Handling the Accounting Function in a New Business
When a business is new or very small it's hard to decide how best to handle the accounting. Do it yourself? Hire an in-house bookkeeper? Outsource it? The best investment a business can make is in a good bookkeeper. In the early stages just get a solid bookkeeper who can handle the day-to-day and find a CPA to do your taxes and with whom you can consult on a quarterly basis. There's no widely accepted credential for bookkeepers, so you have to vet them pretty rigorously to make sure you are getting someone worth his/her salt, and when it comes to rates you get what you pay for. Finding a CPA is also a bit of a process, but at least there's a state-regulated license that allows you to feel a certain level of assurance about his/her skill set. That being said, you can count on bigger firms costing more than smaller firms, but bigger isn't always better. Ask around and talk to other people about who they use. In my opinion, the technical skills are a given, but what really sets a good accountant apart from a mediocre accountant is their communication skills. Make sure whoever you hire is someone who can clearly communicate the story behind the numbers.