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6 Questions to Ask a Small Business Accountant

By October 26, 2022Business Advice
Small business owners asking small business accountant questions about services

When you are starting a small business, it’s important to have a professional small business accountant in place to handle your finances. This can help you ensure you have a handle on your finances and avoid many of the mistakes that small businesses often face.

If your small business is based in or near Cincinnati, consider partnering with Orcutt & Co. We offer several service plans to meet your needs. Our plans are designed with you in mind. We can handle your day-to-day accounting and bookkeeping tasks, as well as payroll. We can also help you with your business and personal tax prep.

Before you hire a small business accountant to handle your finances, there are several things you are going to want to know.

Top 6 Questions to Ask

Ideally, you will be working with your small business accountant for a long time, to it’s important that you do not make this decision lightly. Below are the top 6 questions you’ll want to ask when hiring one.

What services does their firm provide?

There are many services that fall under the umbrella of business accounting, including day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting tasks, payroll, financial planning, tax prep, and more. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the small business accounting you hire can handle all of your needs so that you can avoid hiring someone else to handle a small portion. You may also want to verify that they will represent you in case you are audited by the IRS.

What is their experience with similar clients?

Many small business accountants specialize in certain business sizes or industries, so make sure to ask them about their experience with clients like you. It is important to note that they can bluff about their experience, so you will want to validate their claims by speaking with other clients. Don’t allow them to blow off your request by claiming they can’t release that information due to confidentiality reasons.

Are they aggressive or conservative when it comes to risks?

You must make sure that your small business accountant’s tax planning philosophies align with your needs. This will be critical around tax time when claiming deductions. It is true that tax codes and accounting principles are robust- but there are some areas that are open for interpretation. Find an accountant that matches your appetite for risk to ensure you do not have a strained relationship.

How do they charge for services?

Fee structures vary from one accounting firm to the next. Some charge hourly rates, while others charge a flat monthly rate. This is important because some months may require more work than others. You don’t want to end up getting a surprise bill. Take your time and shop around to get a better idea of a model and price point that matches with your business needs and always make sure to find out about any hidden fees.

How often will you meet?

Your small business accountant is your partner and trusted advisor for your business, so it is critical to check in frequently. Many times, business owners find themselves in trouble because they leave all of their financials to their accountant and aren’t aware of what is going on.

You should be able to meet with your small business accountant at any time to ensure that they are taking care of your needs. A good accountant won’t wait until there is an issue to meet with you. They will prevent problems by meeting with you throughout the year to ensure that your goals are being met. Ideally, you should meet with them once a month. If your accountant says, “Don’t worry, I’ll handle everything”, consider finding someone else.

Can I call with any questions?

This question will quickly reveal any red flags. After all, you don’t want to work with a small business accountant that is unresponsive or whose schedule doesn’t align with yours. An accountant is providing a service that you are paying for and, if they are good, will return calls, emails, or texts quickly.

In addition to determining their availability, you’ll want to find out who your point of contact will be. Most of the time, in a larger firm, the senior members focus on sales while the junior members do the work.

Hiring Your Small Business Accountant

Choosing a small business accountant is critical for your business. In fact, it’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Taking the time to get to know them before you hire them will ensure that you choose the right one.

If you have a small business in or near Cincinnati, consider working with Orcutt & Co.,a small, family-owned business accounting firm. We offer several service plans to meet your needs. We can handle your daily accounting and bookkeeping tasks, as well as payroll and tax prep. Our team is available when you need us and are always open and honest about our fees.