This month’s guest blog is actually a two-parter by Rebecca Weingartner. Last week, she covered the different types of financials professionals that exist. This week, she’s delving into how you determine which one is best for your business.
Which Professional Do You Need?
Every small business has their different needs, so there isn’t a one sized package to fit everyone. But some things to consider as you begin your journey in cleaning up your finances and bringing on the right team:
- Some finance professionals hold more than one title. Does the accountant offer bookkeeping services? Is the bookkeeper also an EA?
- Is your highest priority right now just keeping your bookkeeping on track and organized? Once cleaned up, would your taxes be simple enough for you to continue DIYing that for another year? Then just find a bookkeeper for now.
- Do you already know how to do your own bookkeeping, and keeping up with it doesn’t hinder you from working on your business? Then maybe you just need to find a CPA or EA for tax filing.
- Is everything a mess? You keeping putting off or genuinely don’t have time to deal with your finances? Don’t know how to accurately do it, or can’t keep up with the constantly changing tax laws? You need both a bookkeeper & CPA or EA!
If you have the budget for it, my favorite combo of professionals is this:
A bookkeeper that offers some form of consulting services & CPA that offers tax strategy
Not to downplay the others because they have their place and are very important to businesses that need their services.
However, having a bookkeeper will keep you on track through out the year with your finances, will allow you to know at any given moment what the financial health of your small business is. Additionally, if they offer additional consulting services in an area that you need help in, you know they will communicate with you along the way and help push your business forward.
And with a CPA that offers tax strategy (and if you actually utilize them for tax strategy), you’ll have a professional that keeps up with tax laws and can help you reach your goals. This person will learn what your goals are, not just for tomorrow, but for the next 10 years, and help you plan out your taxes and finances to meet those goals. Yes, sometimes that means planning expenses and possible deductions to save you the most they can come tax time. But it also means that if they know you’ll be applying for loans in the next 1-3 years, they will advise you to play the tax game differently because loan officers will want to see that your company is making a profit before they’ll lend to you.
But not feeling ready for a fully bookkeeper & CPA combo? Are you just wanting someone to file your taxes at year end? If that’s the case, then definitely look for an EA. Don’t go with just any tax preparer. Remember, and EA can sign your returns AND represent you in front of the IRS in the event of an audit. And considering small businesses are in the hot seat when it comes to who is most likely to be audited, you want an ally in your court that will help walk you through this process!
The Wrap Up
While we didn’t cover every financial professional that’s out there, I hope this list gives you a general idea of some of the most common ones available to you. Once you become familiar with who they are and what they have to offer, you can become empowered to surround yourself with the right team of professionals for you and your small business.
As you piece that team together, you’ll no longer be running full steam ahead on ignorance. You’ll have a team that knows what you don’t know, so they can help guide you as you set your sights on your goals and go after them.