When you're running a small business, you may need to keep your personnel costs low by choosing the employees that can do the most for your business. So when it comes to the many types of financial employees-- including consultants, accountants, and bookkeepers-- who do you choose? Here is a guide to help you decide who could add the most to your business.
A consultant is the best choice if you only need help with a specific aspect of your financial management. For instance, you might feel comfortable and have the time to do bookkeeping yourself, but choose to outsource your payroll in order to free up your energy for other tasks. Payroll services can also help you put together a sound tax return by keeping track of payroll tax amounts on a rolling basis. Or, you not want to spend time learning about tax regulation at all; in that case, you might consult an accounting firm or a tax reduction consultant to help you with best practices for filing. This can be a great strategy for only spending money for help when you need it, and it's a good way to go when you don't have enough work for a full-time employee.
Accountants can add a lot to your business, whether on a full-time or consulting business. Many small businesses like to start out by using a consulting firm for their accounting needs until they need to hire someone on permanently. An accountant's eye is very helpful for tasks that require a lot of legal and financial knowledge; doing your taxes and preparing for an audit are two times when you may want a specialist to look over your shoulder and make sure all of your numbers are correct. In these cases, mistakes can be very costly.
Finally, bookkeepers have an important place on the team because of their versatility. A bookkeeper can handle all kinds of everyday tasks including managing invoices and bills, organizing financial paperwork, and preparing records to send to an accountant or other consultant. They may also use software to prepare management reports and other in-house financial records. When you're just starting out, a bookkeeper is of a lot of value for handling the work of business upkeep and administration. And a professional bookkeeper can put a lot more time and care into things like invoicing clients, where a professional touch can make all the difference in your business' appearance.