Accounting Services: What Are They and How to Pick One For Your Small Business?
They say, “behind every successful business, there’s a good accountant.”
While the quote is simple enough to understand, the context runs deep. Basically, every type of business will encounter financial issues or obligations.
A talented CPA can remedy the situation by offering various accounting services.
If you own a small business, you should understand the popular accounting services and assess your need for one. Some are focused on taxes, while others are meant to improve cash flow.
Here are some of the most common accounting services for your business:
Bookkeeping is a commonly requested service from CPAs.
Bookkeepers are responsible for updating a company’s financial information through accounting software. Therefore, a bookkeeper must be tech-savvy.
Key Tasks for Bookkeepers: Financial Updating, Financial Monitoring, Accounts Payable & Receivables
Perhaps one of the oldest trades in the world is tax accounting. This is a sub-discipline which involves numerous accounting methods focused on taxes. Governed by the Internal Revenue Code, tax accounting is considered formal and complicated.
Rather than worry about tax rules and policies, you should focus your energy on finding a reliable tax accountant. CPAs can do tax accounting, and they can even formulate specific tax solutions.
Key Tasks for Tax Accountants: Tax Prep, Tax Planning, Financial Tracking, Financial Review
Even though management accounting can help small businesses, this service is geared effectively for medium-scale and large-scale companies. Management accountants coordinate with managers in recording and analyzing a company’s financial data.
A skilled and determined CPA can commit to a long-term management accounting duty. As your business grows, the CPA specializing in management accounting can provide great assistance.
Keep in mind that management accounting tends to be costly, depending on the size of your business. If you want to save money but don’t want to cut down on the benefits of management accounting, be prepared to look for a CPA who’s willing to offer a flexible deal.
Key Tasks for Management Accountants: Budget Planning, Budget Review, Financial Assessment, Investor Relations
Whenever there’s suspected fraud in a company or organization, forensic accounting can greatly help. Basically, forensic accounting is a discipline focused on financial discrepancies within an agreed time period. Forensic accounting is a highly specialized service.
Because forensic accountants deal with sensitive company data, they need to work with utter discretion. Also, forensic accountants have a clear knowledge of laws and policies. More often than not, forensic accountants coordinate with law enforcement agencies.
Before you get the service of a forensic accountant, you should do a preliminary investigation. This will ensure that all sources of company data are reliable. Plus, you will be able to see the full weight of the suspected fraud.
Key Tasks for Forensic Accountants: Fraud Investigation, Tracking of Missing Funds, Financial Discrepancy Analysis
Technically, management consulting is a discipline that’s somehow different from general accounting services. Still, some CPAs provide this service and it helped many companies globally.
Management consultants provide an in-depth analysis of your company’s performance. This may or may not be limited to financial advisory. Management consultants also work on special performance review projects.
To gain the most benefits from a management consulting service, take the company review as a framework and set new goals from there. Just remember to keep your new goals aligned with your company’s primary vision.
Key Tasks for Management Consultants: Company Performance Review, Creation of Periodic Company Reports
Auditing is an accounting discipline focused on financial verification. Accounting auditors are responsible for checking and reviewing a company’s financial records.
Getting the service of an accounting auditor is situational. You probably won’t need an auditing service all-year round, but it helps at least once. Remember that it’s better to hire an auditor instead of receiving an unexpected visit from an IRS auditor.
Key Tasks for Accounting Auditors: Financial Review, Financial Auditing
How to Pick the Best Accounting Service For Your Business?
Set Your Business Goals & Priorities
Goal-setting is an important part of a small business journey. If your goals are not clear, then you will encounter troubles in growing your business. The same thing applies to searching for accounting services.
By having a clear grasp of your business goals and priorities, you will know which type of accounting service is essential. If your business is about to encounter tax issues, for example, then you should consider getting a tax accounting service.
Talk to a CPA who’s ready to help you. Relay your business goals and priorities. From that point on, the CPA can suggest the best accounting service for your business.
Know Your Financial Situation
One of the main responsibilities of a business owner is to understand the financial situation of his or her business. If you think that your business is about to encounter financial problems, sit back and re-strategize. Or better yet – contact a trustworthy CPA.
CPAs can always handle multiple types of financial accounting services. Just explain your financial situation and a good CPA will propose the right service.
Envision the Best CPA
It’s always important that you treat CPAs as partners of your business. By doing so, the CPA will be happier to work with you. Try to envision the best CPA for your business so that you can manage your expectations properly.
Review Your Company’s Five-Year Plan
A five-year plan is an excellent period for measuring your company’s progress. Based on statistics, many small businesses fail within a five-year window. Of course, some small businesses succeed as well.
By analyzing your company’s five-year plan, you will have an idea which type of accounting service brings the best results. To make your searching process easier, discuss your five-year plan with an accounting firm. From the relayed data, the firm can refer to the best CPA.
Top Qualities of A Dependable Accounting Firm
The best way to secure the services of a CPA is to reach out to an accounting firm. Since there are hundreds of accounting firms operating in the US, it can be difficult to make a choice. However, the process can be easier for your business if you have a checklist of excellent accounting firm qualities.
These are the best accounting firm qualities to watch out for:
Professionalism is a highly required trait, not just in accounting, but in other industries as well. An accounting firm with a high sense of professionalism understands your needs on a greater scale.
A simple situation that highlights professionalism is the way the firm responds to your inquiries. If the firm lets you wait for more than 24 hours, then it’s not worth your time. A professional accounting firm responds fast and values your time.
Another way to measure professionalism is the firm’s way of responding. The accounting firm must be friendly, considerate, and client-oriented. The quality of the response shouldn’t be limited to phone but in other aspects as well – like social media or email.
Once you’ve managed to find a professional accounting firm, stick to it. Sooner or later, you might need the expertise of a CPA. In that case, you are just one call away from getting the help that you need.
A reliable accounting firm can help your business in many possible layers. Reliability is an important trait that will measure a firm’s effectiveness in every possible accounting area.
If an accounting firm is reliable in all aspects, you can ask for different kinds of solutions. Very likely, a CPA from that firm is also reliable enough. The same strategy is applicable if you are looking for a CPA focused in one area.
An accounting firm handles delicate financial matters and documentation processes. For the sake of your small business, you need to find an accounting firm that’s backed up with strong credentials.
Some of the common credentials that you can look for are educational backgrounds, achievements, certifications, and past work experience.
Bear in mind that credibility is more than just achievement on paper. You can also measure a CPA’s credibility by the way he or she suggests a key solution for your business.
Undeniably, integrity is one of the hardest traits to measure. At first glance, there’s no accurate way to determine if a CPA firm has a deep sense of integrity.
The real basis of integrity is the operational mindset of the firm. If the accounting firm is willing to forego moral principles just to attain a certain goal, then that’s a red flag. You’d be better off seeking accounting services elsewhere.
Once you’ve started working with an accounting firm, you will be able to observe its operational methods on a daily basis. Now, you can determine the firm’s level of integrity.
Innovation & Creativity
Innovation is a remarkable trait that can measure the competence of an accounting firm. If the firm is innovative, then it can offer modern solutions to your accounting problems. On the other hand, an innovative CPA will have fresh ideas that can help your business.
Just like innovation, creativity can go a long way. Even though accounting is all about numbers and information, a creative CPA can string solutions in the least unexpected way. Perhaps this CPA can find a tax issue that has been bugging your company for years.
A flexible accounting firm can handle all types of accounting troubles and situations. Even if your schedule is constrained, the firm must be flexible enough to provide as soon as possible.
Accounting is constantly moving – just like your business. So, it pays a lot to have a flexible accounting firm by your side.
Many company owners and businesses forget about the real importance of steadfastness. This is a strong quality which separates a mediocre CPA firm from a good one.
A steadfast accounting firm is unwavering in terms of its operational beliefs, policies, and general strategies. Such a firm is aware that no half-measures can be made during an accounting period.
So if you want to ensure the long-term financial stability of your business, contact a steadfast accounting firm.
Breadth of Knowledge
An accounting firm must be knowledgeable in all fields of accounting. Even if a client requires one or two basic accounting services, a knowledgeable firm can present many solutions.
For example, your small business needs a general accounting oversight service. With the help of a knowledgeable accounting firm, the oversight service can reach other areas like tax prep, financial management, and long-term business plan assistance.
However, if you need a specific accounting service, a knowledgeable firm can offer more solutions in the given area. This translates to better results for your business.
Choosing an accounting service for your business is a smart yet delicate move. Make sure that you’re prepared before reaching out to an accounting firm.
In case you’re ready, call us today and we’ll help you schedule a consultation with one of our CPAs!