SCORE Small Business Blog

How an Accountant Can Help Your Business

Does your small business use an accountant? Then you’re in good company. According to the Sage Small Business Accountants Usage 2013 Study, seven in 10 (71 percent) of small business owners use the services of an outside accountant—most often to handle corporate taxes, personal taxes and accounting.

Most business owners who hire an accountant do so very early in the life of their businesses. More than half (53 percent) of those who have an accountant hired him or her at startup and 13 percent more did so within six months of launch. More than half (61 percent) found the accountant through a personal referral; for 17 percent, their accountant is also a friend or family member.

Most small business owners (55 percent) feel their outside accountant is critical to the success of their businesses.

So why would a small business owner not have an accountant? The most common reason given is that entrepreneurs say they prefer to handle the accounting themselves, but 25 percent also admit cost is a factor.

If you like doing your own accounting (maybe numbers are your thing), that’s great, and more power to you. But before you continue doing so, consider:

Is accounting the best use of your time? Yes, it’s important to keep tabs on your business’s finances—and I’m not suggesting you should never look at the books. But in most cases, the business owner has more profitable areas to focus on, like new product development or business development, while accounting is a task that’s easy to outsource.

If you’re trying to save money by not hiring an accountant, let me just remind you of the old saying, “Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.” A good accountant can save you money by recommending smart tax planning strategies for both your business and your personal taxes; advising you on retirement planning; helping you build value in your company so that when you’re ready to sell or retire, you can get the best possible price; and helping you obtain financing, whether by taking out a small business loan or seeking investors.

Accounting is one of the tasks in a small business where it pays to call in the pros. You can also benefit from the help of pros by making an appointment with the mentors at SCORE who can help you get a handle on your accounting, marketing and everything else involved in running and growing your business. Visit to get matched with a mentor today.

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. | @rieva | More from Rieva

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Discussion (5) Comment

  1. During tax season, it is very important for all business owners to seek the advice of an accountant and not “go it alone.”

    “So why would a small business owner not have an accountant? The most common reason given is that entrepreneurs say they prefer to handle the accounting themselves, but 25 percent also admit cost is a factor.”

    Interesting that so many people don’t realize that it could cost them more in the long run.

    Great article!

  2. A SimpsonVisitor

    I don’t think this is restricted to small businesses. Any Small to Medium, or larger company can benefit from outsourcing their accounting tasks, or investing in Accounting software.

  3. Kelly BorosVisitor

    Outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping needs can actually save money over time. It frees up your time so you can focus on other areas of your business (like growth and promotions). Plus having an expert handle your taxes, they can identify deductions and savings you may not even be aware of.

  4. Rieva,
    Nice post. It is true that small businesses can benefit from having a good CPA. Also, about small businesses and their bookkeeping skills- can be a bit negligent. Many of them don’t even know how their businesses are doing until the tax returns! But, what can you do?

  5. Blair IllianoVisitor

    Great article, Rieva. It is true that having an accountant at hand makes things much easier for small business owners. CPAs also particularly help around tax season!


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