Selecting an accountant, bookkeeper, CPA or financial advisor
Whether you are looking for assistance for a business, or for yourself, you will want the best adviser you can find to assist you with financial matters. This person, or firm, will become trusted counsel over the years to come and you’ll want to find someone you can work with well that will take care of your best interests.
Few things are as worrisome as money matters. Hiring the right professionals for your work will save you time, money and headaches in the future. Knowing the status of your finances will help inform you when planning for the future, and accuracy and integrity are key to making this information a valuable tool that you can use to reach your goals. Here are some tips to finding the right professionals for your job:
A good accountant, CPA, bookkeeper or financial advisor will have built a long list of satisfied clients over their years in business. When dealing with money, financial records and taxes, integrity is of paramount importance. You can ask your friends and business acquaintances which firm they use for their work. Start to build a short list from referrals, online ratings and recommendations. Then thoroughly vet the candidates starting with their websites to find out where their core competencies lie. Make sure they specialize in the type of work you want done. Trusted advisors are assets and you’ll want to invest a bit of time choosing those assets.
Narrow your list down to a few candidates that match your needs and goals, then make an appointment. You are the customer and they should want to spend some time with you, too, to ensure that you are a good match for them.
Communication and Counsel
Regardless of who is actually doing the financial record-keeping or managing your finances, you need to know what is going on. This person needs to be able to explain what they have done in plain-speak so you can use this information to operate your business, make adjustments and plan ahead. They usually have insight gleaned from other clients that may help you guide your decision making. Take advantage of their knowledge as few others know your financial situation as intimately as they do.
Business and Financial Consulting
A bookkeeper will maintain your records either by hand or using a software program. This will consist of recording checks, perhaps issuing payments…basically keeping track of income, expenses, assets and liabilities. Usually a bookkeeper will not have the experience or knowledge to be able to consult on best practices or business planning. There are always exceptions, however.
Acountants, CPAs and financial advisors have a higher degree of experience and education and are more likely to be able to consult with you on planning your personal or business finances. They can have a wealth of experience with companies of your size, or maybe your industry, that will keep you informed of best practices. They are usually more well informed as to issues and topics that are relevant to your industry and can give you advice on ways to structure salaries, tax strategies and revenues that will be of benefit to you in the future.
If you can’t reach your bookkeeper, accountant or adviser when you need him or her, it can become frustrating when you need an answer to move on to the next task. When interviewing prospective financial help, make sure that they are ready, willing and able to get back with you in a reasonable length of time.
When Things Go Wrong….
When you talk about finances, there are lots of things that can go wrong. If you have an issue with your bank, or the IRS, you want to be able to count on the expertise and rational approach of your trusted advisors. Having a team that has dealt with these kinds of issues in the past will serve you well going forward.