5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Accountant


When it comes to owning and operating your own business, there are a plethora of items on your agenda that require your undivided attention. Examining financial records and keeping them organized is a time consuming task that cannot be put aside to deal with later.  Hiring an accountant can reduce your financial workload, allowing you more time to focus on running and growing your business.

But how can you tell if you need an accountant? And how do you tell if you have found the RIGHT accountant?  Or maybe you are wondering if your current accountant is the best fit for your business?

Whether you are just starting out, or have been in business for years, you can benefit from having a professional review and process your accounts.  People come to you because you are an expert in your field. Doesn’t it make sense to trust the intricate accounting aspects of your business to an expert? Below are 5 questions to consider before hiring an accountant:

1.    What types of industries and sizes of companies does the accountant serve? Make sure the accountant demonstrates clear knowledge and understanding of your field of business. All accountants are not created equal. If you are a mortgage company and your accountant has only worked with landscaping companies, they may not have the knowledge to correctly and efficiently manage your finances.

2.    What can an accountant do to help my business? Make a list beforehand of the tasks you would like potential accountants to assist with. Not all accountants do all things. Possible options include: examining and organizing financial records as well as making sure they comply to federal and state regulations, strategizing for the future, suggesting areas to make adjustments to reduce costs and maximize profit, and preparing tax returns.

3.    What services does an accountant provide? Besides managing financial records and preparing tax documents, accountants also provide specialty services that businesses may not realize. These include business acquisition & divestiture services, which can help you consider profitable conquests like business purchases, mergers or sales; fraud and forensic accounting services, to prevent future illegal activity; and information system services to assist in the implementation and ongoing support of business and financial software and other methods of data collection within your company.

4.    What certifications may your accountant have? Depending on your business’ financial needs, different certifications may be important. Potential accounting certifications are: certified public accountant (CPA), certified fraud examiner (CFE), certified internal auditor (CIA), certified government financial manager (CGFM), and enrolled agent (EA).

5.    What are the fees for hiring and maintaining an accountant? The costs and fees for using an accountant for your business vary depending on the matters in which they are hired for. Be sure to know your budget and ask specific questions about their fees to be sure you know what you are expected to pay.

At Great Lakes Accounting, we know how important it is to keep financial records safe and secure. We can confidently answer the above questions and any other accounting questions regarding your business that you may have. Call today to schedule an appointment!