Need a partnership accountant for your venture? Follow these five tips to find the right professional to help you navigate your books and the industry.
A Guide on How to Hire a Partnership Accountant
Structuring your venture as a partnership is the best alternative when two or more parties invest and are responsible for the day-to-day operations. As your business grows, keeping track of your finances becomes more challenging as they turn more complicated.
Doing your own accounting may save money, but the price you’ll pay for the errors may offset such cost savings. In the long run, it’s worth getting a partnership accountant as there’s much to be gained for doing so.
When you’re ready to hire one, remember these five rules for a successful search.
1. Figure Out Your Needs
Accounting professionals, partnership accountants included, have four general areas of expertise: business advisory, accounting and record keeping, tax advice, and auditing. Here’s how each differs.
Since they are well-versed in your business, financials, tax situation, and the industry, accountants can give fiscally sound advice on your strategic plans and decisions. Their valuable insights are without bias, offering a fresh perspective on critical matters.
Under this discipline, accountants will set up the system to help you maintain daily records and key financial information about the business. With robust record-keeping software, you can have a comprehensive overview of the venture’s revenues, costs, profitability, and patterns to monitor performance.
Some accountants specialise in tax matters—if left unmanaged, taxes will weigh on your business’ profits. Strategic tax planning allows you to remain compliant without being overly burdened by tax liabilities. A good accountant will help you identify allowed deductions to reduce your taxes at year-end.
A basic accounting principle, auditing ensures a partnership’s reported financial information is accurate. Most business owners hire an accountant to produce audited reports, often required by banks prior to lending.
Determine the services or help you need in choosing a partnership accountant—often, the more they offer, the higher they may charge you.
2. Do Your Due Diligence
Much like when hiring an employee, it’s essential to vet all potential candidates first by looking at their credentials, experience, and knowledge of your industry.
At the minimum, your partnership accountant must have an accounting degree and a CPA license, so they can handle tax-related forms on your behalf without hiring another. Completing their formal education means they can perform accurate bookkeeping and analysis of your financial records.
Experience-wise, your prospective accountant should be familiar with your line of business. They must know the basics, such as revenue recognition, inventory, cash flow management, and taxes. If you’re in e-commerce, they should have relevant experience handling similar business operations.
Besides experience and education, factor in their knowledge of your industry too. Usually, there are trends or patterns specific to an industry that they should be aware of and look out for to identify possible errors or oversights.
Don’t hesitate to ask for references or look them up on the Internet to check for promising feedback. A reliable accountant will have several positive reviews from past and existing clients, just like Sterlinx Global. We have worked with multiple clients, and we’re proud to say that we’ve left a good impression on them.
3. Ask the Right Questions
Often, a potential partnership accountant’s qualifications look good on paper. If you want to dig deeper to see if they’re the perfect fit for your business and specific industry, you must ask the right questions.
Besides asking about their services, here are a few more you should include during the interview:
- Do you have a CPA license? If yes, are you licensed to practice in my area?
- What is your area of expertise? Do you have a client who’s in the same business as me?
- What is the usual size of your clients? Have long have you been with them?
- What software applications do you know how to use?
- Do you belong to any professional organisations?
At this point, be sure to ask about their rates or fees. Although some accountants disclose their charges on their website, it pays to clarify a few things about inclusions and exclusions on their offered services. If their rates are beyond what you can afford, ask if they can tailor a service package for your needs.
4. Evaluate Their Skills and Personality
Think of your partnership accountant as a partner. Their personality must be compatible with yours, as there needs to be a good working relationship between both parties. Be on the lookout for the following soft skills:
The best accountant is one who can handle your relationship as well as they handle numbers. Find a professional who can quickly communicate issues and resolve them with your cooperation. Ask if they find it difficult to reach out to their clients once there are problems.
An efficient, organised accountant knows how to manage their time so they won’t be overwhelmed with work during crunch time. They should be able to find crucial information quickly and finish tasks before the deadline, as delays can have costly repercussions.
Often, you’ll leave your accountant to their own devices—you trust them to handle your affairs without you constantly checking up on them. That’s why if they encounter roadblocks, they should be able to overcome them or know how to rectify mistakes.
5. Onboard Your Partnership Accountant
Keep in mind that your accountant can only work with the information you’ve given them. So, if you want a productive relationship, be sure to turn over all your financial records and relevant documents. Depending on their experience, consider briefing them about your business and industry.
Set clear expectations and guidelines, especially regarding communication preferences. For instance, you may want them to be accessible, particularly during an emergency. At the very least, you should meet once a month to discuss business matters, problems, and strategic initiatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth getting an accountant when I have an accounting background?
Yes. Sure, you can understand many of the basic accounting principles, but the knowledge you have is lacking. Accountants do more than maintain your records and prepare financial statements—they can recommend tax planning strategies to ensure you’re paying the right taxes, no more, no less.
How do I find a partnership accountant?
A quick Internet search will turn in thousands of results. Narrow it down by looking for firms with experience working with partnership ventures. We at Sterlinx Global have helped businesses under this kind of structure, so yes, we can make your lives easier.
When should I hire an accountant?
There is no perfect time to hire one—they can help you at any stage of your partnership venture. It doesn’t matter if you’re setting up the business or planning to dispose of it; working with a professional ensures you make the right decisions.
The Bottom Line
Working with the right partnership accountant will cost you, but the benefits often outweigh the expenses. Ask any business that outsourced their accounting, and they’ll tell you there’s much to be gained in hiring an expert.