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Why your company needs an accountant

A key element to entrepreneurial success is choosing the right people to be part of your management team. In fact, angel investors and venture capitalists both view strength of the management team as the major determining factor in whether they are willing to make an investment in the company. But it is also important for an entrepreneur to have outside advisors he or she can trust and rely on, an accountant being one of these. You may hire an accounting service, a certified public accountant or Chartered Accountants Toronto in Canada is similar to the CPA designation in the United States.

First of all, a CPA can help set up the company's accounting system. The goal here is more than record keeping; a CPA can set the system up so it generates the reports a business owner needs on a routine basis in order to make sound business decisions. The CPA can interpret the client's reporting needs and customize the reporting system to meet the particular needs of that business. A CPA can also set up the budgeting or forecasting system. For early stage companies, it is absolutely critical to forecast cash flow accurately, to make sure there will be enough cash to meet all the needs of a growing business.

If the company will be raising debt or equity capital�and nearly all companies do at some stage of their existence�having professional looking financial statements and financial projections can expedite the due diligence process, and give the investor or lender confidence that the statements were prepared under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Tax compliance is of course another area where a CPA is invaluable. An entrepreneur has enough to worry about growing and running a business, and does not have the time to study all the complexities of corporate tax law.

An accountant who has experience with early stage companies can also serve in a strategic advisory capacity, helping an entrepreneur avoid some of the pitfalls that young companies typically encounter. Decisions you make early on�such as what form of corporate organization to choose, C Corp, S Corp or LLC, can have long-term ramifications for both your business and personal finances. A CPA can guide you to choose the form that best meets your long-term needs.

An accountant can be valuable in a networking capacity as well. He or she may have contacts with venture capital firms, for example, or lenders, and could make an introduction on your behalf.

Given all these benefits of having an accountant as a trusted advisor, it pays to take the time to find best one you can. Ask other professionals you work with, such as your attorney, to recommend several CPA firms to you. And take the time to interview more than one, so you can compare their capabilities and experience.

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