In a darkened room, illuminated by a single lamp, a hand reaches out under a desk. It is straight up, flat and open, over a parcell of papers and documents on the grey desk. Empty white cups, rounded, with smooth handles, litter the desk.

Do I Need a CPA for My Small Business?

Small business owners excel at providing their products or services and managing business operations. But many put off the question that successful businesses ask themselves from the beginning—do I need a CPA for my small business?

As a small business CPA firm that’s worked with hundreds of business owners in Fort Worth, we believe that reliable and accurate financials are a priority on par with management and operations.

In this article, we’ll give you a simple overview of why your business needs a certified public accountant (CPA), plus what questions to ask a prospective CPA.

Reliable Financial Reporting Improves Decision-Making

Small business owners need accurate financial data before making decisions regarding the operations of their business.

The answer is financial reporting. A small business CPA prepares financial reports and provides an in-depth analysis at a level higher than a bookkeeping service or accountant.

Let’s take a look at an especially useful part of a financial report—cash-flow analysis—for an example of how financial data improves decision-making.

Profits, losses, growth, and spending are integral to business strategy and money management. A well-executed cash flow analysis will help you understand these metrics and their relevance to business operations.

Do I need a CPA for my small business strategy? Yes.

Accurate Financial Data Leads To Growth Opportunities

Once your accountant has helped you understand your business’s present financial situation, they can also help you plan for the future.

Small business CPAs know how to analyze your business’s financial data and recommend specific opportunities for growth.

Do I need a CPA for my small business for growth? Yes.

A CPA Will Defend Against IRS Audits

Accountants and bookkeepers can help with financial statements, but a CPA can represent your business in an IRS audit.

When a CPA prepares and files your taxes, they are endorsing and approving the accuracy and validity of the information submitted to the IRS.

So when the IRS disputes the contents of your business’ tax return, a CPA must defend the filing. Why? Because, in this case, a CPA is defending the firm’s work just as much as they are defending your business.

Do I need a CPA for my small business IRS compliance? Yes.

How Do I Choose A Small Business CPA?

So, you’ve answered the question, “Do I need a CPA for my small business?” Now it’s time to choose a CPA firm.

Questions to Ask A Prospective CPA

There are multiple factors to consider as you compare CPAs in your area. A competent CPA will be able to answer these questions:

  • What does your firm specialize in? You want a CPA firm that knows about the needs and operations of small businesses.
  • What size is your firm? Large firms may offer prestige and recognizable prestige. At a smaller firm, however, you’ll likely have partners with years of experience handling your accounts.
  • May I see references or testimonials? Read-up on the experiences of owners of other, similarly-sized businesses in your industry.
  • Does your firm value continuing education? Your CPA needs to stay up-to-date with the latest accounting and tax changes.
  • What additional value does your firm offer? Ask about any additional value the CPA firm can bring to your business. Can they design a long-term financial plan for you?
  • What’s your fee structure? It’s essential to know how much a CPA costs for your small business. A good accounting firm will be up-front and transparent about its fee structure.

Take your time to research potential firms. It will go a long way toward fostering a great relationship with your CPA.

Get Started Today

Consider investing in the future of your small business today by scheduling an appointment with one of our expert accounting professionals.

Meet the Author

Jeremy A. Johnson is a Fort Worth CPA who combines strategic tax planning, accounting, CFO services, and business advisory services into a single, end-to-end solution for growth-stage businesses.

Jeremy writes for small business owners who need actionable information on tax strategy, efficient accounting practices, and plans for long-term growth.

More about the firm