A Certified Public Accountant is the second person on our list as one of the must-haves on your startup’s Professional Advisory Team. In our Starting a Business series we know that a CPA will need to be part of your team. In this article, we dive into all you need to know about picking this vital advisor.
The next team member you want to hire right off the bat to prepare your business’s beginning is a Certified Public Accountant. Referred to as a CPA, I like to call this advisor the point guard of your dream team. This professional is your number cruncher. Typically, the CPA will prepare and review your business’s financial reports. She’ll help you understand and interpret the following business documents:
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It’s your CPA’s job to measure the financial information reported on your income statements and balance sheets. Then, they must prepare and disclose it to the government in the form of tax returns and accompanying paperwork. In my company, I have to send a balance sheet to the Securities & Exchange Commission (the SEC) on a yearly basis to show how many assets and liabilities my company has. Thankfully, my CPA takes care of that for me. She makes sure that the numbers are accurate, that they’ve been audited properly, and that they get sent to the correct agencies. Then, based on the information he reviews and reports, she offers me strategies for minimizing my tax liabilities.
Like a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, a CPA must abide by certain ethical, fiduciary standards and codes of conduct required and enforced by a Certified Accounting Board. Therefore, you will not be dealing with a salesperson who is just trying to sell you a product.
Since the CPA is not earning commission from product sales, she’ll likely charge flat or hourly fees like your CFP®. I have seen fees for helping small business owners in the $200 – $500 an hour or roughly $4000 – $6000 a year. I know some CPAs who charge business owners $900 a month to do their payroll, their bookkeeping, their personal taxes, and their business taxes.