Your Small Business May Not Need an Accountant After All

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

Keeping accurate, well-organised records of your business’ financial matters can be critical, but in some cases, it simply doesn’t make sense to hire an accountant. In fact, small businesses rarely start out with an accountant on retainer, but almost all medium-size businesses seem to have one on call. Can you start your business without an accountant? When do you need one? The answers vary based on your situation.

Starting Your Business

Starting a business can be expensive, and if you are opening shop on a tight budget, you may want to allocate your capital to marketing, inventory, hiring staff, or other matters, rather than using funds to hire an accountant. Luckily, there are multiple free online resources through organisations such as the Canada Business Network that can guide you on everything from registering your business to understanding your income tax obligations.

Finding Effective Tools

As you begin incurring startup costs, you should start tracking your expenses. If you are a freelancer, a simple expense tracking app may work perfectly, but if you have multiple employees, you may benefit from apps such as Minute7 Time and Expense Tracking or Apptivo Expenses. These apps can track expenses from multiple employees and even integrate your purchasing approval process. Similarly, there are apps that can help with scheduling and payroll such as TSheets Time Tracking or Time Tracking by eBillity. You can even find programs to help with budgeting, inventory, writing invoices, and other aspects of running a business.

Apps such as these are designed to be mastered by almost anyone regardless of their accounting acumen, and in addition to apps that take care of a specific aspect of your accounting needs, there is also accounting software, such as QuickBooks, that can help.

DIY Accounting

Accounting software takes bookkeeping and converts it from a stodgy, boring process of filling out spreadsheets to an interactive intuitive process. You simply tap or click a few buttons and add the requested information about your vendors, sales, invoices, or other data, and the software does the actual accounting work for you.

In addition to tracking financial records, accounting software can also generate reports. A generation ago, if you wanted professional-looking financial reports to apply for a loan, entice investors, or for any other reason, you likely needed to hire a professional. In 2016, however, there is an array of accounting tools that can automate and simplify the process, all while creating professional, well-organised records.

Signs You Need Help

Quality apps and accounting software can take care of a lot of accounting needs, but in some cases, there is simply no substitute for a professional. If you are overwhelmed, if you truly don’t know where to start, or if you cannot understand the accounting tools you purchased, you may want to talk with an accountant. Similarly, if you are thinking about taking your business pubic, you also need a professional. Keep in mind, however, you don’t need to hire an accountant. In many cases, you may just want to consult with a professional for advice, and then continue to do your own accounting.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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