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What to Look for in an Accounting Firm

Small Business Owners: Here’s What to Look for in an Accounting Firm

Owning a successful small business may be the American dream, but it’s certainly not an easy life. As an entrepreneur, you’re responsible for everything from outlining the strategic vision to keeping customers happy. Despite the challenges, it’s a rewarding career with unlimited opportunities, provided you manage the business effectively.

As you lead your business, the support and guidance of well-qualified professionals is an invaluable asset in keeping everything on the right track. That’s especially true when it comes to your accounting firm: a critical partner in helping you make the best financial decisions for the business.

Having clarity over the financial position of your business is vital to success, but without the right accounting support, it’s extremely challenging. As a business owner, you need accurate, timely access to financial information that gives you the confidence required to make important decisions that could change the trajectory of your company. 

Choosing the right accounting firm to help build and manage the financial infrastructure of your business is perhaps one of the most important decisions an entrepreneur ever makes. You need a firm that can lay the foundations for future growth and serve as a trusted long-term partner. But how can you tell which accounting firm is the best fit for you?

This guide explores the factors small business owners should consider as they evaluate potential accounting partners. These factors are a mixture of objective and subjective measures, and we advise you to consider them all fully before committing to a new accounting partner. 

Scalability

As an entrepreneur, it’s likely that you hope to expand your business over the years to come. As you embark on that journey, it’s important you have an accounting firm that can scale alongside your business. 

Accounting firms deliver the best results when they get to know the intricacies of your business over a period of multiple years. If you’re growing fast, it’s important that your accounting firm is able to evolve in line with the needs of the business. After all, the accounting needs of a business with $100 million in revenue are very different from those of a business doing $2 million in revenue. 

Variety of Practice Areas and Solutions

As businesses scale, they quickly find they need additional accounting and finance services. Perhaps an external lender has requested audited financial statements to process a loan application. Or maybe the business is expanding into new markets and you need support navigating multi-state tax laws.

It’s unlikely a modest, local accounting firm can handle those kinds of complexities. Instead, you need an established firm that’s available to support your business throughout its lifecycle––from handling business formation to preparing for an IPO. That could mean everything from managing your accounting needs to acting as an outsourced CFO that spearheads your overall financial strategy. 

Industry Expertise

A competent generalist accounting firm does provide a lot of value to any business. However, if you want to take your accounting and finance infrastructure to the next level, seek out a firm that specializes in your industry. 

Some firms specialize in one industry, while others specialize in several industries with dedicated partners assigned to leading each industry segment. At Strothman+Co, we have expertise in multiple industries including real estate, professional services, manufacturing, and more.

Partnering with accountants with real expertise in your industry is a huge value driver. You’ll get access to specialized knowledge and advanced strategies that drive faster growth. On top of that, specialized accounting teams share best practices that they see across other businesses in your space.

Custom Solutions

No two businesses have exactly the same accounting and tax needs. Avoid firms that take a cookie-cutter approach that doesn’t account for your needs, and prioritize those that design tailored accounting solutions based on the needs of your business.  

The accounting services a business requires are driven by a multitude of factors. Understanding those takes time and research. A firm that prioritizes client experience will endeavor to fully understand your situation before recommending accounting solutions. 

Long-Term Relationship Building

Your accounting firm should become trusted members of your team that you interact with on a regular basis. Building these relationships takes time and commitment from both business owners and accounting firms. 

The ideal long-term partner is responsive to your needs right from the outset. That means that if you have a quick question, you can pick up the phone and call the lead accountant on your business––even if you’re not currently working on an active project. The right partner ll go above and beyond to help with all accounting and financial issues. 

You might find this kind of relationship at smaller, local firms but it’s unlikely they have the scale or expertise to help your business as it grows. Equally, partners at larger firms are too busy dealing with huge corporations to invest in relationships with smaller clients. The sweet spot is a mid-market firm that actively invests in building a lasting relationship with your business.

Strothman+Co: Your Small Business Accounting Partner

If you’re looking for an accounting firm that embodies all of these qualities, you’re in the right place. At Strothman+Co, it’s our mission to help businesses grow––regardless of the stage of growth you are in. 

Our CPAs bring an entrepreneurial mindset to every engagement, working with you to create long-term strategies that achieve sustainable growth. 

In addition to our established audit, advisory, and tax practices, our Entrepreneurial Business Solutions team serves as a strategic partner to business owners across the nation. There are a range of services available, from high-level outsourced CFO services that drive better decision-making to our client accounting and advisory solutions that take care of the day-to-day accounting needs of your business. 

Interested in learning more about working with Strothman+Co? Contact us today

This article was written by Jim Stevison, Strothman+Co Partner and Director of the firm’s assurance group. Jim has 25 years of experience in the field of Audit and Assurance.