When to Hire an Accountant

Posted 9 years ago in Small Business Tips
by Tim Chaves

When your time is worth more than the cost of an accountant…

…is when you know you need one. An accountant can help with business plans, company formation, loan applications, and tax audits. But even though an accounting professional can help you at many stages in your business, there are also key points to knowing when to hire one. And remember that ZipBooks can help you before and after you hire an accountant. We provide free online invoicing for small business and ways to manage projects, track time, and manage the billable activities of your whole team.

See if the cost is worth the time saved

Let’s say your time is worth 150 dollars an hour, and you are finding more business every day. Look at how long it would take you to do your finances or taxes and ask yourself, “Is this the most profitable use of my time?” Whatever an accountant’s rate, you should also consider that they can do it faster than you can and that time is money.

Hire someone you trust

When it is time to hire an accountant, ask around and see who other owners of similar businesses have hired. You will be more comfortable and your business can be more efficient when you hire someone you trust. Likewise, use a software you trust. ZipBooks is protected with 256-bit SSL encryption and was developed for owners just like you.

Accountants can gut check how realistic your business plan is

Odds are, you’re the creative force behind the business, the dreamer in some ways. It may be time to hire an accountant when you’re ready to plan. Consider finding someone who has written up business plans before for companies like yours. Accountants see the financials of different businesses every day. They will ground your projections with empirical data.

Accountants can help you understand tax implications of your business

Ask an accountant to explain the available legal business structures. Those could include limited companies, limited liability partnerships or corporations, sole traders, or proprietors. And consider that these structures differ from country to country.

Additionally, an accountant knows which structure represents the biggest tax savings for your business.

Accountants can assess the health of your company

An accountant can basically map out your company’s current financial situation, including payroll versus total revenue, customer retention, and cash flow. And if you and your accountant use cloud-based accounting software like ZipBooks, they’ll be able to share everything with you easily.

Accountants can help you stay compliant

Accountants can help with things like:

  • Staying up to date on tax laws
  • Preparing annual statements of accounts
  • Keeping the company’s status updated in the government’s company register
  • Maintaining records of administrative personnel
  • Handling payroll according to legal requirements

Accountants can help look for fraud

Looking for an accountant but you haven’t been audited yet? Find an accountant who offers audit insurance. They won’t charge for the extra load of work they’ll have to complete during an audit. And use ZipBooks to get organized before your audit. Tracking billing, client, and team member information from one spot online helps you understand where the money is going.

Additionally, good accounting software provides an audit trail. Your accountant will thank you for keeping good records.

Accountants can help when applying for a business loan

With a tight economy, it’s been difficult for small businesses to get loans. Just having an accountant shows the bank that you’re serious about your business.

If you’re using ZipBooks, your accountant can present data to back up your loan application. And they can answer questions about expenses and revenue projections. An accountant can also advise you on which loan to choose.

When your company is growing

Whether it’s hiring employees or taking on more office space, an accountant can look after the details (payroll, employee tax management, property tax, utility payments and so on). You can step back and keep the big picture in mind.

Accountants can also analyze your cash flow, pricing, and inventory management. They can use financial analysis to help you make smart decisions, including when or where to launch a product.

Considering taking on a franchise?

Consult with accountant on whether you should take on a franchise. Although you’ll have a larger overhead and decreased commercial freedom, an accountant can help determine profitability. They can look through the contract, showing you fees and percentages charged, to estimate your likely income.

Considering buying a business?

An accountant can discover whether the business you’re researching is in debt, and whether it owns or leases its equipment. Also consider hiring a lawyer to detect pending malpractice or environmental issues with the company, and other legal conflicts.

Accountants can help you prepare to sell a business

A good accountant can tax-efficiently structure your financial affairs to optimize what you make when you sell. For instance, a lump sum could be less tax-efficient for you than monthly payments over a period of years.

Additionally, an accountant can make your company’s financial records clear for prospective buyers. They can also make you look good with helpful charts and tables that display the company’s success and potential. They can also confer with potential buyers’ accountants during the due diligence process, which is usually required by law when a business is being taken over.

Hire an accountant when the risks of doing it on your own outweigh the benefits of saving money

Know that a good accountant can help you at any stage in your business. But there is a lot you can do on our free accounting software before and after you get there. Manage projects, track time, and send and follow up on invoices even from your smart phone.

However, one day your time will be too valuable to spend balancing your books. We’ll still be here for you. Find someone trustworthy to take over your ZipBooks account and bookkeeping so that you can grow your company to its full potential.

About Tim

Tim is Founder and CEO of ZipBooks. He keeps his desk really nice and neat.

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