Whether you are starting out a new business or have been in business for many years, you may decide it is time to hire an outside accountant. You may wish to offload mundane tasks or to focus your energy on growing your business or you would rather spend more time with your family. The reasons are many and varied. However, as with working with any trusted advisor, being able to effectively communicate with your new accountant is most important.
So now that you have made the decision to hire an outside accountant, how do you pick the right outside Madison, WI accountant? There are a number of factors that go into the decision as there are accounting firms of all sizes from a sole practitioner to multinational CPA firms, each serving different sizes of business and perhaps a specific business clientele. So what factors should go into your choice of the right accountant for your business?
- Size of firm – This depends on the size or ambitions of your company. If you are a small company and the firm you choose is too large, you may be overlooked because you are a small client. However, if you are a larger company, a smaller firm may not have the skills or personnel to meet your requirements.
- Services offered – Does the firm offer all of the services that you are looking for? Larger firms tend to offer a wider variety of services such as data entry/bookkeeping, payroll processing and compliance, sales tax reporting, financial statement preparation/compilation, financial statement audit/review, governmental compliance auditing and tax preparation just to name a few. ou will need to look at your current situation and where you expect to be long-term to determine whether the services offered will meet your needs now and in the future. Take note that larger firms generally offer more variety in services and tend to be more expensive than smaller firms who specialize in a smaller number of accounting options.
- Credentials – Do the principal members of the firm or local office have a certification such as a CPA, CMA or EA? Does the accountant have any complaints registered with the state board of accountancy? How is the firm rated by the Better Business Bureau? These are facts that can be referenced online.
- Specialized needs – If your company is in a specialized, or maybe highly regulated industry, you should find a firm that is a specialist in that field. If you have international operations, the accountant you select should have experience in that area.
- Reputation in the area – Contact business and social colleagues and ask if they have any recommendations regarding local Madison, WI accountants. If a colleague is a customer or knows of someone who is a customer of one of the accounting firms under consideration, ask if you can speak to that client to see if you can gain any insight.
Once you have selected at least two local accounting firms that might be a good fit for your business, you need to take the time to interview each firm that you are considering. Make sure you are speaking to a decision maker in the firm and the person who would be your main contact if you were to become a client. Ask questions and make notes so that you can compare the firms side by side. Remember when you are visiting the firm to put your best foot forward because they will be interviewing you simultaneously and even though you may wish them to be your accountant, they do not have to accept the engagement if they do not think it’s a good fit.
Ultimately, selecting an accountant for your business is a personal choice and it is most important that you are able to communicate effectively with your primary contact at the accounting firm. In addition, the firm must be able to provide services you require in an accurate and timely manner at a cost that you deem reasonable.
We would love to help you with any of your tax and accounting needs! Contact us today.