Every office today has a computer, and every office-supply store has accounting software you can load onto your computer. Each year, these software packages become more intuitive and easier for the beginner to learn and understand.
Why then, should any small business hire a bookkeeper or other accounting professional? And, even if they decide to hire one – how much help do they actually need?
No matter how astute accounting software has become, it still takes a real person sitting at the computer entering information. It’s also important to realize that what you get out of your accounting software is only as good as what was put into it. Some business owners are completely comfortable in dealing with money. They have enough of an understanding of finance and accounting, that they truly have no reason to hire a bookkeeper.
Others, however, feel quite differently. They worry they’ll make a mistake and are far more comfortable hiring someone else to handle those areas. The question is – how much bookkeeping help do you need? The answer will very much depend on each business and each business owner. Here are a few tips that will help you sort it out:
- If you keep your own books and are comfortable doing so, you’ll probably only need accounting help occasionally. For example – filing taxes, responding to HST notices, and the like.
- Do you feel like you need someone to bounce ideas off of? If so, an accountant or bookkeeper might make sense, as they’ll have the knowledge (hopefully) to steer you in the right direction – at least as far as financial decisions go.
- Do you need financial statement compiled and need something more than the basic ones your software will deliver? If so, you’ll want to turn to an expert to take care of this for you.
- How well do you understand federal and provincial tax laws? If you feel you have a firm grip on what your business needs to do in order to not be in trouble tax-wise, than you can probably handle taxes on your own. On the other hand, if you receive notice of an audit, you’ll likely want an accounting professional on your side to handle it.
- Are you comfortable dealing with payroll and payroll taxes? What about accounts receivable and accounts payable? Each of these areas is critical to your business’s bottom-line. If you operate a small business with less than five employees, you can probably deal with payroll on your own.
The above questions are just guidelines to help you understand your own comfort with your business’s accounting and bookkeeping needs. We can help you fulfill those needs and guide you to the appropriate solution for your business.