Entrepreneur Beginners Guide
“Hiring a Professional Accountant is Money Well Spent”
I have no use for bodyguards, but I have very specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants. —Elvis Presley, singer, actor
Before I knew better, accountants were about as fun to visit as dentists. In fact, if you had asked me whether I wanted a dentist to fill my cavity or an accountant to’ do my tax return, I probably would have chosen dental work. My reasoning: Although the dentist would inflict more physical pain, at, least his services would be cheaper than the accountant’s. I was naïve and young then. Now I would most certainly prefer to visit my accountant.
When starting out, most entrepreneurs do everything they can to cut corners. That’s understandable, because resources are low. They serve as the CEO, director of marketing, director of sales, mailroom clerk, custodian, and accountant all in one. During the early stages of a venture, no one wants to be wasteful, so the more tasks an entrepreneur assumes, the more money is saved—or so the thinking goes. This misconception, though, will not only drive you nuts to the point of burnout, but it will also cost you. Contrary to what Intuit would like you to believe, you don’t save money keeping your own books. It’s not worth the headache to be your own accountant.
During my first year as an entrepreneur, I quickly decided that trying to figure out how to be an accountant was not worth my time. I drove to the closest H&R Block and asked for help. An older gentleman, who reminded me of Arnold Palmer, helped me get on the right track. He was pricey, but I was glad to have him crunch numbers and save me the hassle. I stayed with him even when he left H&R Block to start his own practice in rural Georgia. I stopped going after the second year, when his new office was located in a dilapidated building, complete with bad wooden paneling, plastic dividers between dingy offices, and a questionable gun exchange. It’s probably confabulation, but I think there was even a stuffed bear in the office, too. I had my limits, so I found a new guy who turned out to be cheaper and more knowledgeable.
Since then, I have had the same accountant for almost ten years. He’s great lie does his work quickly, reminds me when forms and payments are due, gives me great advice, advocates on my behalf, and is highly accessible. Even better, his office is fairly new, and no dead animals are hanging from the wall. He saves me tens of thousands of dollars that I’d be wasting because of lack of knowledge. If I could convert time to money, that figure would be much higher.
If you are still not convinced that you should hire an accountant, ponder these three compelling reasons.
- Accountants save you money. The money I spend having a professional accountant crunch numbers for me is much less than the money he saves me. During tax time, for example, I would probably miss some important deductions. America’s tax code is highly complicated, and unless you are a professional, you are like-ly to misunderstand something or totally overlook an opportunity to keep more of your money. Say the accountant recommends a deduction that yields an annual savings of $500. Over the next ten years, I would save $5,000 that otherwise I would have paid out.
- Accountants save you time. This is a no-brainer. As CEO of your company, you have better things to do than to reconcile expense sheets and issue 1099s. Your focus should be on growing your company. An accountant frees you from this burden and reduces your stress.
- Accountants are not that expensive. To continue with our tax scenario, an accountant can charge from $400 to $800 to file a basic annual tax return. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. I as-sure you that you will get that money back. Put to the test, any good accountant will pass it.
As an entrepreneur, you have to decide what services to pay for, and accounting is one of them. Although accounting services may seem expensive, especially if you are just starting out, I guarantee that you will save Money in the end. From the very beginning, finding a good accountant is a high priority. Don’t think of doing business without one