No matter how many business owners and operators may try to avoid dealing with the accounting and bookkeeping part of things, it is unavoidable if your business is to have any chance at success. While it is true that you want to focus primarily on the areas where you find yourself most proficient (and where you can enjoy life), putting the accounting and bookkeeping on the backburner instead of taking it to an accounting firm is a harmful, short-sighted, and dangerous strategy that always ends badly.
If you have considered hiring an in-house accountant and thought that such a position would not be required full-time or the year around, and thus would be a redundant burden on your budget far too often, your next option would be to look at an external accounting firm to whom you can turn for help. How does one choose the right accounting firm for your particular business? There is no short or universal answer.
Determine your needs
Perhaps the most important questions to consider when choosing from among the available accounting firms are: what it is you would require your external accountant to do? What are your needs? Would you require day to day invoicing, billing, payroll as well as long-term forecasting, planning, reporting and business taxes?
If so, the smaller accounting firms will not be up to the task. Managing both the daily work and the longer term vision at the same time is not something every professional accountant would be able to do. Thus, when choosing your service provider, make sure you know what it is you require so you can see for yourself—or their representative can inform you whether these needs are going to be met in the most cost-efficient and seamless manner possible.
Determine what the accounting firms can provide
Your next step in analyzing the accounting firms would be based on what it is these companies can provide to you for the fees advertised. Will they have industry specific knowledge that would be beneficial to your company? Have they dealt with the problems that you need them to solve before? What are their ratings, testimonials, credentials, success stories? How efficiently are the accounting firms in question using modern technology, such as cloud collaboration, automated data feeds, and integration with smartphones and tablet computers? All of this information would be crucial to you in making your decision.
Find the perfect match
Given the multitude of accounting firms out there, it should not be difficult for you to use quite strict criteria in order to eliminate the weak options from you short list. When you have narrowed down the options to just two or three best accounting firms available to you, go even further in depth in your negotiations with these companies to find the best fit. You should feel confident in your accountant’s abilities, adherence to the highest industry standards when it comes to privacy and confidentiality, knowledge of the best practices known to date, and the ability to switch to your account on short notice, so that you are never left waiting for your numbers to be updated. When you find this accountant, you have struck gold.