How to Find and Evaluate an Accountant
Finances, especially taxes, can be a huge pain in the rear end of any business owner. As you grow and expand, they just get exponentially more complicated, especially when other employees, benefits, self-employment tax and the other vagaries of growing a business come into play. For an ecommerce company, it can be an even bigger problem, as you have unique issues and concerns to worry about.
So you decide to hire an accountant in order to really concentrate on the stuff that matters to you: finding product, talking to customers, discovering new ways to sell. But where do you find someone who’s both reliable and knowledgeable?
Luckily, there are several places you can go, and you don’t even have to leave the Internet!
Facebook & More
Wait, you can find accountants on Facebook? Well, maybe not directly (unless you love gambling), but someone in your friends list knows somebody in the industry. If not, they have a friend of a friend who they can recommend. It’s not just Facebook, either; hop on Twitter and ask around.
If you really feel like spending some time, log on to LinkedIn and start searching. No doubt someone in your connections has a recommendation for you, or may even be an accountant themselves and you just forgot!
Believe it or not, a few companies and organizations out there actively want to help you find an accountant. Even better, one will not only do that, they can assist you in many other ways to get your feet off the ground.
The latter is SCORE, an organization that tries to assist small businesses in their goals. Depending on your needs, it’s either free or super cheap, and they have everything from employee recs to friendly advice to mentors who walk you through difficult steps.
If you’d rather get a direct recommendation without all the extra stuff, you can try out Teaspiller. The service is totally free and links you with an accountant suited directly to your needs. You can search by location, specialty (taxes, day to day expenses), or even by credentials.
There are more than likely several businesses nearby that have accountants on hand for you to hire. These businesses also most likely have websites for you to see what all they offer. Search around with terms like “Your city” +”accountant” to get an idea what’s around. You may be surprised at what you find, and you can go visit them in their office.
Of course, this is really going in blind. And while most accountants are on the up and up, we’ve all heard the horror stories of companies getting hosed or taken to the cleaners. (Check out this year’s list of Common Tax Scams from the IRS.) Just be careful out there, especially around tax time!