Which is right for me?

Accountant: 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. 

Bookkeeper: 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.


Search Guidelines

Consider these guidelines when conducting your search:

Business Structure

Find an accountant that specializes in the business structure you chose for your business.

References

Ask for references from clients in your industry and in your size range. 

Other Qualifications

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.

Services

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. 

Fees

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. 

Note
Most accounting firms charge by the hour with fees ranging from $100 to $275. However, others work on a monthly retainer.

Personality

Your business will run a lot smoother if you work well with whomever you are hiring.

Last modified date: Wed, 08/06/2014 - 12:02