It can be intimidating to find the right accountant for your small business, especially if you’ve never worked with one before, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! Partnering with an accountant can bring you peace of mind, save money, and help you achieve your goals.
Where to Find the Right Small Business Accountant
Have you ever asked your small business owner friends who their accountant is? It’s not a popular topic of conversation, but odds are they have one, and if they’re good hopefully they’ll refer you!
Don’t have any small business friends? Attend an industry networking event and use your accountant question as an icebreaker. You might get both a great referral and an industry friend at the same time.
Google, Bing, and Yelp are great places to look for accountants, but be specific. Try something like ‘small business accounting for restaurants’, ‘payroll and HR solutions for small business’, or ‘small business tax planning and preparation near me’ to find the right accountant that can help with the specific issues you’re dealing with.
Each state has their own accounting association with various resources and referrals. In Minnesota, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants is the statewide professional association for CPAs, and they provide a tool to help you locate a CPA in your area. Check out the MNCPA’s Find-A-CPA page and see for yourself!
How to Choose the Right Accountant
Meet them in person
Finding the right accountant is a commitment that can turn into a lifelong professional relationship. You will be trusting this person with private personal and financial information. Make sure to meet them in person or virtually and get to know them. Are they available? Do they listen? Does this seem like someone you can trust?
Think of this like a first date – you’re interested, but don’t really know anything. Ask questions, such as:
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you available year-round?
- Can you represent me with the IRS?
- How do you stay on top of tax law changes?
- Do you work with businesses like mine?
- What certifications do you have?
- What software do you support?
- Who will I be working with?
- How much do you charge?
If they don’t have reviews or references available, ask for them! A great accountant will have no trouble connecting you with a few of their happy clients. Beware of an accountant who won’t.
When to Find an Accountant
Start of the year
Starting fresh at the beginning of the year is a great strategy. If transitioning from an existing relationship, the cutoff is clean. If this is your first time working with a small business accountant you’ll have a full year to get used to financial statements, quarterly estimates, and tax planning before tax season rolls around.
You need help, and you can’t wait any longer. When looking for an accountant during tax season, be aware that they’re already very busy with their existing clients. They may take you on, but be prepared to wait longer, and know that you will receive the same level of commitment to your needs that they are providing to their current clientele.
You may not be thinking about taxes during the summer, but this is a great time to start a relationship with a small business accountant. Tax season is over, and there’s still plenty of time for tax planning and adjustments before year-end.
Gearing up for growth
Your small business is a success, and you’re ready to grow. Before going down the route of adding locations, acquiring competitors, and increasing staff, consult with a small business accountant. Your needs as a multi-location or multi-million dollar company are different and an accountant can help, whether it’s location-specific and consolidated financials, a growing payroll operation with HR and 401k experts on board, or new tax strategies to utilize.
Working with Haworth & Company, Ltd.
We love working with small businesses – it’s what we do! We pride ourselves on being able to help local small businesses of all shapes and sizes, and have decades-long clients to show for it. With four locations in the Twin Cities and one in Rochester, we hope we’re conveniently located to make your life easier. Give us a call or contact us today and see if starting a relationship with our small business accounting, tax, payroll, and consulting firm is right for you.