According to a survey conducted by AccountingToday, 47% of small business owners said that bookkeeping was among the top services they’d hire out to help their business grow. But not everyone has the budget or need to hire on an accountant as part of their full-time payroll. Thankfully, there are a few other options you can choose from to find the right accounting strategy for your business.
In this post, we’ll be defining the roles of accountants and how they can help your business, plus we’ll offer some solutions to help you find the right business accounting solution for your organization.
What does an accountant do?
Before we get into your accounting options, let’s first answer what an accountant does and why their job is essential to your company.
First off, an accountant is not the same thing as a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper helps to collect and record financial transactions and documentation, but in general, they’re not responsible for preparing financial reports or making financial decisions. That’s where the accountant comes in. Though their duties are vast, accountants are specialized in managing just about every aspect of a business’s finances. From budgets to tax planning and preparation, a business accountant can help ensure your business is crunching numbers accurately and abiding by compliance standards.
1) Hire a part-time accountant
Many business owners assume that if they have an accountant, they’ll need them on call at all times but the truth is, your day to day operations can most likely survive without your accountant there day in and day out. However, if your business makes a lot of transactions on a daily basis, you might need accounting support more frequently.
If you do choose to hire an accountant full-time or part-time, you should look for these qualities to help ensure you’re making the best hiring decision for your business:
- Industry experience
- Effective communication skills
- Organizational skills
2) Use accounting software
Your second alternative to hiring an in-house accountant for your business is opting for an accounting software system instead. An accounting software system allows you to keep control of your finances while also having access to expert help when you need it. With a user-friendly program, you can keep books, create budgets, and even prepare your taxes all on your own.
There are a few accounting software systems to choose from, including:
- Zoho Books
- GoDaddy Bookkeeping
Not sure which program to choose? You can compare accounting software options here.
Keep in mind: When managing your business’s finances on your own, you need to be aware of the legal statutes that govern your business—including rules created by the IRS and the FTC. Additionally, business owners should make sure they’re always recording accurate data and reviewing their books to catch any mistakes before they evolve into bigger issues.
3) Get the best of both worlds
If you thought hiring a human accountant or a virtual one were your only two options, you thought wrong. For most business owners, their accounting needs fall somewhere in the middle of needing someone in-house and being able to use their online resources. In this situation, it might be worth it to consider both options.
What this looks like ultimately depends on your unique business model, but the idea would be that you seek the help of your in-house accountant for more personalized services and use accounting software for times when you don’t need as much specific direction.
For example, you could use a software for tax preparers to help you prepare and file your business taxes according to IRS standards. This can help you save on the hourly costs of your accountant and could allow you to hire a generalized accountant rather than a CPA. And for accounting needs that require more detailed knowledge of your business (like building budgets or making financial decisions), you may want the accountant on your payroll to handle these matters.
No matter which solution you choose to suit your accounting needs, the important thing to remember is the function of an accountant as part of your business. An accountant helps you ensure compliance, position your business for growth, and analyze financial trends. In order for them to be successful in their duties, you’ll want to have the right individual or system on your side.