Every enterprise, no matter how small, needs to have a strong accountant – or team of accountants – to manage its finances. If you're a confident entrepreneur, you might think you have the savvy to handle money matters yourself, but given the immense challenges that come with business banking, overconfidence can be your undoing. Bookkeeping is a hassle, and tax season can prove immensely difficult, so having a finance team on your side is always a good idea.
A new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) says that having a finance team is critical for attracting investment and encouraging growth in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Rosana Mirkovic, ACCA's head of SME policy, explained that those businesses who hire accounting help are much better off financially than those who neglect to do so.
"There is considerable evidence which shows growth is much stronger amongst SMEs with a comprehensive finance function backing them up," Mirkovic said. "The role of the accountant in an SME setting goes well beyond the basics of bookkeeping. Their role is vital at different stages of an SME's development."
With that in mind, the next question is what makes a good accountant. Every SME owner should be looking for the best financial help money can buy – so what exactly are they seeking? Here are a few things to look for.
A good communicator
You want an accountant who knows finance backward and forward, but at the same time, you don't want someone who will talk at you in highfalutin jargon you won't understand. Find someone who understands you and speaks to you at the right level – not too advanced, but not condescending either.
Someone who will answer your questions
Especially around tax season, you're bound to have a million questions for your accountant. You want someone who will answer your questions promptly and thoughtfully, according to Forbes. If an accountant is too busy to answer your calls or not well informed enough to understand what you're asking, then you may want to look in another direction.
An expert on the tax code
This is a big one. Tax rules, according to the Jacksonville Business Journal, are complex and inconsistent, and often the results of your filings may vary based on how your business is organized. You need a professional not only to understand the tax code now, but to stay abreast of how it changes from year to year as well.
Accounting is crucial for any small business. Don't be so overconfident as to believe you can do it yourself – asking for help now will pay dividends down the road.