Should I hire an accountant for my small business?

The Milestone Team August 20, 2021
hire accountant for small business

Hiring for a small business, for any role or position, has a bigger impact and carries more risk for the business than for any other organization. A single hire might be a 5% increase in your headcount, for example. But if data management, financial reporting, and bookkeeping fall behind, it’ll be harder to justify your decision to try to tackle it yourself instead of admitting sooner rather than later: “I need an accountant for my small business.” 

For small businesses who start to feel the need and pressure to be more organized with their financial data and reporting—especially when it comes to cash flow forecasting—either hiring an accountant or outsourcing accounting services can be the right move. 

What does an accountant do for a small business?

An accountant, in fact, might be the first hire for your business that feels like an indirect role—someone who isn’t directly interacting with the day-to-day customer, client, product, or service. But accountants and accounting can play more of a role in growing the business than you think.

The responsibilities of a small business accountant will involve the collection, organization, and management of your financial data to help advise the business. While many accountants have begun to offer additional services, such as payroll and HR, they primarily help you the most by managing your financial data to ensure you’re making the right decisions for the business. 

What should an accountant do for a small business?

If you really stop to think about all of the financial responsibilities that you have on your plate as a business owner, it becomes easier to understand how a dedicated accountant can help ease the burden and get you back to running the business. In fact, if you consider these benefits of hiring an accountant for a small business, it might very well be a no-brainer. 

Free up your time as a business owner

As soon as you get your new accountant up to speed with the day-to-day processes of the business, the burden of managing the ins and outs of the company’s finances feels lighter on your shoulders. You free up time and creative energy to put towards other business facets. 

Save the company money in the long-term and short-term

A good accountant can be an invaluable member of your team who often helps pay for themselves by watching the company finances closely. Not only do they look for opportunities to cut costs or eliminate wasteful spending in the short term, but they can also help provide the information you need to make smart decisions that can lead to better cash flow in the long-term. 

Peace of mind

It is hard to focus on the business and think strategically when you are anxious about your finances. Even when cash flow isn’t a concern, it can be stressful and distracting when your financial house isn’t in order. A good accountant can provide peace of mind by keeping your finances in order and providing timely and accurate information to support day-to-day operations. 

How to hire an accountant for a small business

You know from your experience as a small business owner how important it is for a new hire to fit into the close culture of your company. Hiring an accountant for a small business is as much about culture fit and finding the right partner to help you think strategically about the business as it is their technical skills. 

To be clear, the accountant you hire doesn’t have to be a full time member of your team. In fact, it is often more cost effective and more productive to hire an outsourced accounting firm, fractional accountant, or fractional CFO. A good outsourced accounting firm can cover a wide spectrum of services and provide the strategic sounding board you need as a business owner. Here are a few things to consider as you think about hiring the right accountant for your business. 

Talk to your employees 

Get feedback from key employees or departments to take stock of their needs: record keeping, financial reporting, tracking key performance indicators, etc… You might be surprised by the level of support they really need or by the amount of time they are spending doing these tasks themselves. 

Look for a track record

As you begin reviewing possible partners to outsource accounting services for your small business, look for a proven track record at other small businesses. Not all accountants will have the know-how and experience to spearhead your accounting needs at the small business level; it’s better to find a fractional accountant that specializes in the interests of the owners of growing organizations. You should also remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best choice. You tend to get what you pay for.

Stay open minded to suggestions 

The right outsourced accounting firm will have a wealth of experience to draw upon and will undoubtedly have suggestions for operational improvements. Stay open minded to a new way of doing things and you could see significant improvements in your business.

How do I find a small business accountant near me?

If the benefits of hiring a small business accountant sound interesting, Milestone is here to help. Our experienced team of accounting professionals can provide a free assessment to help you determine if it is time to hire an accountant and whether the potential benefits of using an outsourced accounting firm would make sense for your business. 

Milestone provides cost-effective solutions for small business owners that can transform the back office into a competitive advantage. Click here to learn more about the Milestone difference.

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