How to Hire Your First Accountant
The accountant is one the most critical roles you will hire for in your business. In fact, ideally, you’d want to have a CPA when first launching, to be sure you have properly set up your finances. However, no matter where you are in your business, it’s always a good time to bring on a CPA.
Although every business needs the help of a CPA, the scope of work needed will vary greatly. In this guide, I’ll show you how to how to expertly and cost effectively bring on your first accountant.
Determine the Need
CPA’s can perform a wide range of financial duties, but as industry experts, they command a pretty high fee. It’s best to create a list of the duties you’d want your CPA to be responsible for. Then determine the responsibilities you can either handle in house or outsource to a less expensive position. For instance, you may want to hire a bookkeeper to collect and input financial records to save money. This will allow you reserve the responsibilities of setting up the accounting system, conducting financial reporting, conducting audits, and providing financial advice and assist with financial planning for the CPA role.
Choose a Hiring Method
Once you know exactly the role and volume of work, you will need to determine how to hire a CPA. The goal here is to get proper support, while staying in budget. The three most common ways to hire a CPA are:
- Traditional Employee – Hiring a traditional employee is recommended if you have a high volume need. Remember, if you are paying them an annual salary, you want to make sure you have enough work to give them or you’ll be overpaying.
- Accounting Firm – Accounting firms are rather expensive, however you don’t incur the costs and tax responsibilities of hiring in house. If your volume needs are very low, you may end up spending less money than you would hiring a traditional employee, in the long run. Firms are a great idea if you have a solid handle on financial responsibilities and inside staff to handle the day to day with few to no questions. If your staff needs additional support, you will be billed by the hour at a very high rate.
- Staffing Agencies – Staffing agencies are a great idea for a growing business. If you don’t yet have the volume to necessitate a full-time, traditional employee, but need extra support as you learn to navigate the new accounting system, a staffing agency is a good choice. You avoid the expenses associated with traditional employees and can get more support at a reasonable rate. An added bonus here is, when you are ready to hire full-time, you may already have a candidate well trained in your business.
3. Work Out Job Details
Before moving forward with the hiring process, make sure you have all the details ironed out. You want to have a compensation budget, a job description, and a hiring timeline ready to go. Be sure your job description specifies any certifications and degrees required.
Know What You Are Looking For
Aside from the certifications and software capabilities a CPA must have, create a list of other traits you are looking for. This will help you to form your interview questions and make sure you select a candidate that’s a good fit. Here are some questions you may want to include:
- Would you be comfortable training staff on supporting roles, such as data input and record keeping?
- Do you have accounting experience in our industry and business model?
- Are you comfortable giving tax advice and attending financial strategy meetings?
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