Miami Certified Public Accountant Providing Accounting, Tax, Audit and Consulting Services

Blog

I Use QuickBooks – Do I also Need an Accountant?

I Use QuickBooks – Do I also Need an Accountant?

The traditional role of an accountant is changing. In previous years a small business would class a good accountant as one of the fundamental requirements when starting a business. Their support and guidance towards all matters connected with the set up and launch of a business was perceived as essential in order for a small business to be ultimately successful. The perceived importance of the role accountant’s play with small business has been increasingly bought into question as the internet has grown and developed. The advice that accountants used to charge for regarding company formation, company structure and VAT registration is now largely available for free on the internet. Furthermore, the rise in online accounting software has made it easier than ever for a small business to keep their company books in good shape. We wanted to explore why more and more small businesses are choosing to use online accounting software and how this has impacted the traditional role of the accountant.

Why are business owners using online accounting software?

  • Cost – When the accounting and bookkeeping world was inaccessible to owners of small business the large cost burden of having a professional accountant was seen as simply a core running cost of the business. The cost structures of accountants differ widely from per hour, fixed fees for defined work and some even charge by the minute for telephone calls. Whatever the cost structure having an accountant look after all of you small business financial affairs will be a significant burden to your cost and business profits. Basic software for accounting can be available from as little as $50 a month.
  •  Time Schedules – A piece of software can continue working 24 hours a day whereas an accountant has set schedules and opening times. As a small business you will very rarely be working to a 9-5 schedule and therefore having the rigid nature of accountant opening hours can be frustrating. Even more so if a deadline is required that requires an accountants help and you are charged overtime for an accountant working out of hours.
  • Ease of use – Software for accounting has become very user friendly with many products available that do not require the user to have any accounting knowledge at all. This allows tradesman and sole traders to be able to easily to control of their financial affairs.
  • Improved business Performance – There can be real business performance advantages of taking control of the company finances as opposed to outsourcing them.
  • Accountability – An obvious advantage of taking control of you financial affair is that there becomes greater accountability to deliver. Software for accounting allows small business owners to be much closer to the financial affairs than when they are outsourced.
  •  Collaboration – one of the risks out outsourcing all financial management to an accountant is that it stifles people from within the business talking and engaging about disciplined financial management. Taking control of financial affairs internally within the business increases engagement and collaboration across the business to improve the company’s financial performance.

If more businesses are using online accounting software is there a role for traditional accountant?

In short, yes, but in a different capacity to how they have traditionally been deployed. Accountants need to focus less on the bookkeeping and daily accounting of small businesses and focus more on the provision of advice that optimizes business performance. Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) are becoming well versed in the many advantages that exist within doing your own accounting via an easy to use, cost effective software package. That said, many small business owners still have a requirement to discuss future business optimization with a financial planning expert.

Software cannot possibly understand a business’s objectives and work with the owners to produce a strategy to optimize performance. Nor can a software package proactively restructure the company books to save tax as the company grows and develops. Once a small business is established they would benefit from advice from an ‘auditor’ regarding business structures, financial efficiency and tax planning. This annual audit ensures that the business is on the right track for sustainable growth and success.

Software allows small business to complete their day to day accounting enabling the owners to stay close to their financial affairs at a fraction of the price of an accountant. However, a good accountant can engage with the owner about optimizing the business to ensure that the right plan for growth exists. This type of engagement with an accountant can be done as a cost effective fixed fee arrangement which can be easily planned and budgeted for within the company accounts. The answer to whether a small business should have an accountant or accounting software is – they should have both but deployed for different purposes.

Good Practices for Choosing an Accountant

Here are some tips for avoiding common pitfalls and needless headaches in your search for a small business accountant:

  • Determine your needs

    There is no one-size-fits-all method for managing small business finances. Make sure that your accountant specializes in small businesses, and ideally has knowledge of your industry.  Beyond that, you will need to decide what level of support is appropriate and affordable for your business. Enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and tax attorneys bring different skills and charge different rates.

  • Just ask!

    Word of mouth is a good way to find good accountants. Talk to your family, friends, peers, even your attorney for recommendations. You can also inquire with institutions and organizations like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants*, your state Board of Accountants, or a local Chamber of Commerce.

  • Interview your candidates
    Remember that you are hiring someone that will fulfill your business needs and requirements. Treat it like a job interview that you would give to any potential employee. Ask about:
  • Professional qualifications like their licenses and experience
  • Personnel who will actually do the work, and their response times
  • Fees and charges to make sure they are in line with your budget
  • Specialized services that you may want in the future – for example, audit support
  • Clientele (past and current) so you can gauge their expertise

 

About 

Gustavo A Viera is the managing partner of Gustavo A Viera, PA. His experience spans more than 25 years. He started his career in public accounting at PriceWaterHouseCoopers where reached the level senior audit manager. His Fortune 500 experience includes positions as CFO – Latin America Region for both Hewlett Packard and Telefonica of Spain. Gustavo also writes a blog twice a week that addresses trending accounting and tax issues. He is an SBA Advisor and teaches workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs. His office is located at One Alhambra Plaza Floor PH Coral Gables FL 33134, and is admitted to practice in the State of Florida as a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Gus welcomes questions and he can be reached at 786-250-4450.

About the Author

Gustavo VieraGustavo A Viera is the managing partner of Gustavo A Viera, PA. His experience spans more than 25 years. He started his career in public accounting at PriceWaterHouseCoopers where reached the level senior audit manager. His Fortune 500 experience includes positions as CFO - Latin America Region for both Hewlett Packard and Telefonica of Spain. Gustavo also writes a blog twice a week that addresses trending accounting and tax issues. He is an SBA Advisor and teaches workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs. His office is located at One Alhambra Plaza Floor PH Coral Gables FL 33134, and is admitted to practice in the State of Florida as a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Gus welcomes questions and he can be reached at 786-250-4450.View all posts by Gustavo Viera →

  1. AmandaAmanda10-13-2011

    This is an excellent question and one myself, and I am quite sure many other people who have ever ran their own business, wonder about. There are so many software programs and web sites which offer to do basic accounting for your business, but I have often wondered what I am missing in terms of advice that a CPA could offer which would help me save on taxes or any other area, for that matter.

  2. Trinity KoolmanTrinity Koolman11-02-2011

    Hello there, You have done a great job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.

  3. Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity on your put up is simply nice and that i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to grasp your RSS feed to keep up to date with imminent post. Thanks one million and please continue the gratifying work.

  4. Some truly marvellous work on behalf of the owner of this web site , absolutely great articles .

  5. Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, appreciate it. “A man may learn wisdom even from a foe.” by Aristophanes.

  6. Wow! This can be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Excellent. I’m also a specialist in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.

  7. Car ForumsCar Forums11-12-2011

    I’ve been browsing online greater than three hours lately, yet I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is beautiful worth sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the net can be a lot more useful than ever before. “Wherever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people.” by Heinrich Heine.

  8. I like this website very much, Its a very nice post to read and obtain info .

  9. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in web explorer, would check this… IE still is the market leader and a large component of other folks will pass over your wonderful writing because of this problem.

  10. Just to follow up on the up-date of this subject on your blog and would want to let you know simply how much I prized the time you took to produce this helpful post. Within the post, you really spoke of how to really handle this thing with all ease. It would be my own pleasure to gather some more ideas from your blog and come up to offer other people what I discovered from you. Thank you for your usual good effort.

  11. Wonderful website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get suggestions from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

  12. seoseo11-12-2011

    wonderful issues altogether, you just gained a new reader. What would you suggest about your publish that you just made some days ago? Any positive?

/* ]]> */