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What is an accountant or bookkeeper in NC?

A CPA in Wilmington NC discusses ways to evaluate your accountant or bookkeeper

CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers can be hard to evaluate: so here's a few tips

Accountant:  I’m unaware of any legal definition of an accountant or bookkeeper.  There are some bookkeepers in Wilmington NC that are far more than that.  There are probably some accountants who are less than what you would hope for.  I think this is an area for concern since these folks are analogous to your finances as a RN or MD is for your health.  

Your ability to ascertain who is competent can be hampered by a multitude of factors.  Even as a CPA, sometimes I have to work with accountants and bookkeepers for awhile to get a feel for their abilities.  Here’s one thing I would look for though.  Is the bookkeeper or accountant able to explain the managerial usefulness of your financial data to you?  If they can’t, even accurate bookkeeping and accounting probably isn’t going to be as helpful for you.  Accounting uses a lot of conventions which make it difficult to interpret for folks without business training.  This is the main drawback of the accounting profession as a whole, in my opinion.  Which is a shame accounting can offer so much.

The underlying attitude of the QuickBooks bookkeeper or accountant is important too.  One of the reasons I became a CPA was because my CPA wasn’t interested in helping me grow my business.  He could have.  But all he wanted to do was interface for me with the IRS.  In some cases, the bookkeeper, accountant or CPA doesn’t have to be world class.  There are many modest skills that can be taught to a company owner that can really be beneficial. 

For example, if the client is interested, I try to apply my CPA training and Master’s degree specifically to the company.  So I’ll ascertain want the client needs to run the business, get a handle on what they will actually use, and help them build Fortune 500 tools.  Like what a trained CFO would do.  QuickBooks reports allow for complex customization.  These QuickBooks reports can then be exported to Excel.  Here they can be combined with company statistics.

 So what are some of these tools?

  • Cash flow management.  Past bookkeeping and accounting can be combined with known business conditions to predict cash flow.  Which is step one to managing cash flow effectively.
  • Graphical representation of bookkeeping and accounting data displays trends much better, generally speaking, than rows of tabulated data.  For example, as part of a performance dashboard, I’ll show folks how to automate calculating and graphing liquidity ratios over time. This may help find optimization strategies inherent in the company.
  • Plotting basic financial parameter over time, on perhaps a dual axis graph, can show the last 12 months of data, the prior 12 months of data and the changes between the two.

If you need a free initial consult on any bookkeeping, accounting or tax issue with a Wilmington NC CPA firm, please call us at (910) 399-2705.