In the digital era, having a strong eCommerce footprint will be incredibly important. In fact, in 2018, eCommerce sales accounted for more than $500 billion of economic activity in the United States. By 2023, this figure is expected to reach more than $740 billion. By pursuing various eCommerce opportunities—selling on Amazon, creating a Shopify platform, promoting sales via social media, etc.—your business can capture a piece of this impressive growth and remain competitive in the modern era.
Does Your Firm Offer Daily Reports and Communications?
Naturally, the best accounting firms for your business will be the ones that are willing and able to consistently keep you in the loop. By having access to daily reports, you will be able to easily track your business’ progress over time and also keep an eye out for any red flags (accounting errors, signs of financial fraud, etc.). A good accounting report will typically display all of the financial transactions that occurred the day or week before and also help your business begin planning for the future.
Will I be Able to Reach Out to You in Case of an Emergency?
While your business’ financial operations will ideally go on without a hitch, there is no denying that accounting emergencies do, in fact, happen. In order to minimize the impact of these emergencies—regardless of their original cause—it will be important to address them as soon as you possibly can. Make sure that the accounting firm choose is one that can easily be communicated with and will offer quick response times.
How Will Our Relationship Change as my Business Continues to Grow?
If your business is new and small (or even if it is old and big), you probably have some pretty ambitious growth objectives. Rather than hiring a new accounting firm every time your business reaches a “new level”, it will be much easier for you to choose an accounting firm that offers scalable solutions. Fortunately, because most accounting firms want to retain their clients over time, most of them will offer their services a la carte, allowing you to make adjustments as your business changes form.
What Are the Primary Benefits of Outsourcing Our Accounting Practices?
This is a useful question because it allows each prospective firm to offer a broad pitch for using their services. In recent surveys, businesses cited cost, time, and access to expertise as some of the reasons they choose to outsource certain services. If the firm you’re considering understands what you’re looking for, they’ll be much more likely to develop a set of accounting solutions that work for you.
What Will You Require from Us in Order to Have a Productive Relationship?
Lastly, it is important to recognize that the relationship you have with your accountant will be a two-way relationship. In order for this relationship to be productive, your accountant will likely require various forms of input and communications over time. By clarifying everything that is required on your end in advance, both parties will be much more likely to achieve their goals.
Conclusion – 8 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Accountant
Being the owner of a growing business can be a very exciting adventure. Your business is the product of your own hard work and something you should certainly be proud of. By taking the time to conduct interviews and find an accountant that works for you, you can continue moving forward and pursuing your long-term objectives.