Should I hire an accountant?
One aspect of running a small business that few people give a lot of thought to is the way they deal with professional vendors such as bankers, lawyers, accountants and so on. Most entrepreneurs just dive right into their businesses without giving a second thought to how these professionals should be treated, what they can do for you and what they in turn look for in clients. With a little thought and effort, you can ensure that you get the most from these relationships.
The main thing to remember is that you need a personal relationship with each of these people. They have the ability-sometimes direct, sometimes indirect-to drastically influence the success of your business. Your goal should be to develop a long-term, personal relationship with each of them. If you do that, when you hit a bump in the road, they’ll be there to help you get over it.
As you become more experienced, you’ll find that your accountant and attorney will overlap a bit in their services and expertise. I’ve found that mine often work together to achieve what I’m trying to do. That being said, here are a few examples of services your accountant should provide:
It’s also important to ask your accountant’s advice before you take action. It’s almost always easier (and cheaper) to structure things properly upfront, as opposed to trying to fix something later.
I’ve noted in previous columns concerning your banker and attorney how important it is to develop close relationships with them, make sure they completely understand your business and your goals for it, and trust them to help you attain those goals. This advice applies to your accountant as well-if you take that advice, he or she will be a valuable long-term partner.