Getting your business off the ground is an exciting time for any entrepreneur. Your hard work, commitment, and planning have provided the ultimate payoff—you’re making money! But many business owners aren’t equipped to handle the onslaught of financial questions and big decisions that their businesses face early on; how should I set up my business? How do I file my taxes? What can I write off? What can I manage on my own? What do I need professional help with?
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Depending on the industry you operate in, the size of your business, and your service model, there are key factors you’ll want to consider to ensure that your business is set up for success. Things like:
- Determining the best business structure (sole proprietor, LLC, corporation, partnership, etc.)
- Creating a financially sound business plan
- Opening and managing a business bank account
- Complying with government regulations and requirements
- Understanding your tax obligations
- Managing and tracking business expenses
- Determining a viable payment system (for yourself and your employees/vendors)
HOW A CPA CAN HELP
If navigating this process alone feels a bit overwhelming, this is where you can lean on a CPA, or certified public accountant. CPAs are licensed by the state and have the ability to act as accounting consultants, tax consultants, auditors, business and financial advisors, and much more.
Partnering with a CPA may be crucial to the success of your business, especially in the early stages as you lay the financial groundwork that will have long-term implications for your business. But, like so many decisions you’ll face as a new business owner, it’s important to find the right person for the job. A few tips to keep in mind:
- Identify your needs – first and foremost, you need to understand the kind of work or responsibilities you need help with. Will you need monthly financial statements and bookkeeping tasks, or are you looking for tax planning advice, tax return preparation, or audited financial statements?
- Experience matters – one size doesn’t fit all. You’ll want someone with experience preparing financial documents for companies of a similar size and revenue to yours.
- Be selective – don’t be afraid to shop around until you’ve found an advisor who can service your business’s needs, and who you feel will work well with your business.
Just remember, your new title of CEO, founder, or business owner doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers right away. Network with fellow business owners, call on your industry partners, and don’t be afraid to rely on the help of professionals to get you started on the right path.