Accountants vs. Accounting Software: How to Maximize Value from Both

Contending with financial tasks isn’t every small business owner’s forte. After all, the passion that drove you to start your business likely wasn’t a passion for managing your books.

However, as an entrepreneur you know that these tasks are crucial to growing a successful business, and you often have to learn on your feet to maintain the financial health of your company.

That being said, you have many options available to you to manage your finances, and you don’t have to do it all on your own. Having a solid accounting system in place is the first step. Knowing what to outsource to an accountant or bookkeeper as your business grows is the next.

While hiring an accountant may seem like a big step for your business, consulting with an experienced professional might be just what you need to give yourself a competitive advantage and free up your time to focus on your entrepreneurial strengths.

The key is knowing what tasks to keep internal, and what tasks warrant professional assistance in order to maximize your return on investment in accounting services.

When to Enlist for Help

In many cases, you can handle the basic day-to-day tasks required to successfully manage a small business. However, sometimes important events crop up that require a little more finesse and know-how. This is when you might consider bringing on an accountant or bookkeeper.

For example, making sure finances are in order at year-end could be a job for a professional. Filing taxes might also be an appropriate time for outside consultation.

Bookkeepers and accountants can provide expert insight, offer advice on how to grow and cultivate the business during other times of the year, draft ideas on how to reduce costs and target high-value customers. 

A bookkeeper can also work with you to find ways to save your business money, which is even easier when the right software is brought into the mix.

Further, a strong relationship with your accountants will benefit your company in the long term. And when all parties are on the same page today, you’re setting your business up for success in the future.

What You Can Do on Your Own

With the right accounting tools in place, you can handle many day-to-day accounting task internally, such as data entry for accounts payable, accounts receivable and inventory.

Many business owners find that they can get into a data entry pattern quickly if they have the right resources at their disposal. Often, accountants will even recommend that businesses complete these tasks internally in order to use company resources in the most effective manner.

That said, an accountant or bookkeeper can certainly help handle the data entry tasks in the beginning so you can learn how to budget your time and gain confidence managing your books. However, you can maximize your investment professional accounting services by eventually taking over these tasks. 

A Case Study: Lisa’s Chop Shop

Lisa Hau, owner and stylist at Vancouver’s Lisa’s Chop Shop, needed to strike a balance between the demands of managing her business’ finances and spending time on the things she loves to do – connecting with people and styling hair.

By setting up accounting software for her business was able to learn how to handle tasks like payroll, data entry and processing.

While she still employs an accountant, she can easily take care of the basic financial  responsibilities for her business, which frees up her accountant to find new ways to grow the company and identify better insights. 

Be Sure to Bring It All Together

Of course, what you do in your accounting software should be completely independent from the work your accountant does. Sharing access to your accounting system with your accountant is essential so they can have a real-time look into the finances of your business.  

By bringing both worlds together, you can have peace of mind knowing that your business is always in good hands, whether their yours or a professional’s.