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BUSINESS ADVICE • 1 AUGUST 2022 • 7 MIN READ

How to find the right small business accountant

a man and a woman checking their financial statements on their laptop

Maybe you’ve just started a small business and are thinking about hiring an accountant. Or you may have been in the business for a while and feel ready to hire a professional. Finding the right accountant for your small business is not easy.

Considering a lot of small businesses are on a tight budget, the cost of hiring external help is always an important consideration. However, a good accountant for small businesses acts as a financial and business adviser in ways you might not expect.

In this blog, we will explain:

  • What an accountant does
  • How to find the right small business accountant
  • How much does an accountant cost
  • When to hire an accountant
  • How to work with an accountant

What an accountant does

A good small business accountant provides essential business support as a business advisor. Their services include preparing financial statements and tax returns, cash flow statements and cash flow forecasts, tax planning and minimisation, dealing with ATO, assisting you with business acquisitions, and much more. Most importantly, they tailor their services to your business’s needs. 

A common headache for small business owners is knowing what is tax deductible and how much they can deduct from their taxable income. A good small business accountant can help you minimise your tax liability by considering things such as asset depreciation.

How to find the right small business accountant

The best accountant is the one who understands your industry and business. Generally speaking, here’s what you should consider when finding the right accountant for your small business:

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How well they understand your industry and your business

Look for an accountant that has experience in your industry. For example, if you are in the real estate industry, you may want to seek professional advice from someone who has experience in real estate as the tax implications can be more complicated. An accountant who knows your industry can also help you with common tax deductions, and alert you to any specific upcoming rules or regulations that may impact your business.

At Beany, we have a team of knowledgeable support specialists to help you with any inquiries.

If they communicate jargon-free.

Accounting and tax rules can be complicated, and small business owners may be bogged down by all the technical language. Look for an accountant that speaks in a simple and practical way. In this case, they not only can help you to understand your business, but also you can free up more time and get more done.

If they keep on top of things

Accounting and tax regulations are being updated constantly. While some changes may benefit your business, some are not. A good accountant will always keep on top of things and tell you what it means to your business.

If they are accessible

Whether you prefer to have face-to-face meetings or online catch-ups with your accountant, accessibility is the key. You don’t want to wait for days to get an answer from your accountant, especially with something urgent or instead of focusing on your business, you have to travel for hours to see your accountant.

Thanks to technologies and the new norm of working remotely, some accountants are adapting to this change and offering online services. For example, you can get access to Beany accountants anywhere you feel like – whether it’s in your kitchen or your car. Besides, you can expect a snappy turnaround time from our support team and your dedicated accountant so the answers to your questions are coming at you fast.

How much does an accountant cost

There is no easy answer to tell you exactly how much an accountant would cost, every business has its own needs. For example, more effort will be needed if you are buying or selling residential properties than being a sole trader and offering services to one client only. 

While some accountants charge a retainer or a fixed monthly fee (e.g., Beany accountants), many accountants charge by the hour. Pricing can be varied depending on the services you need. On average, the hourly rate for an accountant is between $100 – $300 per hour. 

With Beany, we offer a fixed monthly fee depending on your yearly business revenue. It feels like you are on a payment plan with an accounting service. You can also customise your packages according to your needs by adding addons to your plans that suit you. 

At a glance, it may seem painful to pay so much money to get your taxes done, but remember you are saving hours of labor on accounting tasks so you could focus on growing your business. Also, an accountant will have a better understanding of your numbers and the regulations, so the benefit of hiring an accountant will outweigh the cost of hiring them. 

It’s also important to know accounting fees are tax deductible. This means the amount of money you spend on accounting services (including accounting software) will be deducted from your taxable income, therefore, a lower tax rate will be applied. 

When to hire an accountant

Small business owners might have the misconception that an accountant will cost too much and they can’t afford it. But considering how much time you take to reconcile your bank accounts and file taxes, you should ask yourself, is that a good use of your time? Let alone the risk of making errors, especially when you are wearing multiple hats just like many other small business owners. 

For example, if your hourly rate is $100 per hour and you spend 5 hours per month doing accounting tasks, this means you are losing a minimum of $500 per month.

If you let an accountant take care of your taxes, they would likely cost less than you would pay yourself. You’ll not only free up your time to focus on generating more revenue for your business but also have peace of mind knowing your books are taken care of by the experts and annual compliance is sorted.

So when is the right time to hire an accountant? Here are some milestones indicating it’s the time for small business owners to consider hiring an accountant: 

  • When you are starting your business
  • When you’ve experienced rapid growth of your business
  • When you plan on expanding your business
  • When you have to deal with the government (e.g., ATO)
  • When it’s time to file taxes
  • When you are getting audited
  • When you want to apply for a business loan or overdraft
  • When you plan to buy or sell your business

How to work with an accountant

Here are some frequently asked questions for small business owners to help you get the most out of your accountant.

  1. How does the business structure impact my small business?
  2. What business expenses are tax deductible, and what business expenses are not?
  3. How can I improve my cash flow?
  4. Should I register for GST?
  5. How should I prepare for tax season?
  6. What records should I keep?
  7. How can you help me to grow my business?
  8. Are there any upcoming regulations and legislation that may have an impact on my small business?

How Beany can help?

We’re an online accounting firm that is always right here for you, your accounting pain relief. The most advanced technology lets us work way more closely with you than a normal accountant would.

We have a dedicated team of remote accountants to take care of your business no matter where you are, so you can focus on growing your business. We take out the ‘fluff’, break down the barriers and get things done. Looking out for you is what we are all about. Get started for free today. 

Tori as a dog

Tori Ma

Performance marketer

Performance marketer at Beany, and into true crime documentaries.

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