Spend the necessary time to find an accountant or bookkeeper who is right for your business. Consider factors such as price, capacity, personality, industry expertise and location.
Your accountant or bookkeeper is probably one of the most valuable resources you lean on when setting up and running your business. While it may be tempting to manage your own accounts, it’s best to apply your energy to building your sales and your business.
As with any service provider, it is essential that you find the right kind of financial management resource for your business. Starting out, it would pay you to make use of an individual or a company that provides bookkeeping and accounting services to small businesses, rather than employing one in-house. The direct cost is much lower and you may not initially need such intensive attention.
Also, it is important to know the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant. The former would usually not have the same level of qualification and certification, and would generally make sure that your financial records comply with the various business and tax laws.
An accountant usually provides a higher level of service, will have higher qualifications and greater authority to assess your business administration and compliance, and be able to provide more in-depth advice on complex financial decisions.
The nature of service providers of any description is that no two are the same. This applies to the financial management of your business; some accountants specialize in specific sectors or industries in which they have built up worthwhile experience, and some specialize in businesses of specific sizes.
When starting on your journey of finding one of these professionals, it always pays to tap into your network to seek referrals. A personal referral is always a good idea because you are likely to get an honest assessment of the service provider’s level of service and expertise. Also, don’t limit yourself to meeting with only one bookkeeper or accountant. It may take a little longer to find one you believe will add value to your business, but in the long run, it will save you the hassle of changing providers if you are not happy.
There are also professional bodies and associations you can turn to for referrals or to check credentials.
The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers is a good place to start, as are the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the SA Institute of Professional Accountants and the Association of Accounting Technicians.