Whatever growth stage your business is in, an accountant can do more than just help you file and pay your taxes.
So, when should you hire an accountant for your business?
As your business has grown, you’ve probably already spent a few hours with an accountant to help on certain projects. An accountant can help write your business plan, start the company formation process, keep it in good standing, suggest appropriate financing and help secure loans. Sometimes, just a few hours with an accountant can make your life a whole lot easier.
But, when should you consider employing an accountant full-time?
Hire an accountant when you’re not the subject matter expert.
If you aren’t really comfortable setting up a chart of accounts, reading a trial balance, and creating financial statements, you likely should hire an accountant. An accountant can get your business started on the right track and help prevent early mistakes that could cost you time and money down the road.
Hire an accountant if doing your taxes seems daunting.
Each year, the tax code gets increasingly complex. Not only will an accountant help you pay the right taxes for your business type, he or she can also find credits and deductions available to you. Additionally, an accountant can help you plan future tax payments, so you’re not surprised.
Hire an accountant when you don’t have time for bookkeeping.
Maybe you’re a business owner who understands accounting and you’ve been managing your books for years. At some point, you must realize this is not the best use of your time. Instead, you could be doing things that directly impact the growth of your business. Accept that your time is better spent acquiring new business or expanding into new markets or improving operational efficiencies. Let’s say it takes you 10 hours to do your taxes, and your time is worth $100 an hour. That’s a cost of $1,000 to do your taxes yourself. And that doesn’t count the risk that you’ve made errors, which is even more likely if, like most business owners, you’re multi-tasking.
Hire an accountant if you’re growing fast.
If you’re experiencing rapid growth, you need the infrastructure to support it. Rapid expansion means more customers to track, more employees to manage, increased vendor costs, etc. An accountant can provide valuable financial assistance in managing the evolution of your business.
Hire an accountant if you’re business is growing, but your profits aren’t.
An accountant can provide an independent, unbiased perspective on your finances. Perhaps your overhead costs are too high, you should be taking advantage of vendor price breaks, you have one product line or service that is dragging your profits down, you should get your receivables aging under control, or perhaps it’s time to increase prices. An accountant can provide a financial wellness check for your business.
Hire an accountant when you’re looking for investors to help grow your business.
Investors like detailed, accurate financial reports. If you’re interested in attracting investment money from angel investors or venture capitalists, you need to show you’ve done your due diligence. Investors will want key financial assumptions, revenue projections, and pro forma financial statements. If you’re seeking financing from a financial institution, you’ll have to comply with the loan covenants. For example, the lending institution may require the borrower to stay below a set debt-to-equity ratio and require the borrower to report the ratio quarterly. In both situations, an accountant could help: whether ensuring you are well prepared to pitch to investors or monitoring and complying with investor covenants.