Welcome to a complete guide on finding a career as a CPA providing service to small businesses.
As CPA credentials are highly revered, job opportunities exist in government and public accounting, corporate accounting, the educational sector as well as hiring by small business owners.
By the end of this article on CPA for Small Business, you’ll be able to:
Let’s begin, shall we!
Why Small Businesses, Startups, and Entrepreneurs Need CPAs
Every business regardless of its size requires the services of a tax advisor or a financial advisor and a CPA is that sweet middle spot.
A CPA can assist startups and small businesses to smoothly sail their ship beyond the rocky shores of market competition and tax laws.
So, what does a CPA do for a small business that makes their services so highly demanded in the market?
Small Business Accounting Services
Entrepreneurs use the help of CPAs to address their accounting needs and attain compilations of financial statements and financial reports.
Bookkeeping, budgeting, inventory management, controlling cash flow, and orderly maintenance of receivables might be some of the daily services a CPA could offer to budding businesses.
Accountants for small businesses might be able to perform these tasks too.
However, as a CPA, you could offer small businesses more comprehensive financial analysis and business planning that might aid business decisions in market pricing and expansion plans.
The question that then arises is why do small businesses need an accountant?
The likely problem can be the lack of market information in finding an affordable CPA which we shall solve in this article by linking willing CPAs with start-ups and other small businesses.
Small Business Tax Services
Being a small business tax accountant could be a capstone to the services you provide for that business.
An accountant for a small business can become eligible for representing the business in a tax audit only if they have done tax returns for the respective business.
However, being a certified and licensed CPA, you are exempted from any such requirements and can fully savor the role of representing your business in a tax audit.
CPAs could come with on-point estimations of tax payments that are in line with updated tax codes; giving them an edge over ordinary accountants looking after the tax issues of small businesses.
Furthermore, you can bestow the small setups with other similar services like tax planning, tax advice, and tax accounting just by being their CPA for taxes
Valuation of Small Businesses
CPAs are generally accomplished in financial analysis and forensic accounting skills.
A CPA might be able to produce more accurate estimates of depreciation and revaluation of business assets while maintaining proper records of sources involved in business financing.
Taking a step further, CPAs can also apply for a full-time designation of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to a business.
They are responsible for undertaking the future financial planning of that business regarding investment expansion and control.
Best Time to Be Hired as a Small Business CPA
Before approaching any small business for a job you shall know the right time to apply for it.
The question here arises is when should a small business hire a CPA?
Well, there might be several occasions during which you can try your luck as a candidate for small business CPA.
Before the Business is Operational
Small businesses might require CPA services before initiating their set-ups.
During the launch of their new business and inview of their limited financial sources, small business owners might highly value your precious tax advice to avoid costly mistakes.
As a CPA, you can recommend startups with remunerative business structures and help them identify deductible start-up costs.
The legal structure of any business, let that be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporate structure, holds major impact on tax liabilities and reporting requirements.
Your valuable advice could rescue the business from the need to change its structure later on, which might involve complicated procedures of renewing licenses, employee identification numbers, and notifying banks or insurance firms.
Other than that, being a CPA, you could help an entrepreneur determine the best accounting practice, either cash accounting or accrual accounting.
A CPA’s knowledge regarding the type of accounting method best fitting business structure and business operations might prove to be highly useful during such time.
A CPA can also come up with the best type of loans startups could afford and whether these loans go in line with the long-term goals of the business.
Other considerations might involve the size and the duration of a business loan and the impact it would have on business cash flow.
On top of your advisory services, you can also prepare an appropriate financial statement for small businesses to file a loan application
During Income Tax Season for Tax Accounting
Tax seasons are big gains for CPAs.
These are the times when small businesses might rush to tax accountant firms or hire any local CPA for taxes and other emergencies.
You can extend your CPA services to these small businesses by filing tax returns, preparing tax documents, and formulating strategic ways to minimize tax liability for the upcoming financial year.
Besides, your involvement might be beyond the price for small businesses given their need for compliance with tax laws.
Small businesses definitely require a bit of brief advice from CPAs to analyze the impacts on their business given any recent changes in tax codes.
A CPA can also help businesses understand the appropriate deductions their business qualifies for and help them avoid any questionable accounting deductions that might trigger an audit by tax authorities.
When Internal Revenue Service (IRS) inquires about a New Business
CPAs could help new businesses know the category in which they might be registered in IRS books based on their business structure.
The IRS can inquire about new businesses for additional information regarding their tax returns or even send them a letter notifying their year-end audit in order.
Entrepreneurs, at this time, would immensely require and benefit from the services of a CPA for problem-solving.
Licensed and certified by the state government, CPAs could assist these new setups representing them in front of IRS officials.
Experience of CPAs in dealing with the IRS and giving appropriate responses to inquiries together with providing the required financial information might come in handy for the small business owners.
For Valuation Before Mergers
Small businesses might also require CPA services during significant operational and structural changes in their organization.
These changes might consist of merging with another company, purchasing a new business, planning to sell or shut down your business, planning to add a partner in business ownership, or dissolving a partnership.
A CPA might be able to provide important consultation services regarding tax implications on the business and its owners in such cases.
In case small businesses are planning on the purchase of another business, CPAs can also assist with analysis of financial records, valuation of business assets, and other crucial paperwork.
In the case of selling a business, CPAs can again offer their assistance in the preparation of financial statements and financial reports and could come up with fair estimates of the current market value of the business in question.
Potential buyers of small businesses often demand standardized accounting records and accurate valuations in financial statements.
As a CPA, you could fulfill such requirements in a greater capacity than ordinary accountants and save small businesses from losing their potential buyers or dropping down to lower offers
Areas of CPA Resume to Focus on When Seeking Employment in the Business Sector
Aiming to get selected for a job in the business sector, especially for small businesses, you need to pay special attention to the job description and employee specifications the respective businesses demand.
You might then proceed by introducing a few changes in your resume as per the requirements of the targeted business.
In case you possess relevant work experience with the targeted business you might want to move your work experiences section on top.
Past Experiences in Tax Preparation and Audits
As a result of CPA licensing and continuing education requirements, they end up more knowledgeable in matters of tax codes than ordinary accountants.
If in addition to this, you possess any past experience in tax preparation and audit of commercial organizations you shall make sure you state them in your resume.
Help provided in personal tax cases and other achievements dealing with tax law and tax advice service might also turn out to be of use.
Past Experiences in Bookkeeping and Budgeting
If you have voluntarily provided your bookkeeping and budgeting services to any non-profit organization or have performed these roles in personal startups then you shall make sure you mention the experience in your resume.
An experience with any other small business beforehand would add a silver lining to our resume.
Familiarity with Accounting Software
Modern-day technological software possesses a rapid pace of progress.
The hired accountants might need to keep up with the IT training programs and latest accounting software to maintain their job.
In such times, your knowledge of the latest accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero, Zoho Books, and Wave Accounting might make you the ideal candidate the small businesses might be looking for.
Hence, you might like to mention your IT skills up front in your resume.
If you possess any special accreditations then mention them in your resume so that your employers might pick you out of the bulk of resumes they are dealing with.
Make sure you have renewed your CPA license from the state government as it provides assurance of your up-to-date knowledge with tax codes.
Accredited referrals might be a game-changer in your resume as a CPA or a business accountant.
Try to add favorable referrals in your resume from any organization or high-post individuals you had experience with.
Your corporate attorney or industry trade association can also prove to be a big-ticket source for your referral and your ultimate hiring in small businesses.
How to Ace Your Interview Session for Small Business Jobs
Surviving the shortlisting of resumes brings you down to interview sessions conducted in the hiring process.
Here are some of the most expected interview questions for which you shall prepare yourself given you earnestly aim for being recruited by small businesses.
1. Any Past Experiences With Small Businesses?
In case you have worked with other small businesses, you stand at a good point in this interview so far.
Remember your experience with your past employer shall be worth disclosing as they might be contacted for their recommendations
However, in case you have no such past experience, any voluntary experience with the low-budget organization could also compensate for your answer.
Try conveying your skills in dealing with problems of a small organization rather than a plain no.
2. Other Relevant Experience In The Industry?
Many industries tend to possess very specific accountancy needs.
If you don’t possess any experience of working in the respective industry before, it’s better for you to complete your homework on the operations and expected requirements of that industry.
This will allow you to secure a safe seat in your interview.
3. How Can You Contribute To The Growth Of Our Business?
The pattern in which you sum up your answer to this question might make a huge impact.
Rather than enlisting, try being smooth about your skills and area of expertise attaching any little detail of experience with those skills
If you are skilled at other low-budget shortcuts for accounting operations of businesses, it would be worthwhile mentioning them to your interview panel.
4. Who Will You Be Working With And How Will You Communicate?
Working for small-scale businesses might not always end up in full-time jobs
A CPA may also be hired as a part-time employee or a seasonal auditor.
Your frequent communication matters immensely to businesses in such cases.
Try exercising multiple modes of communication such as online, phone, or person-to-person meetings, assuring the business regarding your availability in emergency situations.
5. Why Our Business?
This is undoubtedly the most-asked question in interview sessions.
Trying to do some homework on the respective firm and its operations and achievements before appearing for the interview.
This will allow you to form reasonable grounds for your desire to work with that business and express your thoughts on how much you would value your experience with the respective business.
6. What Will Be Your Service Charges?
Before answering this, you shall keep in mind the low-budget costs the business is running its operations on.
Small businesses might not be able to offer you much, however, if you are interested in ornamenting your resume with experiences in small businesses, you shall propose a moderate charge for your services and stay negotiable regarding it.
How to Establish a Solid CPA-Client Relationship
The best form of CPA-client relationships could be a partnership where the CPA carries the trust of small businesses on financial analysis and business plans.
However, in order to build your relationship with small businesses you shall make yourself available for their approach.
Having past experience in the business sector, you might have your chances of being called for an interview by other small businesses given the word-of-mouth recommendations in the business circle.
You might wish to get yourself registered with the local chamber of commerce or Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where small businesses usually inquire when looking towards hiring a CPA.
One of the most common ways small businesses might utilize in approaching a CPA is checking the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) directory.
Make sure you have carefully updated all the important details regarding your skills and services attached with your name and contact in the directory.
You can also approach officials of the CPA firm you work in and ask them to extend you the opportunity to audit financial accounts in the business sector.
Venturing into the world of business can be a daunting prospect for many CPAs.
The best place to start in the business sector is with small businesses that can benefit from the services of CPAs.
In order to match against the best small businesses for CPAs; they ought to know how CPAs serve small businesses, highlight those sections effectively within their resume, apply at the best times for being hired as a CPA, and ace the interview by being prepared in advance for the prospective employer’s questions.