Finance: Hire an accountant to make money

Monday, March 26, 2012

A. The accountant has two jobs: helping you pay as little as legally possible and pushing the tax liability into the future as far as possible. Having explained the job, selecting the accountant should be a lot like hiring an employee. 

You want to ask questions to learn about the accountant's practice. The accountant can ask questions about your business if you hire them.

Some sample questions are:

4 Are there other DME businesses you perform accounting duties for? If the accountant does not do the books for other DME businesses, how would this one know how to compare your experiences with another?

4 How many other small businesses do you perform accounting duties for? This is a fall back question. If you do not get the answer you want to the first question, at least you want an accountant that has the experience of working with a business owner who is wearing many hats.

4 How will you help me make money? An accountant once said if his annual fees were $6,000, his job was to show how to save $6,000 or make $6,000 or a combination of the two so that the accountant was a source of income instead of an expense. You are looking for an accountant with the same idea.

4 To change to this accountant, how many years of the business history does he need to review? Experience has been that some accountants want you to spend thousands of dollars for them to review, and possibly restate your financials. This idea has never made sense as I have not seen a situation where the review resulted in getting money back. HME

Tom Shay is principal of Profits Plus Solutions. Reach him at or 727-464-2182.