Choosing the Right Accountant for Your Small Business
In order to find a good accountant, you should
understand what the accountant can do for you and what
they should know. In just a few words, the accountant is
the financial monitoring system.
Duties of an Accountant
To be more specific, they watch over all things finances
for you and report to you your current financial standing.
Your accountant works to understand every aspect of
your company’s finances.
They keep track of everything come in and take into account every expenditure the company has made.
They use this info to determine the current financial standing—i.e. are you turning a profit or should you
be worried about keeping the lights on in the coming months.
There isn’t an expenditure that you should hide from him or her, nor should you hide an income, no
matter how small. All financial documents are carefully examined and understood by the accountant.
When you give them all of the information, they can help you prepare a budget of expenditures that you
can afford in the future. They also help figure out the payroll.
Complications of Counting
This is a lot more than just counting up your hours and multiplying them by your pay rate. It also
requires they calculate however much is to be taken out for retirement, sick wages, holiday, and
They have to know how much money to withhold and how much to give. Then they have to know how
to distribute the withheld money properly.
Their job allows them to give professional advice as to
what you should or should not do in the months to
come. They have a responsibility to be 100% all the
time and to give sound advice.
They can cause a lot of grief if they fail to
communicate the correct information. They could put
you out of business.
That being said, you should look for key characteristics in an accountant. Look for someone that has a
reputation for integrity.
Honesty and integrity
First and foremost, you want to make sure they have the integrity to do what they’re job calls for. This
means they’re honest with their work and do the job to the best of their ability.
If there was ever a job that needed honest workers, it’s the financial sector of your company. Dishonest
salesmen can be dealt with, usually without huge ramifications.
Dishonest accountants could bring your entire company down. Second, look for someone who is logical
and a good communicator.
You want someone who can work the numbers and critically problems solve before they come to you
with anything. They should have a thorough understanding of accounting processes and know how to
think outside the box when hiccups come up.
Both will ensure you get the work done efficiently, and correctly. They also need to be able to
communicate to you.
They need to speak your lingo—meaning they speak in such a way that you can understand them. They
shouldn’t avoid approaching you about issues and keep an open chain of communication at all times.
Organization is Key
Lastly, look to see if they’re organized. If they can keep track of everything on their desk, then you can
assume that they can keep track of everything in your books.
You want someone that can get it done right the first time. When you find an accountant that can do all
these things, you’ve found someone that can be a great asset to your company financially.
Look for someone that has the integrity, knowledge, communication skills and organization to take care
of your books. Stevens Henager teaches its accounting students the skills they need to be successful in
the real world.
Come to Stevens Henager if you’re interested in finding or becoming a high quality accounting
professional. Graduates are experienced workers that often returned to school to get the degree they
Photo Credit: Missi, Dave Dugdale