When you struck out on your own as a contractor, you knew you could handle dealing with clients, ordering supplies, finding and managing employees and getting the job done. You knew about social media posting, marketing in a variety of mediums and even knew the ins and outs of booking and attending home shows and conventions.
As for running the office, you can do payroll, cut checks and handle the usual day-to-day office duties, even if you have to forward your office calls to your cell phone.
But when it comes to doing financial statements? Yeah, well…
You get what a journal is and you understand the ledger. And so long as Quickbooks is functioning properly, you can generate monthly statements. But when it comes to the end of the year rigamarole or knowing what the financial statements actually mean, you might need some help. And as far as taxes…
It might be time to hire an accountant. If you aren’t sure whether you need one or not, here are a few situations to help you determine whether or not an accountant should be the next professional you put on retainer (or at least call when you’re confused).
1. How many are on your payroll?
If you have a small team of say 10 or less, you can most likely handle all the issues that accompany having a staff that size. However, if you find yourself with a dozen or two (or more) employees, some of whom are independent contractors, you may want to hand that responsibility off to a professional.
Once you hit a certain size, there are rules that have to be followed and federal laws that come into play. Unless you’re willing to dig deep and learn about the changes, hiring an accountant might be your best bet.
2. How and what do you file?
Again, if you’re a small operation running a solo business or an LLC, you can most likely handle the accounting and tax duties on your own. But if you’re heading into corporate territory because you’re growing, stepping up from doing the books yourself to having an expert handle it for you deserves some consideration.
3. How much time ya got?
Doing your own bookkeeping and taxes takes time. You’re a contractor. Do you want to take time away from the job site to do your books, or would you rather actually do what you love to do? You became a contractor because you enjoy the art of building something out of nothing. Somehow, we don’t think balance sheets was what you had in mind.
4. Peace of Mind
Stressing over your books is…stressful. One mistake in a journal entry and it can affect your books going forward. And finding that error can be like finding a needle in a haystack, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for or how to go about searching.
Accountants and bookkeepers are experts at entering this information, and in the event of an error, knowing how to find it and correct it. Like we asked before unless you’re willing to do the work to learn these tools, you’re probably better off leaving the task to the professionals.
We aren’t saying you aren’t capable of handling your own books. Many business owners, including contractors, do so every day. But if you’re in a position where you don’t have to and don’t want to, then why torture yourself? Spend the extra money and let the pros do it. And then write the expense off your taxes. Don’t worry, your accountant will know that.
So, do you do your books yourself, or have you hired someone to do them for you?