When should you hire an accountant?

When to hire an accountant

Research we did in the small business community showed that many small businesses are unsure about when to hire an accountant and about the value they can bring. Xero’s latest Small Business Guide ‘When to hire an accountant’ provides all the top tips you need to know.

If you’re a small business owner, the chances are pretty high that you didn’t start your own business to be swamped in the financials. This is where it makes sense to get a professional to take care of the numbers so you can focus on what you do best – running the business.

Growing small businesses need well-managed finances

Small business owners are always looking to save money, so an accountant can often be considered an unnecessary expense. But certain tasks (such as filing taxes) can be very time consuming for someone without experience  – and even then the tax return can be riddled with errors. The best accountants and bookkeepers will be looking for ways that your business can make money. They are coaches, always encouraging and training you for better results.

Add value to your business

With the help of a seasoned professional, small businesses can create more opportunities for themselves. Some of these include:

  • increasing revenue
  • reducing expenses
  • planning cashflow
  • growing the business
  • business planning
  • identifying new market opportunities.

If your small business uses a financial advisor they are also less likely to have compliance issues or errors in their data – which may cause major problems down the track. With the use of cloud software, an accountant doesn’t need be a full-time employee as there is so much flexibility to work remotely using the same data.

Make running your company easier

From helping with the legal structure of your company, applying for a business loan or overdraft, or helping with the finances, an accountant is there to make running a business easier. A common problem is engaging an accountant too late, when a business has a problem. Accountants can identify the root cause of business problems and help business owners correct the cause. It’s always best to have your financial advisor on board as part of the team before you need them, rather than afterwards.

Xero’s latest small business guide ‘When you should hire an accountant’ highlights the stages where a professional will add the most value.

Feel free to share the Small Business Guide

If you think this guide might be useful for others in the small business community, then please share it far and wide on your website, or link to it on your newsletter or blog.

We’d love to hear what you have to say about this guide or any of the others in this section. So if there’s a topic on small business you’d like us to write about, drop us a line in the comments below.

 

11 Comments

Jodie at PJT Accountants
July 31, 2014 at 3:25 pm

I agree. While business owners may find programs/apps/software like Xero easy to use, they would still need accountants to be able to properly lodge their reports. The amount of time figuring out how to do financial reports when you could have used that time running your business is crucial. On our part, we, as accountants, don’t just see ourselves crunching numbers, but partners and business advisers helping businesses make sound judgement based on their financial data.

Mike Block CPA
July 31, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Publications like this are EXACTLY why professional accountants and bookkeepers should try to use Xero whenever we can. Contrast this with QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax ads telling users they do not need an accountant. Die Intuit! Die!

Sandra Moorhead
July 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Great article. Cognitive computing and software such as Xero means the traditional tasks of data entry etc are declining, but there is a massive opportunity for the industry to adapt and add even more value than they ever have done before, in their unique role as business advisers.

Teresa Tidball
August 1, 2014 at 12:27 am

Accountants can assist with every step of the way and help prevent business owners from making costly mistakes. When starting a business, there are two professions you should find first — lawyer and accountant!

Wendy Sullivan
August 1, 2014 at 1:20 am

Grant, your advice should not stop at when but should speak to “how”, especially for a company like Xero who’s suffered bad publicity of Xero affiliated accountants holding clients and their data as hostage over outstanding invoices with the accountant.

Is it not wise and prudent for Xero to advise all businesses to have the account opened by them the small business and in the name of the small business and NOT the accountant? If you’re going to be open, fair, and transparent with readers, you need to speak to this component of hiring an accountant.

In my opinion a business should never empower an accountant to have province of authority over their company data and or account in any way.

Grant Anderson
August 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Thanks for your comment Wendy. We do actually have a guide on the topic of ‘How to choose the right accountant’.
http://www.xero.com/small-business-guides/accounting/how-to-choose-accountant/

And you’re right, we absolutely agree that a business shouldn’t give complete control to the accountant. The small business should always be empowered to have authority over their company data.

Gayle Buchanan
August 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

Thanks for that Grant, unfortunately @Wendy, huge numbers of SME owners don’t find out (or are concerned) about their data until it’s too late.
This isn’t ‘new’ or unique to Xero (if you owe your accountant money – pay them) bit like when my mum worked in the records department of a hospital – Yes those are your records – however we own the paper.
What I’ve found with the SME owners (wives/partners) I’ve trained has been: the louder they complain, the lower the turnover and number of years in operation.

Thankfully with bookkeeping training and software (Xero) start ups have a been chance of surviving those first wobbly years.

Samuel Finlay
August 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Thanks for share, i really appreciate your work

Aidan Malone
August 8, 2014 at 5:32 am

Hi Grant, it’s a really interesting topic, I think in the UK with the level of complexity of the Uk tax system it helps to have a good accountant on board from the start to help your business and it also helps to have someone who can be a good sounding board for ideas/issues that your business face who can see things differently from you.

Andrew Wall
August 13, 2014 at 5:08 am

Great Post!
It still confounds me that clients look at accountants as a commodity. Looking for the cheapest accountant or trying to go it alone can costa small business owner significantly. Accountants and lawyers are both professionals where you are paying based on their value and level of expertise. so why is its that if someone was on death row they would not search for the cheapest lawyer or try to go it alone yet when it comes to their taxes they look for the cheapest solution.

Blair Illiano
August 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Accountants assist at every step in the conduct of business. Their importance in the business can never be undermined.

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