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Three Things to Ask Before Hiring An Accountant

I’ll be honest with you - there are a lot of accountants out here. Some good, some great, some not worth wasting your time with. We shout often about how important it is to hire an accountant, but just picking a name out of the phone book isn’t the best way to decide who to invest with. You may be wondering then, how do I know who to choose? As with most services, there are a variety of things to keep in mind, but I’d like to start with three questions to ask before you make a decision:

  1. What do I need? The reality is, a lot of people aren’t yet sure the exact service they need, but you do know some things. What are your biggest pain points? Are you looking for a full-service firm, or just want to outsource a piece of the functionality? This could be the difference between a service like Virtual CFO or individual area partnerships like the Quarterly Retainer or Tax Prep Suite. It can also help determine what other workers on your team will help support the process, as in a CPA v. a bookkeeper or other finance professional.

  2. How often do I need service? Do you want consistent access throughout the year? Or the opportunity to make a call when you have questions? The answers to these questions help determine the best value for your business needs. As related to question #1, it helps to determine whether the service offerings being provided by an accountant is the best fit for your frequency requirements. For example, while a new business may just want ad hoc support as needed, a more established company may prefer ongoing support for more complex transactions and questions.

  3. Why do I need it? It is imperative that the value provided by your provider of choice be articulated in a way that resolves your pain points. What are you receiving as part of the service? How does that service help you meet your goals. Overall, accounting and finance support is important because the information provided helps you make strategic decisions about the rest of your business. It’s more than just the numbers. Whoever you choose to support you in this area should be able to not only help you with the money itself, but also providing you with the understanding of what the numbers mean and how they’re important.

Being very clear on what you need will take you a long way in determining whether or not you need an accountant and the type of partnership that would work best for your business. Hiring an accountant is an investment so take your time and be clear about what your needs are before engaging with potential partners.


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