The three cardinal rules of hiring an accountant for a small business
When first launching their own business, many small business owners tend to don every hat: they’re everything from the marketer, to the sales person and even sometimes, the delivery service too. One other role that they seem to take on is that of the business’s accountant.
The problem is that whilst most small business owners may have a basic understanding of the financial side of running a business, the reality is that they are by no means experts. Eventually they’re bound to reach a point when things become a little too complicated for them to carry on riding solo – and this is when hiring a suitable accountant will take top priority. If you’re a young accountant potentially looking to land your next job within the world of start-ups, take note of the three cardinal rules most small business owners will bear in mind when hiring an accountant to take the reins.
Before we get to the rules themselves, it’s important to mention that when it comes to hiring an accountant for small business, many entrepreneurs will turn to others for recommendations. This makes perfect sense: they’re far more likely to employ someone who has been referred to them by someone they trust. The key point here is to remember to do what you can to make a good impression on people you meet and work for, because you never know if that could be the difference between recommending you for the job or not.
Rule #1: Services
Prospective employers will definitely look at the services you’re able to provide. It’s likely that they’ll want to hire someone who can offer a range of services, but that will of course depend on the ones that are right for their business specifically. If you offer specialised services, then it may be a good idea to try and match those to particular businesses you think will benefit from them most. Generally, small businesses will seek accountants who can do a bit of everything so that all financial elements of their business can be handled by a single person.
Rule #2: Experience
This one is a given. When looking to bring an accountant on board, small business owners are going to look at the experience candidates possess. They’re likely to look at two specific things:
- Does this person have previous experience in my industry?
- Does this person have experience working in the world of small business?
The financial needs of a small business can be complex and dynamic, and that’s why having previous experience in this area will stand you in good stead. More specifically, entrepreneurs may even look at whether or not you’ve worked in a similar business to theirs before and one that had a similar structure too. In their minds, they will then have to spend less time orientating you and this can be an attractive pull for them when it comes to hiring.
Rule #3: Personality
Last (but not least) your potential employer will look at whether or not your ”style” and approach will be compatible with the business. This can be difficult to deduce just from simply talking to someone, so they’re likely to offer relevant scenarios during the interview and then ask you how you would deal with them. Your answers will help them determine whether or not your personality and approach will indeed be a good fit for them and their business.
There are of course many other things taken into account when small business owners set out to hire an accountant, but these three rules are definitely a good start. If you’re going for an interview, remember these and try and prepare accordingly. Best of luck!
If they don’t have it already, you can always consider getting the Sage One Accountants Edition for your accounting practice. Collaboration with your client will never be easier and you definitely won’t look back.
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