Which is right for me?
An accountant can analyze the big picture of your financial situation and offer strategic advice. He or she produces key financial documents, such as a profit-and-loss statement and files a company’s taxes.
A bookkeeper, in contrast, does the day-to-day hands-on tasks: making sure new employees file the right paperwork for the company’s payroll, submitting invoices and following up on them, and paying the bills. The bookkeeper also tracks company expenses and can assure that every cost has been entered, and recorded correctly, so that the business is ready for tax time along with filing any other reporting to creditors or investors.
Consider these guidelines when conducting your search:
Find an accountant that specializes in the business structure you chose for your business.
Ask for references from clients in your industry and in your size range.
Check qualifications by finding out education background and whether they are a member of professional organization such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, tax advice, management consulting, and even estate planning are all services that different individuals or firms may offer. Be sure you understand what each accountant and bookkeeper can do for you before making a decision.
Ask about fees upfront and get a range of quotes from different accountants. Also try to get an estimate of the total annual charges based on the services you have discussed. Most accounting firms charge by the hour while others work on a monthly retainer.
Your business will run a lot smoother if you work well with whomever you are hiring.