This article is courtesy of YFS MAGAZINE by JEFREDA BROWN
Reading the news headlines these days should be reason enough to make sure your business is operating in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations. Laws are constantly changing. Businesses are failing because of bad accounting, which means there was no third party to hold the business owner(s) accountable.
If you are not able to stay on top of the changes or do not understand them, you should definitely hire someone who does.
What Do Accountants Really Do?
An accountant is someone who specializes in specific areas concerning finances, taxes, budgets, business operations, business equity, business management, money management, and so much more. The accounting field or industry is very broad. There are so many areas in which an accountant can help you.
Every accountant specializes in the areas in which they are experts. Whether you need help with estate planning, depreciation and amortization of business assets, developing budgets for your business, payroll matters, bookkeeping, or tax issues, you can find an accountant to help you.
Many accountants not only provide accounting-related help, they also provide business consulting. This goes back to what I stated earlier about the accounting industry being broad. You can be guaranteed that there is an accountant somewhere that can help you with your business needs.
Why Do I Need An Accountant?
Depending on the structure of your business, you may be required to hire an accountant. Public corporations are required to remain in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), and are therefore required to hire third party Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to perform financial statement audits.
Private owned businesses may not be required to have audits done, but they can still have financial statement reviews or compilations performed, which a regular accountant can perform. Some lenders may require a financial statement review in order to accurately review and process a business loan request.
The main difference between a regular degreed accountant and a CPA is that the CPA can perform financial statement audits and certify financial statements. Not all accountants are CPAs. Some accountants don’t have the desire to be CPAs because they don’t want to perform audits or certify financial statements. However, there are many highly qualified, skilled, and knowledgeable accountants who are not CPAs.
What Type of Accountant Should I Hire?
In 2013, if you have employees and provide health insurance benefits for them, you most likely are affected by the new Affordable Care Act (affectionately called “Obamacare”). There are several tax issues associated with this act that you may not understand or be familiar with. This is a very good reason to hire an accountant who is an expert in tax law and knows the tax implications of this act.
Also, there are certain payroll laws that employers must comply with. Some employers have unknowingly committed payroll fraud because they were unaware or educated about payroll laws. This is another very good reason to hire an accountant.
If you have no idea about how to budget your cash inflows and outflows for your business, then you need to hire an accountant. If you get frustrated with trying to figure out how your business’ finances are computed, maintained, or distributed, then you need to hire an accountant. If you have no idea when to expense or capitalize a business asset, then you need to hire an accountant. If you want to make sure your business’ bottom line is intact, you need to hire an accountant.
Accountability is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility; the state of being accountable (answerable or explainable). Accountants help you to be accountable for your business. After all, it is your business, and you want it to be successful, right? You need to make sure you have at least one or multiple Accountants that you can call on for their specific expertise.
Accountants have studied tremendously in their craft, and they maintain continuing education (CE) hours each year. Therefore, they are aware of new changes and things that affect their clients. There are accountants who only work with nonprofit organizations because that is their area of expertise. Some accountants specialize in working with certain industries.
For instance, some accountants may specialize in the needs of auto manufacturers, or the oil and gas industry, or restaurants. You just need to find the right accountant whose niche is in the areas where you need help.