Accountants enjoy something of a mixed reputation among business owners, but unless you’re a sole trader who is very good with numbers your business is always going to need a certified public accountant (CPA), no matter the size. There are several reasons why a CPA is such a valuable role within a small business, but before we go any further let’s look at what a CPA actually is and how they differ from plain old accountants.
What is an accountant?
An accountant is a professional who prepares and audits financial statements and analyses a trader’s finances. They might also give financial and tax advice and help prepare annual tax returns. They are not, however, officially licensed practitioners.
What is a CPA?
When it comes to business accountancy, it’s often beneficial to have a certified public accountant on staff as they are officially registered and must comply with UK tax laws to hold onto that registered status. This means that, while a standard accountant is perfectly able to represent your business, only a CPA has been accredited to do so.
Accountants in the UK who wish to be registered as certified must apply to the Certified Public Accountants Association (CPAA). The CPAA entrance exam is thorough and registered members are required to keep up their professional education as a condition of membership. The CPAA is the official regulator of certified public accountants.
The top 5 benefits of hiring a CPA
As a qualified accountant, a CPA will offer much more than just submitting tax returns. They will become a valued member of your team, bringing the following benefits and plenty more besides to the table.
Without stable control of your cash flow it would be almost impossible to make accurate decisions and grow your business organically. A CPA will be highly skilled in cash flow management, ensuring your business always has the funds available to meet its short and long-term goals.
One good CPA is going to be as productive as three mediocre accountants. If you are running a small business, just one CPA might be enough to take all of the tax, bookkeeping and compliance tasks from your workload. They will also be able to introduce you to tools and processes that can save you even more precious time and money.
An accountant could be seen by some as little more than the money man, but a CPA can be a powerful agent of growth in your business. They can provide you with valuable business advice thanks to the wealth of knowledge they have gathered, not only passing the CPA exam but working with clients from all sectors. They will also be able to help you better prepare for and manage that growth when it does finally happen.
A good CPA is not only going to balance your books but can also help you decide where to cut costs and where to make further investments. They will also know which taxes you should be paying and which you shouldn’t, and if you ever come to a point where you want to sell your business they’ll help you do so efficiently and securely.
Payroll is what keeps your employees fed and watered. But you can be fined heavily if you don’t control and maintain your payroll properly. When it comes to paying everyone the right amount when they are owed it and ensuring everything is submitted correctly to HMRC, a CPA is going to be more than qualified.
We can help
If you’re interested in finding out more about certified public accountants, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.