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5 Questions to Ask While Looking for a Good Bookkeeper and Accountant

5 Questions to Ask While Looking for a Good Bookkeeper and Accountant

How to find a good bookkeeper and accountant

Find a bookkeeper and accountant is an essential benchmark in any business’s excursion. If you have landed on this blog, it means one of the two things; either you are planning on starting a new business, or your entrepreneurship has achieved a milestone that requires a bookkeeper or an accountant.

Find a Bookkeeper and Accountant Video Guide

Now young entrepreneurs are always enthusiastic enough to do everything themselves at the start of a business. Yet midway on the road finding a good bookkeeper and accountant may present itself as an urgency. New companies are chaotic and stressful, and mishaps and wrong decisions happen. But not if you have mapped the plan carefully.

This blog will help you avoid making last-minute mistakes by hiring the wrong person for the subject job. It will take only a few minutes out of your busy schedule, but the following video will highlight some critical questions to ask while finding a good bookkeeper and accountant. Have a look.

We’ve got a summarized list of the five most important questions to ask to find the right bookkeeper and accountant for your business. However, they might be of little help if you do not know the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant.

So before enlisting the pro tips, you must understand the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant.

What is the Difference Between a Business Bookkeeper and an Accountant?

As the name implies, a bookkeeper’s job is to keep a record of daily business transactions, create invoices, and take care of payroll. They are more concerned with the day-to-day financial activities of your company.

A bookkeeper is also responsible for managing, recording, keeping, and retrieving daily transactions like sales, purchases, payments, receipts, and invoices. So a bookkeeper’s job starts with the start of a business.


How to find an accountant

Accountants use the information obtained from bookkeepers to analyze a business’s overall financial state and cash flow. The accountant’s job is more systematic and distinct. They organize, evaluate, review, infer, and confer financial data. Their services come in handy at different business stages, particularly when it comes to analyzing and reporting fiscal matters.

While an accountant can do a lot of bookkeeping duties, their job is at a higher level. A good accountant eases your way through many phases of business growth. Be it the planning stage or the grilling tax audits, devising your company’s legal structure, or drafting loan applications; an accountant makes the business tasks smooth and easy. The statement holds whether you hire a full-time, on-premises expert or engage an accountant hourly.

There are three levels of bookkeepers:

  • Someone who is self-trained with no educational background
  • Someone who is self-trained and has achieved a certificate in the field
  • Someone who works in professional practice and has achieved a diploma in the field

And there are two areas of accounting knowledge and training:

  • Someone who has achieved an Accounting Designation (CPA); this person most likely has experience with audits, taxes, or management and has had little bookkeeping experience during their training.
  • Someone who has a degree in accounting from a University and has worked in a professional accounting practice.

Both the appointments may prove a life-saver for your company. Though the jobs of a bookkeeper and an accountant may seem to occur at different workstations in a business module and different business phases, they complement each other at all times. That is why the selection criteria are almost the same for either of them.

Why bookkeeping and accounting are necessary?

The most common weak spots within small businesses is the inability to properly maintain bookkeeping records or even know how to organize their internal paperwork. Bookkeeping is required by small businesses to help categorize with the reporting of revenues and expenses which will be used later to file taxes. Organization of internal paperwork addresses the method of how one would keep the paper documents together so that it can be easily accessible at any time for the  proof of activities within the business.

Not giving attention to the bookkeeping would leave a business owner blindly driving a business. Here is  are some other benefits of doing your bookkeeping regularly:

·         Bookkeeping helps you balance your expenses and income, This will give you real time results on what you can do for additional expenditures for your business.

·         it provides a less cumbersome task at the end of your financial business year. This way you can get the books in and filed on time without worrying about late penalties from the government.

·         When you need to retrieve a prior expense or invoice it will be much easier to down track.

·         help analyze business performance by providing financial statements, including the cash input and output. This is important to keep a check on the weak aspects of your business and work on them. Tracking your business growth, planning business strategies, and tax forecasting become easy with analysis.

·         Helps keep track of contracted sales and what is outstanding on those invoiced jobs.

·         help you keep an eye on your cash flow by recording revenues, expenses, liabilities, and receivables. Paying outstanding invoices removes any stagnancy in the cash flow and improves your relationship with the client.

·         At year end you can compare how you performed to prior years. 

Tips on finding a qualified bookkeeper and an accountant

 

Reference

Ask other people in the business about their accountants. By their assurance, the hunting thing becomes easier. Asking them how satisfied they are with their services will make the path clearer. If you can’t find any referral from any business people then use the internet or yellow pages and choose several accounting firms.

Ask about those accountant’s names that are familiar to your work. You can create a shortlist of prospective accountants by using this method.

Hire a bookkeeper who is familiar with the tax strategies

Hire a bookkeeper who is a tax strategist. Over your lifetime, tax has a compounding effect on the income. To achieve your financial goals faster you have to legally reduce the tax burden, which is very critical.

Hiring someone like a CPA who stays at top of current laws and court cases can be beneficial. It will be well-versed with business setup to provide you with detailed guidance on the most tax-efficient legal structure for your industry.

 

Business Advisory Service

If the accountant is knowledgeable about the business environment and your tax situation then it will make sense if you ask them for the personal financial plan as well as the business plan. Accountants can give better advice from insurance to expansion. From their perspective accountants can bring a new level of insights.

 

Choose a credible bookkeeper

The most important thing that a bookkeeper should have is honesty and credibility. They will be knowledgeable about your business and might have sufficient industry experience. In most cases, even professional bookkeepers can embezzle money and mess up your books without you knowing it.

Hiring someone you trust from the get-go will give you peace of mind, making it easier from the start.

 

Examine their qualifications

A good accountant must have the credentials to back up their knowledge and experience with business taxes. While interviewing an accounting ask for a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

To file taxes for other for anyone getting paid IRS requires PTIN. If there is no PTIN, immediate removal can be done from your list. A certified public accountant, licensed attorney, enrolled agent or someone with a certificate from the IRS annual filing season program can be registered with IRS and searchable in the IRS directory.

A reputable accountant will have a membership in a professional organization. You can check for membership in a professional organization such as:

  • National Association of Enrolled Agents
  •  American Academy of Attorney CPAs
  •  American Institute of Certified Public Accountant
  • National Association of Tax Professional

A degree from a recognized college accounting program and a set of expectation for years of experience is required to get membership in these organizations. Plus professional conduct requirements and a code of ethics are also required.

If by chance your accountant is a member of one or two professional organizations, don’t let that chance go. The organization has done a bit of vetting for you. 

 

5 Questions to Ask Before you Hire a Bookkeeper or an Accountant

Whether you hire a bookkeeper or an accountant, the decision depends on

  • how big or small your company is
  • how complicated and extensive your financial details are
  • what are the demands of your business field

The job of a bookkeeper and an accountant overlap, and that is a good thing. Because if your business is new and small, you can hire a bookkeeper regularly and hire an accountant on a requirement basis.

Now without further ado, let’s get to those burning questions!

1. What is their rate, and is it accurate?

You can judge a bookkeeper’s rate by assessing their educational background, how they received their training, and their hands-on experience. The rate for bookkeepers and accountants in Canada differs based on your province or territory.

We recommend that you go with a package rate per month for a bookkeeper, and choose your accountant based on the going rate and whether they specialize in your business area (more on that later!).

2. How does the firm keep up with skill-development?

Generally, a bookkeeper holds a graduate degree with experience in bookkeeping services in a specified field. Accountants, on the other hand, are a step-ahead category with specialized certifications and degrees. Whatever the case is, both are required to upgrade their skills according to a specific business field’s latest requirements.

It is crucial to know whether your bookkeeper and accountant keep up with the industry changes. Are they using the newest software to do your books, or are they using a black ledger book?

Accountants must upgrade their professional development training each year, and most will be happy to show you proof that they have done so. Look up their profiles or the firm’s portfolio.

3. What is the availability and turnaround time of the individual?

If you work from home, having a bookkeeper and accountant available virtually is a big bonus! The ongoing COVID-19 scenario has defined some new norms in the business circle as well. So a virtual bookkeeper or an accountant not only meets the ‘stay home, stay safe’ benchmark, it also means you are cutting back on total expenses of keeping an office and a specific work station for either of them.

And of course, you want to hire someone who has a reasonable turnaround time. One of the subject services’ primary hassles is delaying responding to a query or an urgent situation. With experienced, elite, and virtual services, this may happen.

Bookkeeping and an accountant may have other clients as well. An efficient contact point person is a massive help in this regard. Discussing the response time and alternate contact or communication channel (e-mail or phone numbers) to be used in urgent times may save you lots of pennies and precious time.

4. What specific tasks can they complete for you?

How to find a financial team for my business

How to find a financial team for my business? Is the person you’re hiring able to file your taxes, do your payroll and your ROE?

Try and find someone who can tick all of your boxes. Do not be surprised if the firm does not offer a one-stop solution for accounting and bookkeeping. Not many firms out there meet the benchmark.

Since the bookkeeping and accounting services complement each other, finding a team that offers comprehensive services is essential. You do not want to end up inviting a third-party accounting team at the end of a fiscal year.

Go for a firm that delivers all-inclusive assistance in managing your business data, be it the start of your business or the end of a financial year.

5. Do the offered services specialize in your industry?

If you’re about to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant, ask them what type of clients they work with? The basics of accounting and bookkeeping remain the same across all industries. Yet minor differences about special laws are always applicable to each one of them.

Keeping in accord with these rules and regulations is vital for the reputation and compliance of your company. Making sure the to-be bookkeeping and accountant services are familiar with your business. Hiring someone with experience in this regard would go a long way for either party.

For example, do they work for many clients who work from home and own small businesses?

Or do they work for a lot of doctors and nonprofits? If their answer is “all types of clients,” keep looking! You want to hire someone who specializes in your field so you can turn to them for advice and trust that they know what they’re talking about.

Finding the right bookkeeper and accountant for your Small Business

The most important thing to consider when hiring your bookkeeper and accountant is whether they are the right fit for you and your small business. Your business’s financial side is a big one, so you want to feel confident that your economic team knows what they’re doing. You might need to do your research and shop around before you find the right person.

The subject topic is a lot to think about, we know! CorePro8 can guide you through the steps to finding a good bookkeeper and accountant. We are here to make sure you feel confident and secure in making these types of business decisions. Find out more about how CorePro8 can walk you step-by-step through these decisions and registering and/or incorporating. Find out more about how CorePro8 can walk you step-by-step through these decisions and registering and/or incorporating.

About Coreina Hubert

Coreina Hubert is the founder and CEO of CorePro8, a program that guides business owners step-by-step through the process of registering or incorporating their business. Previously, Coreina worked as an accountant at her company, Book-it Bookkeeping Inc.

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3 Responses
  1. Coreina Hubert
    Mason Smith

    It’s good to know that the bookkeeper should be able to keep records of all the business transactions. My spouse is trying to start a new online company this year. We need a financial expert to help with money so that we are successful.

  2. Coreina Hubert
    Eli Richardson

    It really helped when you said that when choosing an accountant, you should pay attention to which specific tasks they can help you with. I’ve been thinking about hiring a person who can help me through the process of filing taxes and such. But I didn’t know what to look for, so it’ll be the perfect option for me. I appreciate you helping me learn more about how much better is to find someone who can help me with all my financial needs, so I won’t need to hire multiple parties.

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