Should You Hire a Bookkeeper, an Accountant, a CFO, or a Financial Planner?
Your Guide to Choosing the Right Financial Professional for Your Business
Running a business is hard work. Serving clients, marketing, onboarding, managing employees, the list goes on. However, regardless of what industry you’re in, the size of your business, the number of employees, or even your client list – knowing and understanding the numbers of your business is critical to success.
For most business owners, this is an additional headache they don’t want to deal with. That’s why it’s much easier to simply hire a financial professional to take care of it for you. But… who should you hire? Do you need a bookkeeper or an accountant? Perhaps a CFO would be better suited to the task? When would you hire a financial planner instead?
Knowing which financial professional you need in your business can be tricky. In this article, we’re highlighting the key differences between bookkeepers, accountants, CFOs, and financial planners, so that you can make an informed decision about the kind of support you need in your business.
Do You Need a Bookkeeper for Your Business?
A bookkeeper’s primary function is to handle records of the day-to-day incoming and outgoing transactions. They keep the financial records of the business (e.g. invoices and receipts for expenses) up-to-date and current. They maintain clear and detailed information about money flowing into and out of the business. Bookkeepers also help to reconcile transactions in your business bank accounts with the business activities that are recorded in your accounting software. Bookkeepers can additionally issue financial reports like the profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows.
A good bookkeeper should be detail-oriented with a keen eye for spotting small inconsistencies or errors. They should be highly organized and meticulous to ensure that every last penny is accounted for and information is presented clearly.
If you decide to hire a bookkeeper, consider asking them questions like:
- How often do they update your bookkeeping?
- How often do they reconcile the books?
- What accounting software do they use?
- Are they Quickbooks certified?
When Should You Hire an Accountant?
Often confused with bookkeepers, accountants perform a related but different set of services. Accountants can be described as tax specialists who help business owners get a high-level view of their numbers. Based on the numbers and reports created by the bookkeeper, an accountant derives tax projections and calculates your quarterly estimated tax payments. They can also help you with filing your tax returns.
Some accountants may offer tax planning services where they work closely with you to minimize your tax liabilities and maximize your tax breaks and credits to reduce your total tax bill. They may offer ongoing support to plan your taxes proactively with several check-ins throughout the year.
When hiring an accountant, remember that they may have different certifications such as Degree in Accounting, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and Enrolled Agent. Depending on their qualifications, they may be able to offer different services. Doing your due diligence will help you hire the right accountant for your business.
Some accountants may also offer bookkeeping services alongside their accounting services. This can streamline your bookkeeping and tax preparation process by ensuring that your books are in order and you are well prepared for tax season.
What does a CFO do?
The CFO or Chief Financial Officer is a senior role often found in more established or complex organizations. They focus on turning the numbers in a business into usable data for the leadership team to guide business decisions. They provide insights about the business from a profitability standpoint as well as a cash flow perspective by analyzing and interpreting the bookkeeping numbers. CFOs can be a useful asset to a business as they can evaluate the financial strengths and weaknesses and provide advice or guidance on the next steps to grow the business or achieve other financial goals.
In larger organizations, this may be a full-time position but for a smaller business, it is possible to outsource and hire a fractional CFO on a part-time, contract, or retainer basis. In these situations, the CFO would typically meet with the business owner weekly or monthly to provide helpful information that can guide business decisions.
Should You Hire a Financial Planner?
Most of us started our businesses to create wealth for our loved ones and to pass it on to future generations. Once you have built up some wealth in your business, it may be wise to hire a financial planner. Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) play an important role in your personal finances in helping you build wealth.
Financial planners provide information and advice on planning for your financial future. They may propose strategies for you to grow your wealth through investments, insurance, and stocks, help you plan for your retirement, or suggest other ways to leverage your assets to produce future returns. Working closely with a financial planner can help you and your family up for future financial success.
When Should You Hire a Financial Professional for Your Business?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question. There is no fixed revenue level or size of business at which you must hire a financial professional for your business. Rather, it depends on the complexity of your business and how comfortable you are with the numbers in your business.
As your business grows, getting support from the right financial professionals will help you gain clarity and confidence around your numbers. It will allow you to make better financial decisions, faster – propelling your business to greater heights.
At Exceptional Tax Services, we are committed to your success. We take care of your bookkeeping, tax preparation & tax planning needs so you can focus on taking care of your clients. We’ll help you build a solid financial foundation for your business, so you can build the thriving business you’ve always dreamed of. Book your free consultation call with us to find out how having the support of trusted financial professionals can transform your business!