Maybe you’ve just started your business, and you’re wondering if you need to hire an accountant. Or perhaps you’re still in the planning stages of a new venture, and you’re deciding whether or not you need someone dedicated specifically to your business’ accounting, before going all in.
If you ask an accountant whether or not you should work with someone to help you with your books professionally, you know the answer will be yes.
But you can trust that they’re not saying “yes” for their own benefit. Most successful business owners who work closely with an accountant will tell you an accountant is an absolute must. In fact, results from a study conducted by Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, TurboTax, and other financial software packages, show that 89% of small businesses say they see more success with an accountant or an advisor.
Still, it’s reasonable to wonder if every single small business really needs an accountant. Isn’t hiring an accountant overkill if your business is very small? Can you just “wing it” until you get to a certain revenue level?
The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” And also, “No!” We’ll explain… because that doesn’t make any sense. But it will.
Most accountants will tell you they could have saved their small business clients a lot of time, money, and headaches. That is if those clients hadn’t waited so long to ask for help. Bottom line is that there are several key times in the course of your business when you don’t want to wing it without an accountant.
The formation of your business is one of those key times. An accountant can:
That said, you don’t want to try to set up your own business accounting software, no matter how easy that software seems to be. An accountant can help you set up your chart of accounts correctly and might even train you on how to use your software, especially if they’re a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. And if your accountant doesn’t offer this service, they probably know a bookkeeper who does.
Even if your business plan is written, you have all the required permits and licenses, and your bookkeeping software is new and shiny and ready to go… you’re not quite ready to go forward without an accountant.
There are still dozens of compliance stumbling blocks to overcome. Don’t try to wing it without an accountant if you have:
Now you can DIY your accounting, right?
Well, sure. But do you really want to? Remember that statistic that 89% of small businesses credit higher success to working with an accountant? 89% is a big number. So, although you can run your small business without hiring an accountant, you should really consider all of the other benefits you’d gain by joining the vast majority of business owners who partner with a finance professional—and reap the rewards.
Most accountants want to speak with their clients well before the end of the year. Remember, tax time is too late to start planning for your small business taxes.
But tax planning isn’t the only reason accountants want to meet with their clients before the end of the year. There are certain compliance issues—such as payroll tax underpayments—that are much easier fixed before the final reports for the year are filed.
If your business is growing—and we certainly hope it is!—meeting with an accountant quarterly can help in a number of ways. Quarterly meetings with an accountant can help you make sure:
Sure, we’ve just spent the last however-many words telling you that there’s basically no situation in which you won’t want to have a year-round relationship with a certified personal accountant. And we stand by that! Almost always, at least.
There are a few exceptions to the rule when you probably can manage things on your own… You might not need an accountant if:
Every small business benefits from working with an accountant, but it’s not always absolutely necessary. Even if you decide to wing it without an accountant, seeking occasional advice is still a good idea. It might cost you a few hundred dollars, but that’s a small investment in light of the impact an accountant can have on your small business.
And if you want to be among the 89% of business owners who see a bump from working with a financial pro, then start your search for an accountant now.
Billie Anne Grigg is a contributing writer for Fundera.
Billie Anne has been a bookkeeper since before the turn of the century. She is a QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, LivePlan Expert Advisor, FreshBooks Certified Beancounter, and a Mastery Level Certified Profit First Professional. She is also a guide for the Profit First Professionals organization.
Billie Anne started Pocket Protector Bookkeeping in 2012 to provide an excellent virtual bookkeeping and managerial accounting solution for small businesses that cannot yet justify employing a full-time, in-house bookkeeping staff.