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Thread: Small Business/Hiring a CPA

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    Default Small Business/Hiring a CPA

    I work for a small business, the business brings in about half a million dollars a year.

    I am an Operations Manager. The company used to be part of a larger one. When we were part of a larger one I assisted the finance department. I would gather receipts that my department had and made a version of a trial balance in Excel.

    When we split on our own my boss wanted me to take over all of the accounting/book keeping process. I've had no training/classes/experience in accounting/book keeping/HR-payroll etc.. But he doesn't seem to think we need an accountant and believes a small business doesn't need anyone else but me because software such as quickbooks allows anyone to do the bookkeeping for a company.
    Because I've had no training I'm feeling some frustrations.

    My question is for a small business making half a million dollars a year what should the company have? (me and a CPA or Accountant etc.?)
    If I stayed doing the bookkeeping how much interaction would I get with an account if we hired one?

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    root Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    If you hired an accountant you'd have as much interaction as you want. They work for you.
    As to the question "What should your company have?", the answer is that they should have the right people in the right positions to do the jobs that need to be done well.

    IMO your boss is very short sighted that borders on mismanagement. Keeping track of the money is the last place any company should cut corners, unless there's a reason he doesn't want an accurate accounting of the money. It actually doesn't make sense and I'd be a little suspicious about why he's so nonchalant about doing the books correctly..especially KNOWING that you have no training in this area.

    Understand that I'm naturally suspicious and it may be nothing. Bottom line, usually keeping track of the money is the last place a competent manager wants to leave to chance.

    Why did you peel off from the larger company?
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    If you can set up a "trial balance" in Excel, you can learn how to keep the company's books with Quickbooks, but it would behoove your company to hire an accountant as a consultant to set up your QB file and train you how to use it, and then have them review the company's accounts periodically (quarterly?). You should probably subscribe to a payroll service (the accountant could probably help you get that set up), and presumably the company will use the accountant to file the company tax returns....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matilda View Post
    I work for a small business, the business brings in about half a million dollars a year.

    I am an Operations Manager. The company used to be part of a larger one. When we were part of a larger one I assisted the finance department. I would gather receipts that my department had and made a version of a trial balance in Excel.

    When we split on our own my boss wanted me to take over all of the accounting/book keeping process. I've had no training/classes/experience in accounting/book keeping/HR-payroll etc.. But he doesn't seem to think we need an accountant and believes a small business doesn't need anyone else but me because software such as quickbooks allows anyone to do the bookkeeping for a company.
    Because I've had no training I'm feeling some frustrations.

    My question is for a small business making half a million dollars a year what should the company have? (me and a CPA or Accountant etc.?)
    If I stayed doing the bookkeeping how much interaction would I get with an account if we hired one?
    I think you would benefit from hiring an accountant - maybe not full time though

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    I agree with Harold. The company will not be able to make good business decisions without knowing it's financial position. Intuit's sales pitch has always been that you don't need to know accounting cos their program does it for you. That simply is not true. You do need to know what you are doing and why. When the company needs a P & L and Balance Sheet to apply for a loan, or some other reason, and an accurate one cannot be provided then you will spend a lot of money and time for someone to "clean up" the books.

    There are classes you can take that may help you to understand bookkeeping. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) offers a bookkeeping course you take at home at your own pace. Intuit also offers training classes online and in person in various cities through the year. Some courses are free, others charge.

    There are also forums where you can get help with specific questions. Intuit has one, which can be very helpful with QiuckBooks. AIPB also has a chat room with members from all industries and skill set that will help. These groups will help with particular problems and offer good advice.

    If this is a job you like and want to keep, and you want to learn these new skills, maybe you can discuss this with your boss and reach an agreement on some training to help you, which in turn will help him.

    Good luck!

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    Running a business without having a good accounting system and understanding key parts of it is like driving a race car in the Daytona 500 but blindfolded. You will get just about as far in the business as you would around the track.

    You won't know you have failed until you have and you will never know why you failed and how easy it might have been to fix it.
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    I agree with the earlier posts that you should have an accountant help set up QuickBooks or whatever accounting software you use. You may not be giving yourself enough credit as far as the day-to-day responsibility for maintaining the accounting records goes. If you had enough understanding to create the double entries needed to prepare a trial balance sheet in Excel, you may be perfectly capable of entering the data and preparing the reports your boss needs.

    One area that an accountant may be able to provide needed assistance is interpreting the financial statements for your boss. Your boss may already have an understanding of the information that can be gleaned from the statements, but identifying trends, spotting ratios that are out of character, or forecasting cash flows are often things that management relies on the company's financial staff to bring to the attention of the CEO and operations staff. The numbers on the financial statements may be 100% correct but if they are not presented in a format that provides information in a way that they are useful to management for making decisions, they are pretty worthless.

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    There are various systems out there that can help you in setting up your accounting system. Some of the best being NetSuite, Expensify and QuickBooks. Since these are cloud-based services, it is easier to access and multiple people to view the information.
    Last edited by vangogh; 05-11-2017 at 02:51 PM. Reason: removed self promotion

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    Obviously the boss has great faith in you. I don’t disagree that you can manage with quick Books. However, I do agree with others that you should take some basic training and should consult with an accountant to set up QBs properly.

    Many companies in that range operate on QB with intermittent or even just annual review and adjustments by accountant. QBs can be very simple or very comprehensive as needed. Unless the business has complex financial activities you should be able to handle it with , again, some accountants guidance.

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    Once you have a good program like Quick Books set up making the entries is pretty easy and straightforward. Having an accountant help set up the program might be a good investment. You really need to know what is happening with the business. Trying to operate a business without good accounting is like trying to drive blindfolded.
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