Running a successful small business is challenging. Roughly 20% of these businesses fail within the first year. If you want to succeed, you need to focus on core tasks and find ways to maintain positive cash flow.
Delegating tasks is the answer to allow you to have more time to spend on customer satisfaction, product development, and sales.
One area to delegate first is accounting. A CPA (“Certified Public Accountants”) can help you understand your business’s financial health, save you money, and know when you can leverage growth opportunities.
But how do you find a CPA for your small business?
How to Find a CPA for Your Small Business?
If you’re eager to find a professional, it’s essential to take the time to:
- Determine what tasks you need to be performed
- Consider a traditional or virtual accountant (more on that soon)
Once you know the services you need, you’ll want to follow these steps to find a CPA for your SMB:
- Start Online
Google is your friend when trying to find a CPA. You can find local and non-local professionals that can assist you. One point that we want to solidify here is CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs.
Certified Public Accountants pass extensive tests and must be licensed in your state.
You can verify the person’s credentials on CPA Verify, or you can verify these credentials through your state’s Board of Accountancy.
- Read Through Reviews
Spend time looking for reviews on your potential CPA. A basic search of the CPA’s or firm’s name plus “review” will help you find reviews from others. You’ll want to make sure that any prospective CPAs are well-rated.
- Verify The Services Offered
Your business needs specific services, such as tax filing, tax planning, payroll, bookkeeping, accounting, and potentially more. Call the CPA or browse through their sites to weed out any potential CPAs that don’t offer the services that you need. If you aren’t entirely sure what services you need, don’t be afraid to ask your potential CPA for guidance.
- Schedule a Meeting
Once you’ve found someone with great reviews and testimonials and who offers the services you require, schedule a meeting. You may be able to meet the CPA in person, or it may be a quick phone or video call.
- Ask Questions
During the initial meeting, you must ask pertinent questions to understand the extent of the services being offered. A few questions to ask are:
- How long has the CPA been in business?
- Has the CPA helped businesses in a similar niche?
- Is the CPA available all year?
- Will you work with the person you’re talking to or someone else? Large firms often have you meet with someone you may not work with once you’re a client.
- What fee structure does the CPA have?
- Can the CPA help if you’re audited?
Of course, you should write down any questions you have before your meeting to learn about the CPA and if they can help meet your needs.
Tip: Ask for Recommendations
Recommendations can help you narrow down your choices and find a CPA that is the perfect fit for your business. For example, you can refer to any of the following for recommendations:
- CPAs that you talk to but don’t offer the services you need
- Other business owners that you know and trust
- Search through state CPA databases
These recommendations and databases can help you find qualified CPAs in your state.
So, you now understand the steps to finding an accountant, but how what if you’re not sure if you can benefit from a traditional or virtual accountant? Let’s find out.
Traditional vs. Virtual Accountants
During your search, you may find traditional and virtual accountants. A virtual accountant isn’t an internal, in-house employee, so the cost is often significantly cheaper. While these professionals offer a robust set of services and are more affordable, you have to decide if it’s okay for you and your business to not have an accountant in-house.
With a virtual accountant, you’ll likely communicate over Zoom, through email or on the phone rather than in person. That being said, some virtual accountants will still offer in-person meetings from time to time, so it’s important to inquire about that as well.
Wait. Do I Really Need a CPA?
As a business owner, you’ll wear many “hats.” In fact, the average founder works twice as much as a traditional employee. One role that you shouldn’t take on indefinitely is that of an accountant or CPA.
Your CPA is a professional, working on financials day and night in the field, and can help you in ways that basic accounting software cannot.
A CPA can help you with:
- Audits, which happen in business. And when they do, it costs a lot of money to rectify. Average audit fees have risen to over $2.4 million, and a CPA can help you avoid an audit.
- Bookkeeping and accounting is a major learning curve for a new business owner. Let the CPA handle invoices, bills, accounts receivable, and all of the tedious, time-consuming tasks you’re taking on.
- Forensics to ensure that no fraud or embezzlement is taking place that can cash starve a business and cause bankruptcy.
- Management, which is crucial for every small business. CPAs can help you manage risks, verify budgets and prepare financial statements for you.
- Payroll management to ensure employees are paid and withholdings are accurate.
- Tax advice and planning, both now and in the future.
CPAs do a lot more than just file taxes and maintain your books. If you want to manage your business risks, accurately plan for the future, and reduce the risk of fraud, these professionals can help.
Now that you know how do you find a CPA for your small business, it’s time to go through the recommendations above and locate an accountant that can help your company, regardless if you’re in the initial stages of operations or have a well oiled running machine.
If you’re spending too much time working on non-core tasks, you won’t have time to grow your business.
When you can afford to delegate tasks, do yourself a favor and start with accounting first. CPAs can help you save money, maintain cash flow and avoid hiccups that many businesses face when starting their companies.
Are you looking for a CPA for your small business? We work with small businesses all over the United States. Schedule a call with us today to see if we’re a good fit! If we aren’t, we likely know someone who is.