There are many types of accounting-related services offered by companies, including tax preparation, audit services, bookkeeping, system design, accounting, managerial accounting, financial reporting, controller services, and more.
So how do you choose what services you need or what company to hire? Here are three things to consider when making these important decisions:
- Your Needs or Objectives
There are some important questions you should ask yourself before turning to a search engine. Why are you looking to hire someone? How often do you require their services? Do you need someone who is local and will work in your office, or are you willing to work with a national or international accounting services company? Weigh the pros and cons of each to determine how best to proceed and what will most benefit your small business.
According to the 2017 Small Business Taxation Survey by the National Small Business Association, 61% of small business owners use the services of an external tax practitioner/accountant. The same survey reports that “one-in-three small businesses report spending more than 80 hours . . . each year on federal taxes.”
If your accounting requirements are limited in that you only need someone a few days a month, it may be best to hire someone on a part time basis. If you need someone on a daily or weekly basis to handle payroll and other more frequent tasks, it may be most beneficial to either hire a full time employee or to outsource those services to a professional accounting services team.
- Service Costs or Other Budgetary Considerations
You will need to figure out how much you are willing to spend on accounting services for an in-house employee vs. outsourced services. When hiring a full-time employee in your office, don’t forget that your costs will include his or her annual salary, taxes, health or life insurance, and other employee benefits like paid time off and employer retirement contributions.
Depending on how you’re handling your accounting currently, pricing guides for outsourced accounting services may initially seem high. But be sure to keep in mind the cost you otherwise would pay by hiring a full-time employee or multiple employees to perform those same functions.
You may be surprised to see how much money you could save by outsourcing those services to an external team of professionals in lieu of hiring an in-house team.
- Whether the Accounting Service is a Good Fit for Your Small Business
When choosing a firm to outsource your accounting services to, it is important to make sure you are comfortable with their company, culture and the individuals who will work on your account. After all, you don’t want to turn over your books to just anyone.
When choosing an accounting services solution, there are several considerations you may want to keep in mind: the company’s philosophical principles, location, and their level of dedicated service.
When researching companies, be sure to familiarize yourself with their core values and other guiding principles. Figure out whether a company is a good fit and if your own company’s values align with their business practices.
It is important to decide whether you want to hire a local, national or international firm to handle your accounting needs. For example, you may not want to hire an internationally-based firm to help you with adhering to U.S. federal tax laws or state regulations as they may not be as familiar with the intricacies of the U.S. tax code or requirements of your specific state.
Another concern is knowing with whom you will be working when hiring outsourced services. Will you have dedicated team members or will you be rotated between individuals who will not be familiar with the specific needs of your company?
Find a firm that will meet your accounting service needs and the level of personalized service you expect. After all, it is important for them to get to know your company and goals so you aren’t just a number on a spreadsheet.
While there are many other considerations to keep in mind when deciding to hire a new employee or outsource some of your accounting services, these guidelines will help get you on the right path. Regardless of which path you choose to take, just be sure to take the necessary time to research all of your options before making a decision.