How do I know when it’s time to hire an accountant? Even more importantly, how the hell do I find someone who isn’t going to screw me over?
In Need of Money Help
There is a lot of noise out there about how the financial industry is set up in a way that screws over the consumer. And while some of it may be true, the reality still remains that we can’t always handle everything by ourselves. In fact, there comes a time when it may be beneficial to hire someone to help with finances.
Furthermore, there are good accountants, financial planners and coaches out there if you know where to look. Essentially, if you don’t want to get screwed you’ll just have to educate yourself.
So how do you know when it’s time to hire an accountant?
When any of the following is happening…
2014 was a big year for me. With an Amazon bestselling book, new rates for both coaching and writing and more business clarity than ever I was able to double my business income from the prior year.
I definitely had some strengths. I knew how to make money. I knew how to get people to pay me. I was more comfortable with taking strategic risks. I had no problem putting myself out there. And I was really good at saving, in fact I’d sock away money like a squirrel socks away nuts.
However, I was also keenly aware of my challenges:
- As a firm believer in multiple streams of income, I had money coming from different places and not everything is taxed the same way. Taxes are not something to be fucked with so I clearly needed help.
- While I was still conducting money dates and stayed pretty on top of everything, I sure as hell did not have time to mess around with Quickbooks, reconcile bank statements and categorize everything.
- While I tried my best to always pay myself first and keep everything separate, the lines between personal and business were becoming blurry because I did not have a solid understanding of a business budget versus a personal budget (two different animals).
- I have no problem spending a lot of money on my business. However, I got in the habit of doing this at my own expense, often times dipping into savings to make big investments. Not smart.
- More money meant more responsibility. It also meant more stuff I needed to learn and a more complicated tax situation than I was comfortable handling on my own. Calculating estimated taxes when you make more money? Profit and Loss statements? Some things count as deductions and others don’t? Whaaaa? Yeah, I needed to hire someone to help with finances.
- Sometimes I just wish I had someone to tell me “No, there’s no money in the business to do that right now.” I’m impulsive, especially when it comes to my business, and sometimes I need to be brought back down to earth. Or at the very least told to think something through.
- I knew that if I wanted to continue growing that I would need to hire someone to help with finances. Not just because I no longer had the time to do all of it myself, but because I knew I had certain challenges when it came to measuring and understanding what was happening in my business from a financial perspective. ( I was, after all, an English Literature major. I’m as right brained as it gets.)
By mid-2014 I already knew I needed some help with managing everything. I spent some time looking for an accountant and someone who could help me manage my books. I met the perfect one while waiting for my flight to New Orleans for FinCon last year (Because when you want something bad enough the whole universe conspires to help you get it).
We spent months getting me up to date in Quickbooks and organizing everything so that it’s systematized and tangible. And now I can breathe a whole lot easier because I have the help I need. Furthermore, we’re friends so he is able to balance out my weaknesses with his strengths.
Bottom Line Is This…
If you’re in a situation where either you no longer feel comfortable handling all the money yourself, or you feel like you have certain challenges that you don’t know how to deal with on your own, then it may be time to hire an accountant.
And then you have to keep some stuff in mind:
It’s okay to admit you don’t know everything. We all have strengths and challenges when it comes to money. Your job is to get the help you need for the challenges.
You must see this as an investment. Good accounting isn’t cheap. And it shouldn’t be. These people are handling your money. It’s very personal, time-consuming and it can get crazy. Pay someone to help you now so it’s not more expensive later on if shit hits the fan.
Build a support team based on what you need. Not all financial support is created equal. It took me a while to find an accountant who actually understands how I make my money, what I needed and where I wanted to go. Get very clear on what you actually need and then find someone based on that. Furthermore, accountants, coaches and financial planners are not all the same thing.
What you pay attention to expands. I’ve had many people tell me that as soon as they started paying attention to their money they started making more of it. The fact is you don’t know where you’re going unless you have a clear picture of where you are.
If you’re just hiring someone for help with taxes, make sure they’re signing the return themselves. Way too many shady people out there who do some crazy shit and then sign the return as if they are you.
If you don’t understand something, ask questions. This is a partnership. The last thing you want is people doing stuff with your money (or advising you to do stuff) that you yourself don’t understand.
Just because you hire someone doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. You’re hiring someone to help you with your money, not control it all. And that’s a good thing because no one cares about your money more than you do. You will still have to keep good records. You will still have to pay attention. You will still have to be involved.
Not all bookkeepers are accountants and not all accountants are bookkeepers. Decide whether you want two in one or not. I personally did.
Free Income Tracking Template
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