A certified public accountant (CPA) is an accountant who has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam and met other state requirements. They put a lot of time and effort into achieving this title, and respect, credibility, and being able to charge a premium come with the along with it.
A CPA is responsible for preparing and analyzing financial reports for people and companies. They also audit financial reports to check for compliance and track a company’s financial status. If considering using a CPA for your small business’ bookkeeping, here’s what it takes, the benefits of working with a CPA, and additional considerations.
What It Takes to Use a CPA for your Small Business’ Bookkeeping
- Firm Understanding of Agreement
CPA’s utilize their time by taking on specific tasks, like tax preparation or preparing year-end financial reports. If working with a CPA, you need to understand what they will do in terms of your business’ bookkeeping and what responsibilities still fall on you and your business.
For example, most CPA’s don’t take on a business’ daily reconciliation unless it’s a large corporation. Companies of this size likely have several CPA’s and bookkeepers along with a team of accountants. You may have coverage from your CPA during tax time, but who will manage your bookkeeping activities?
- System for Capturing and Reporting Activity
Since a CPA is likely part of a firm or running their own business, they aren’t in your office daily and watching over your business’ activity. You need to be able to properly track your business’ activity and provide it to your CPA so they can put it into your bookkeeping system if part of your agreement.
CPA’s are not inexpensive options. We will cover this a little more below.
- CPA’s are skilled and trained.
- They are held to high standards and need to meet ongoing requirements and take education courses to maintain their status.
- CPA’s and CPA firms may offer some type of protection or insurance in the case that they make a mistake.
- Whatever you can get off of your plate will help maximize the value of your time, allowing you to focus on the growth of your business instead of bookkeeping. Even getting your tax documents prepared and filed by a CPA is a benefit that will ease your stress and help you manage the rest of your activities.
3 Additional Things to Consider
- CPA’s don’t traditionally manage the day-to-day transactions of a small business.
- A CPA’s time is extremely valuable, and you’ll have to pay for it. The average CPA in America earns $62,418/year, compared to a bookkeeper, which makes $35,787/year. You are likely to pay more than what you would pay an internal employee to have a CPA handle your books.
- If your CPA does not handle daily transactions, you may need both a bookkeeper or bookkeeping service, and a CPA. This allows you to only use a CPA when absolutely necessary. Many small businesses we work with use CPA’s to finalize and file their taxes after we’ve compiled their files. This makes it easy on the entrepreneur and CPA, and less expensive due to the decrease in time it will take the CPA to complete.
This article is part of the Bookkeeping Options for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs series by Kahuna Accounting. For a summary of the six most popular options that entrepreneurs choose when handling their small business’ books, read the initial piece in the series here: Bookkeeping for Small Business: Six Options for Entrepreneurs.