SAN ANGELO, Texas — If you filed an extension for your 2012 business tax return the deadline is here again.
Oct. 15 is just around the corner, and that is the deadline to report your business finances if you haven’t done it. For many business owners, thinking about accounting creates a feeling similar to handling a highly reactive chemistry formula. However, it is important to remember there are experts ready to help in the accounting area.
Obtaining accounting services is like buying some sort of insurance for your business. Therefore, it is important to hire adequate services. Deciding between a bookkeeper, an accountant and a CPA can be puzzling, but it is one of the most important long term investments for your company.
The terms “bookkeeper” and “accountant” can be interchanged to a degree, but it is important to distinguish the roles each serve. The term bookkeeper refers to the person that keeps the books and retains documentation for transactions. An experienced or certified bookkeeper with the appropriate education may eventually move into being an accountant by complying with rules set by state accounting boards.
An accountant may focus on reporting, business analysis and processes, and possibly advice.
A few things to consider when hiring an accounting related service are as follows:
Different services offered by a bookkeeper, an accountant and a CPA
According to your industry you might need a certain level of expertise. Bookkeepers are a great way to manage expenses, but having the periodic support of a CPA ensures you have more than one set of eyes on the books. This not only helps to provide more accurate data but also can act as a preventive action to fraud or theft. The more complex the organization the more important it is to make sure the business’ bookkeeper is also supported by a good CPA who can provide advice.
Understanding the accounting of your business is imperative. Therefore, finding accounting services that can explain in simple/common terminology would be ideal. Professionals can be good at what they do, but they also need to be able to explain concepts easily. Never be afraid to request further explanation on a certain topic or a breakdown on terminology to understand your business finances. A professional demeanor, friendly personality and honest approach to business are also important.
When it’s time to hire accounting services
Like acquiring insurance, the sooner you obtain the services the better. Many owners will try to sort out the information themselves and then have a bumpy ride when it comes time to meet tax deadlines. A good compromise is to consult with an accounting professional when the business is started and then touch base periodically.
Making a decision on accounting services might be influenced by recommendations from family, friends or other business owners; however, the ultimate decision is yours. It is important to remember that your business is unique and doing your own research on the different options available might be the best option. If you need assistance, the Small Business Development Center team is more than happy to answer any of your questions. We want to see your business grow and be successful.
“Business Tips” was written by Adriana Balcorta Havins, business development specialist and Certified Business Adviser I, of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at Adriana.Balcorta@angelo.edu.