10 Questions to Ask When Considering Hiring an Accounting Firm

Question markWhen you look for an accountant, you don’t just want someone who can help you reduce your tax liability and prevent trouble with the IRS. You also want someone who can help make your business better. A good business accountant doesn’t just crunch numbers, he or she offers financial advice that improves your overall position. If you’re trying to decide whether to outsource your accounting needs or continue doing it in-house, you might be wondering what value you’ll receive in exchange for what you’ll pay.

Here are ten questions you might have when you consider outsourcing:


  1. What Are the Potential Risks of In-House Bookkeeping?

If you do your accounting in-house, hiring requires finding someone with the right experience and a proven track record. If you’ve been using employees who are self-taught, you might end up with processing that is sub-par. In-house bookkeeping requires internal controls to provide checks and balances and protect your business from fraud risk.

  1. Why Would an Organization Outsource?

Outsourcing improves the quality of the accounting department. Outsourced accounting firms give you access to a team of professionals committed to the financial operations of your company.

Sometimes businesses decide to outsource because they experience rapid growth and their old bookkeeping practices no longer keep pace. Others make the change because they recognize outsourcing can improve results.

  1. What Are the Benefits of Outsourcing?

CPA firms provide high-quality work and extensive expertise. All certified public accountants are required to attend continual professional development to stay up to date. They base that development on topics most relevant to your business.

  1. How Does Growth or Expansion Affect Accounting?

Sudden, rapid growth often creates demands existing staff can’t meet. Expansion exposes businesses to new situations, challenges, and regulations.

  1. What’s the Cost Difference?

When calculating the cost difference between in-house and outsourced accounting, start with itemizing all the expenses involved with in-house solutions. There isn’t just the bookkeeper or full-time accountant’s salary, there is also additional employee overhead including payroll taxes, benefits, and retirement plans.

CPA firms save money by conducting a thorough financial analysis to help your business operate efficiently. They work regularly with the IRS on behalf of clients, and offer audit support if ever needed.

  1. What about Confidential Data?

In today’s digital age, information security is a valid concern. Work with a firm that conducts background checks, ensures confidentiality, and has security measures in place for electronic data.

  1. How Long Does Outsourcing Take to Implement?

Your chosen CPA firm should take a few weeks to assess your company and create a proposal. After you accept their proposal, they’ll configure any equipment and start the conversion process. In most situations, secure documents can be transported by courier. Digital data can be transferred via internet, fax or email.

  1. What if an Organization Is Too Small?

Outsourcing can always be conducted to scale. If you need less, outsourcing can still help you save money and protect your business from financial mistakes.

  1. Will Business Owners Lose Control Through Outsourcing?

CPA firms often give owners more control, because they have up-to-date, accurate information to make decisions. Owners have the opportunity to review and must authorize all disbursements.

  1. How Should Businesses Choose a CPA Firm?

Owners should interview firms they’re considering, comparing their fees, specialties, certifications, and availability. Choose a firm that has worked with businesses like yours and offers a high level of service.

Gilmore Jasion Mahler Audit Partner Bob Bobek contributed this article. Did you find this blog helpful?  You can receive more informational articles and tax strategy ideas direct to your inbox. Be sure to sign up for our free GJM tax newsletter Focus. You may also want to consider signing up for some of our free quarterly industry newsletters, including The Manufacturer (for those in manufacturing & distribution), On-Site (construction & real estate), Practice Management Advisor (physician practices and other healthcare entities) and The Expert (with a focus on business valuation and litigation support). Sign up here for any of GJM's free newsletters.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities

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