How To Find A Small Business Accountant: Useful Tips

Your business is growing, the sales are up and you’re on your way to the best year ever. This is an excellent announcement, however, what’s are the tax filing ramifications? And what about the financial goals you’ve set for the coming quarter? If you’re asking these questions, it’s the right time to consult a professional. Small-business accountants can help you navigate the maze of deductions hidden in forms, but they also give you solid advice on planning and projections. Find out the best way to locate a reliable small-business accountant.

What Can a Small-Business Accountant Do?

Small-business accountants are experts, typically Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Professional Bookkeepers, QuickBooks Specialist, Professional Tax Preparers, and Profit & Growth Expert. They have the expertise and know-how to assist business entrepreneurs to navigate their financial accounts. Based on the business’s size as well as the needs of the business, accountants might perform their work on a weekly or quarterly basis, or even an annual one. Although larger businesses typically have accounting professionals on their staff, smaller firms typically hire an accounting company or an independent accountant, who can provide the assistance they require.

How to Find an Accountant for Small Businesses

The search term “small business accountant” will yield thousands of results and trying to sort through all of them would be difficult. Begin by asking small-business owners whom they are confident with their finances. Once you’ve got several names, do some internet studies about their backgrounds and experiences and then read any reviews.

Small-business accountants who are reputable and reputable, as well as accounting firms, shouldn’t have any difficulty arranging an exploratory meeting with you to discuss your requirements and also offer a variety of references.

Essentials to Consider When Choosing an Accountant

In the beginning, you’ll need to decide what tasks you’d like an accountant to aid in, and the frequency you’ll need their assistance. Begin by creating an agenda of your priorities, identifying the items that require immediate attention and those which will have to be addressed in six months. You’ll then have decided if you’d like to collaborate with an individual accountant or with an accounting company. Whatever you decide, it is important to select an accountant who has many years of experience working with the type of small-scale company you run and with whom you are comfortable sharing confidential details.

Find an accountant who is an expert in your field

If your company’s majority of operations are carried out by cloud-based applications it is likely that you need the services of an employee adept in cloud computing.

This rule applies to any field, for example, if you need quality written work, you should contact professionals in your field. StudyCrumb can help everyone.

It’s even better if they have been associated with companies that operate in markets similar to yours, as they will be able to understand the unique needs of your business.

It is possible to determine if they cater to customers of larger scale.

In the event that they have, it is a great sign as you’ll know they will be able to keep up with your demands in the future.

If they do not, that is not a positive sign.

It is also possible to ask for a list of customers which includes details about the company’s total earnings and the employees they employ.

Find out how their former customers have developed and changed throughout the years, to get more insight into how they’ll be capable of meeting the ever-changing needs of your business.

Red Flags To Watch For

Their accountants appear ideal on paper, yet aren’t exactly what they appear to be. While unprofessional accounting isn’t an ideal thing, it could be devastating for small-scale businesses. You must be as vigilant as you can to ensure you are not working with a fraudster which includes conducting interviews with the person, asking for references and conducting background checks. It is also important to remain engaged in your accounting procedures and be aware of warning signs such as:

  • An accountant who advises you to not keep receipts
  • Signing checks or documents without knowing what they’re to be used for
  • The estimate you receive for the services you require until your refund from tax has been calculated
  • Communication ceases or is cut off completely

To summarize

If you decide to employ an accountant for small businesses it can cost you money however, it can help you save money in the end. If you don’t have an experienced bookkeeper, accountant or tax preparer who is up-to-current on tax laws you’ll likely be missing the deductions and other small-business benefits. When your business begins expanding, you’ll probably not have the time or expertise to keep track of your accounts.

If you’re only getting started in your business venture and do not have employees, starting off with accounting software that is reliable and a well-organized system is likely to get you through for a time. However, once the expansion process begins to begin, don’t put off finding an accountant who can keep your best interests at heart.

6 Steps to Successfully Starting a Business While Moving

Life can get complicated, especially when you’re trying to start and run your own business from home. If you live in an apartment or rental space that isn’t suitable for both living and working, you may have to move. Universal Accounting School shares six steps to successfully launch your home-based business in a new home.

1. Renting a Home

If you’re going to open up a shop in your home, ensure it’s suitable for living and working. Some homes aren’t conducive for working because they have no office space or they don’t have an appropriate layout. You need to understand your finances before signing on any dotted lines. Your purchase needs to fit within your budget. If you’d rather put money into your business rather than using it for a down payment, consider renting instead of buying. There are many homes available for rent—simply search online listings and use their filters to find the ideal rental.

2. Layout of Your Home Office

Home offices are typically small, meaning it’s essential that your home office has a specific layout that works for you. Think about how you want your desk space set up and how you want to decorate it. For example, if you have children or pets, you might want to keep your expensive computer equipment hidden away in an area where they’re unlikely to accidentally break it. Plants can bring life into your workspace and add a sense of calm.

3. Moving Tips

Make a moving checklist, and label boxes clearly before packing them up. That way, when it comes time to unpack, you can stack everything in its proper place without having to open every box first.  If you’re moving with pets, getting them comfortable in the new surroundings makes for an easier transition. Ensure your pet has had ample opportunity to explore your new home, so they don’t get freaked out by unfamiliar sights, sounds, or smells.

4. Starting Your Business in Your New Location

Once you purchase a property or sign a lease agreement, register your business with Google Business so local customers can find you online. Be sure to also check if you need permits or licenses in your new area. Depending on your business, you may be required to get a zoning permit or license from local authorities before getting started. When relocating your business, challenges are inevitable, but don’t let them get you down. If you plan well in advance, are organized, and take it step by step, challenges become opportunities for great success.

5. Benefits of Forming an LLC

A limited liability company affords liability protection and tax benefits. When you form an LLC, your personal assets are protected from business liabilities, so if your small business fails and you lose money, it won’t affect your home or car. Your LLC also gives you tax advantages. Each state has its own rules for creating an LLC, so check the requirements before proceeding.

6. Using Social Media to Market Your Business

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and Instagram are a powerful tool for marketing your business. By creating a page or profile for your business on one or more of these platforms, you can reach a wide audience of potential customers with minimal effort. In addition, social media allows you to interact directly with your customers, build relationships, and address any concerns they may have. Best of all, creating a social media presence for your business is generally free. Enhance your social media pages with an attractive banner. Banner templates are easy to use, and many are free. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can add your own copy, font, colors, and images. 

A Successful New Start

It’s possible to start your business successfully while you move. All you need is patience, planning, and creativity. Find a suitable home, begin the process of moving, register your business, and start marketing on social media to transition smoothly and start earning a profit. Universal Accounting School offers small business, tax, accounting, and bookkeeping online certification programs. Learn more about how you can get certified.

Starting Your Own Accounting Business: 5 Things You May Not Have Considered

Have you been thinking about starting your own accounting business? It can be tempting to take this leap into being your own boss, but there are several things you should consider before you move forward. There are plenty of advantages to running your own accounting business, but just because you are great at accounting doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to be a business owner. The points below are all important ones to consider.

Your Education

Both starting an accounting business and education cost money, and you might be concerned about spending money on your education that you should be setting aside for your accounting business. However, having the right education is critical as well, and a graduate degree can really unlock your potential and prepare you for success. You may be able to get student loans from a private lender at a favorable interest rate to pay for the degree.  Either way, there is a path to becoming an Accountrepreneur.

Buying One or Starting a New One

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is whether to purchase an existing accounting firm or start your own. There are different factors to keep in mind, and some of them will be specific to the company that you are considering buying. First, think about costs. On the one hand, you can arguably start your own accounting business out of your house with very little overhead. However, you might have to spend some money on marketing and getting your name out there, while an established firm might already have better name recognition. On the other hand, there’s no question that you’ll need a substantial amount of money in order to purchase a company.

If you’re buying a firm, one thing you have to be careful about is their existing financial situation. You will need to be prepared to really dig into their records and make sure you understand any liabilities they have. The owner of a struggling company that is up for sale might not be very forthcoming about money problems. When you purchase a firm, there are certain things that might be out of your control, like client loyalty and whatever rates the business has established. You can certainly increase the rates later, but you’ll need to keep them the same to start with.

Along similar lines, you may need to offer the same services for a while as you make the transition while if you start your own, you can simply offer what you want. Software and other equipment are going to be necessary and potentially costly. If you purchase a company, make sure you know exactly what is coming with the purchase and the age and condition of it all.

Either way, consider being in business for yourself but not by yourself with Universal Accounting Center.

Managing Employees

Whether or not to have employees might not be a decision you have to make immediately, but it is something you’ll need to deal with eventually. If you are starting from scratch, it might just be you, but you may want to add staff over time. If you’re purchasing a company, there may already be employees.  How much do you know about managing people? It may not be enough to be a good accountant.

This is where a degree in management could come in handy if you don’t have a background in it. If you have neither of these, you might want to read a few books about management and, if possible, explore taking some classes or seminars. Managing people is a skill in itself, and it’s a mistake to think that just because you are a whiz at accounting, you’ll also be great at management. Of course, some people are naturals in this position, but doing some reading can help confirm your instincts or shore up places where your skills might be weaker.

Your Personal Qualities

Having the right qualities to be an entrepreneur go beyond management skills. You also must know that owning your own business comes with many shades of grey. You might currently be asking yourself basic questions like is starting a tax prep business right for me but you need to understand that knowing if you have what it takes to actually do it is going to come from many more in depth questions about who you are as a person.

One irony you may face is that the very qualities that make you an excellent accountant are not necessarily that same ones that make for an excellent entrepreneur. Accountants may tend to be cautious and conservative, not risk takers like many entrepreneurs. There is an element of financial insecurity associated with running your own business that may fly in the face of your instincts. However, careful, and cautious people can be successful entrepreneurs as well. Making sure you have the right business knowledge and skills will be important. Writing a business plan can help you figure out where your weaknesses may be, and you’ll need one if you’re planning to seek loans or other types of funding.

Networking and Building a Client List

It’s not uncommon to get so caught up the various details of getting everything up and running that you lose sight of what you most need to succeed: customers. Are you a people person? If you’re more comfortable with numbers than people, this may involve some effort, but you’ll need to retain clients if you’re buying a business and attract them in the first place if you’re starting your own. And without the big budget that large firms have, that may depend on your ability to network and sell yourself and your company effectively.

You should work to strengthen the existing contacts you already have in the industry and locally and think about how you can make yourself more visible. This will vary depending on the type of service that you offer and the clientele that you want to attract, and you may want to consider working with a marketing firm or an individual to help you raise your profile if you are struggling to attract clients.

In short there is a Turnkey Business Plan for accounting professionals, there is no need to feel like you need to reinvent the wheel.

When is an Accounting Firm needed?

The label “Accounting Firm” applies to three different service companies: 1) CPA Firm, 2) Tax Preparation Firm, and 3) Bookkeeping Firm. Each is important in the right conditions, and in some cases legally required. For instance, publicly traded companies must seek the services of a CPA accounting firm for financial audits.

Let’s look at each type of accounting firm separately and understand when they are most critical.

CPA Firm

As noted above, publicly traded companies are required to have annual audits by a CPA accounting firm. For the largest CPA firms, audits are their bread-and-butter income. In some companies and organizations, licensed auditors might spend thousands of billable hours sampling and testing the company’s accounting system to ensure proper controls are in place and that their financial records represent the company fairly. The CPA firm turns out an audit report at the end of the process that is
then included in the company’s annual report.

There are relatively few large CPA firms. Most CPA Accounting firms are smaller one-office firms led by one to three CPA’s that provide services to smaller companies. These services might include audits of small publicly traded companies, management consulting, and business tax preparation services.

Typically, they will not do bookkeeping and tax preparation, except for their business clients. In those cases where they do offer tax preparation for individuals, they charge a premium in my experience.

Tax Preparation Firm

Although tax preparation is often thought of as a CPA skill, most Certified Public Accountants do not prepare taxes, other than their own, perhaps. Likewise, very few tax preparers are CPA’s. Instead, most tax preparers start by doing their own taxes, enjoying it, then doing taxes for friends and family. Eventually, they decided to start offering it for a fee and either join up with a tax preparation firm or hang out their own shingle.

There are several large tax preparation firms, the largest being H&R Block. These firms hire seasonal workers and will provide some training at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, most tax prep firms are small single practitioner accounting firms that specialize in income tax preparation for individuals. Most tax professionals work during tax season. If they are successful and watch their spending, they may earn enough during those few short months (January to April) to enjoy vacationing the rest of the year. Some tax preparers will offer bookkeeping during their slow seasons.

Bookkeeping Firm

These are typically small, privately owned accounting firms that provide bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses (less than 50 employees). Often, they operate from the accountant’s home, and they may serve up to a dozen clients. They will pick up transaction detail from the client monthly or quarterly and provide financial statements on the same schedule. Nearly every bookkeeping firm will also provide full payroll servicing.

A full-service bookkeeping firm will also provide management consulting including helping the owner interpret the financial statements and provide suggestions for improving financial wealth and profitability. If trained in business tax forms, these professionals will offer tax preparation services in addition to their writeup services.

Learn more about what you can do to have your own successful accounting firm and the opportunities available in your area HERE.

If you also listen to podcasts, consider “Building the Premier Accounting Firm”!

How to Get a Tax License

If you’re thinking about getting a tax license, you’re on track for a lucrative addition to your career. Becoming a certified Professional Tax Preparer is an excellent step toward a satisfying financial future. Many people obtain their tax license and use it as a stepping stone to other opportunities, such as owning a tax services business. Simply including tax preparation skills on your resume and getting a tax license is an excellent pathway for advancing your current career.

Universal Accounting leads the way in small business tax training and is approved by the California Tax Education Council (CTEC) to offer the Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) certification as a distance learning course in California. Universal Accounting offers a money-back guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied with your tax preparation course, you can simply return your materials and receive your money back.

What Is IRS Tax Certification?

An IRS-certified tax preparer has unlimited rights to represent their clients in front of the IRS. Because IRS preparation is detailed and constantly changing, IRS-certified tax preparers can help clients better navigate the complexities of the system, including tax payments, audits, and preparing appeals in the event of an IRS error. Certified tax preparers are consultants who have a right to be paid for the work they perform for clients.

When you choose a reputable tax preparation certification course, it will include current information on tax laws. It will also prepare students for changes in tax laws for the upcoming years. The course will train students in state and federal tax forms and how to prepare them accurately.

I Want to Become Certified: What’s Next?

Tax preparers don’t have to be IRS-certified to work with clients and be compensated for their work, but certification is the best route to take if they plan to pursue a career in the field. Not only can certification increase future salaries and add more opportunities to the table, but it can also increase demand for services.

Certification is possible through IRS-approved educational training courses. Those interested in taking the next step in certification can find official courses listed on the IRS website. It’s essential to ensure the IRS has vetted the courses to make the certification official in the government’s eyes.

Luckily, modern technology has made hands-on tax preparation education more accessible and flexible than ever before. Online courses are a convenient way to enhance education while juggling family life and work responsibilities because they are available on-demand, day or night.

After you make the choice to pursue your tax license, it is time to find the program that is right for you, aligns with your goals, and is within your means.

How to Choose a Program

Students pursuing an IRS certification should keep a few things in mind when searching for a program. First and most importantly, the educational provider has to be listed as an IRS-approved course provider. Other aspects include:

  • Official “PTP” designation
  • Educational tuition assistance if necessary
  • Individual counselors
  • A timeline that aligns with their goals
  • Business coaching after completion

These aspects will help students set themselves up for success in the next phase of their careers.

Partnering with an organization such as Universal Accounting is an intelligent way to get started with a training course that encompasses all the aspects of a great program and is IRS-approved. The Professional Tax Preparer certification is a self-paced online training to prepare personal and business taxes and prepare students for the IRS’ enrolled agent (EA) exam.

The best certification programs support students after completing courses by partnering them with coaches and mentors with real-world experience. This additional training is invaluable to those looking to grow in the profession. The teachers and coaches at Universal Accounting know what it’s like to be successful tax preparers because they have experience in the field.

Reasons to Consider an Online Program

When students choose online tax education courses, like those offered by Universal Accounting, they can expect to learn via workbooks, videos, and various other reference materials. High-quality online courses are cutting edge and will include many elements of visual learning, as well as self-paced. This means you can return to materials and watch them again if needed.

Universal Accounting also offers instruction provided by experts in the tax and accounting fields. Students can expect to participate in real-world scenarios, which will help them prepare them firsthand for what it’s like working in the field.

What Happens After I’m Certified?

After certification, the next step is to receive recognition from the IRS. The first step will be an IRS preparer tax identification number, or PTIN. Registration is simple—visit the IRS website and register online for the PTIN in about 15 minutes. The application takes between four and six weeks to process. Once the number is official, certified tax preparers can use the number on forms and market themselves to clients as IRS-certified. This designation tells clients they will receive exceptional service and confidentiality and tells the IRS the tax preparer understands the complexities of their business.

In addition to the PTP and PTIN number, many tax preparers take an extra step to affiliate themselves with professional organizations. These memberships can carry weight for business owners running their firms or on resumes. Some of these include:

  • National Association of Tax Professionals
  • National Society of Tax Professionals
  • American Academy of Attorneys
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • National Society of Accountants
  • National Association of Enrolled Agents

These organizations are very picky with memberships and are an excellent way to show commitment to excellence in the field.

Ready to Get Licensed? Contact Us Today!

If you plan to grow in your career or start your own accounting business, certification is an essential part of the accounting and tax preparation industry. The extra step establishes credibility and trust that will far outweigh the costs.

Tax preparation will always be in demand, and Americans dreading tax season each year will appreciate a professional in their corner. Start your certification journey today. Contact Universal Accounting for more information.

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