Do You Need to Hire a Great Accountant for Your Business to be Successful? – Wedo AI | Your All In One Business Tool

 

Do you need to BE an accountant to be successful?

No, but:

An old saying that we don’t hear much these days is that “Accounting is the language of business”, indicating that you need to “speak” accounting in order to be a successful business person. But as with any language, you can be totally fluent, know enough for basic communication, or just get by with a few phrases. Unless you are going to pursue a career in accounting, it’s best to know a few basics and leave the rest up to the experts, but at least be able to understand and interpret financial statements. 

 

Do you need to HIRE an accountant to be successful?

Yes:

So, let’s assume you’ve started your business, you’ve had some initial success, you’ve got money in the bank, bills coming in and maybe you need to start hiring people because your product is getting good attention. The last thing you are probably thinking of is hiring an accountant when you would rather hire someone to help with product development or delivering services; or help promote sales.

The reason you should pay attention to accounting at this stage is that accounting represents good record-keeping and establishes a history of your business over time. At some point in the future, should you need to apply for a bank loan, raise capital to support growth, or enter into a partnership with someone else, one of the first things that a bank, investor, or potential partner is going to ask for is your accounting records.

The more you let this process slip behind, the longer it will take to catch up and bring your books into a current and accurate state. 

 

What you need to start out:

Now that we have established the need for an accountant, what type of accountant do you want to hire? Do you need a full-time or part-time employee, or outsource to a freelance accountant? The right answer will be determined by the stage of your business and the complexity of your activity.

For most early-stage businesses without a complex structure, a part-time bookkeeper will be sufficient, someone whom you may only need for a few hours or one day a week to pay the bills, record payroll, reconcile the bank accounts and maybe deal with sales tax or VAT. You do not necessarily need a Certified Public Accountant or Chartered Accountant at this point and there are many skilled people that can do the work at a reasonable price.

You also do not need to spend a lot of money on accounting software. QuickBooks and Xero are available online for a modest subscription and there are other alternatives out there as well. 

And as you get more successful: 

When your business gets more complex and you need to deal with issues such as revenue recognition, fixed asset depreciation, and expense accruals, that’s when you will need someone more qualified, maybe in the capacity of Financial Controller, and that person will then oversee the work done by the junior accountant or bookkeeper, who will take care of the day-to-day tasks. A Controller will also be able to generate budget forecasts based on history and projections and monitor budget to actual performance or KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). 

 Only when your business reaches a substantial size or is growing at a rapid rate will you need a Chief Financial Officer, but as your business grows, having a part-time, outsourced CFO (often referred to as a “Fractional CFO”) that you can contact as needed, can be a valuable resource. 

 

 As discussed here, finding the right level is critical, but what about the specific skills required?

I generally advise people, when hiring a bookkeeper, to look for someone who is more of a generalist. That is, they can work in most industries. As with the spoken language that has regional differences and accents, the language of accounting differs from business to business.

If you are a service-based business, don’t hire someone that has only ever worked as an inventory accountant. If you are a fast-paced technology company, the most brilliant accountant from public utilities will likely struggle to succeed. If you engage in internet sales, an accountant from the insurance industry may not be a good fit.

The more senior level you need to hire, the more critical it is to get the background and experience that aligns with your company. 

 

As with every hiring decision, attracting and retaining the right personality that will be a good team player is also an important issue. By nature, many accountants tend to be more introverted, but in general, they are dedicated to their work, detail-oriented, and want to do a good job. Basic accounting might be a foreign language to some; it’s not really that difficult, but it is time-consuming and needs attention from Day 1. 

 

Wedo can help you find and collaborate with the right accountant. Find out more about the app and how it can help you thrive:

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