How an Accountant Can Help Your Startup

by Aimee M. Schroeder, CPA, CIA  | Selden Fox

Why did you start your business? We have asked many of our clients this question, and never once did we hear, “I wanted to be my own accountant.” Rather, they started their businesses to fulfill a need or to create value in the marketplace. The accounting aspect was simply incidental to their decision to launch the venture. While starting a new company can be exciting, it is often filled with stress and uncertainty. That’s why it’s essential to assemble a team of seasoned advisors, including accountants, who can help make important financial decisions. A good accountant can offer insight beyond tax and accounting basics to help drive business strategy and growth. To help clients, prospects, and others understand how an accountant can help guide them, Selden Fox has provided a summary of key areas below.

Formation Decisions

The formation stage is where many startups struggle. Most are still asking the big questions like, What is our mission? At the same time, you are also thinking about payroll, equipment purchases, and taxes. A good accountant can help you with the following decisions:

  • Determining your business structure for the best legal and tax advantage
  • Establishing your business with the appropriate jurisdictions
  • Setting up your general ledger
  • Anticipating regulatory issues that may arise
  • Incorporating financial projections into your business plan
  • Measuring your progress toward financial goals

Funding Decisions

Having consistent funding can make or break a startup, and the good news is that startups have many funding options available to them, including bank loans, lines of credit, venture capitalists, crowdfunding, startup accelerators, strategic partners, and more. With a wide range of options comes a wide range of concerns. An accountant can help you with the following funding decisions:

  • Preparing financial statements, tax returns, and reports that investors want to see
  • Determining the impact that significant purchases or loans will have on your overall financial position
  • Establishing how these investments will be reflected on the financial statements
  • Calculating financial forecasts to help obtain future funding
  • Knowing how to satisfy banks, insurance companies, and surety companies

 Staffing Decisions

Finding the right workers will be up to you, but incorporating those workers into your business plan can be a job that you outsource to a financial advisor. The right accountant can help you with the following decisions:

  • Filing payroll reports timely and accurately
  • Determining your workers’ impact on your taxes
  • Establishing whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee (see more information here on that topic)
  • Calculating the effects of full-time versus part-time workers on the bottom line

Expansion Decisions

Growth is a fantastic phase for a startup to enter, but as your business grows, your questions and concerns will shift. A good accountant can help you with the following expansion decisions:

  • Determining your filing requirements in new states
  • Calculating the effects of hiring employees outside of your home state
  • Projecting growth and updating your budget
  • Providing advice on equipment purchases and leasing
  • Performing financial statement audits
  • Supporting you in the event of an IRS audit
  • Calculating the effects of this growth on your personal income taxes
  • Preparing exit strategies for you or your partners

Contact Us

The right advisors can help your company identify and take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges you might face in different phases of forming and growing your startup. Having a qualified CPA firm on your side can ensure the vitality of your startup and keep you on track to realize your full potential. If you have an accounting, tax, or audit question or need assistance in an area mentioned above, Selden Fox can help. For additional information please call us at 630-954-1400, or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Aimee Schroeder

Aimee is a manager on the firm’s Accounting Solutions team where she leads the outsourced accounting functions for a variety of startups, nonprofit, government, and small business clients. Aimee has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola University Chicago, with a major in accounting. She is a certified public accountant.