Last week, we discussed the seven tell-tail signs that your eCommerce business is ready to outsource its accounting and hire an eCommerce accountant or bookkeeper. This week, we’re taking it one step further, taking a tour of what to look for when hiring an eCommerce accountant or bookkeeper. Let’s go.
Why it’s important to pick the right accountant
Involving an accountant in your business means handing over one of the most important aspects of your business – finance. Accordingly, you’ll want to pick an eCommerce accountant who’s trustworthy and good at what they do. But the reasons for finding the right accountant extend far beyond being able to trust them with your figures. Picking the right accountant should also mean that:
– You save time;
– You save money;
– You save stress; and
– You improve your business.
What to look for when hiring an eCommerce accountant or bookkeeper
If you’ve already had a sneak peek on Google, you’ll know that there are thousands of accountants and bookkeepers out there – all promising to be the right one for your online business. But what does “right” look like and what should you be looking for in an eCommerce accountant?
First and foremost, it’s crucial that you pick out an accountant with the relevant qualifications, certifications and associations for your country. In the UK, this is a Chartered Accountant, but in other countries, this might include:
– Certified Public Accountant;
– Member of the Association International Accountants;
– Member of the Institute of Financial Accountants; or any other variations.
If they’re working with a specific cloud-based accountancy platform, you’ll also want to ensure that they have the appropriate certification – such as Xero Advisor Certification and partnership.
Steve Blackmore, Elver Consulting
"Xero experience is important, but what you really want to look for is eCommerce Xero experience - a practice that is used to working with Xero and online sales channel(s) together. Just keep an eye out for the
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Next up, you want eCommerce experience. We don’t mean an accountant who dabbles in selling pogo sticks on Amazon in their spare time or a bookkeeper who has a serious eBay addiction. No, we mean an accountant who has worked with other eCommerce businesses of a similar size. Why? Well, not only will they understand the challenges and opportunities that your eCommerce business faces, but they will also know how to complete simple tasks (such as sending sales orders from Shopify into Xero) with the right tools – saving them time and you money.
It’s also important to check that the accountant you’re eyeing up offers all of the services that you need. If you want help with investment, payroll, personal tax returns, or anything else – ask up front to avoid having to do it yourself, or get someone else involved.
Some eCommerce accountants will also throw in a couple of extras for you – such as multi-channel management eCommerce software, that can help you manage your business beyond just finances.
And, let’s not forget recommendations. As an online seller, you know the importance of recommendations and reviews – you really can’t beat them. Speak to other online sellers in your communities and groups, ask local SMEs and check out online reviews. If they’re performing exceptionally for other businesses, it’s likely that they’ll do the same for you.
You’re operating in a highly technical, constantly changing and innovative industry; you want your accountant to keep up. Ensure that the eCommerce accountancy practice you pick uses cloud-based accountancy software, such as Xero. Not only does it make your accountant’s work quicker and easier (reducing their fees),, but it also has significant benefits for you, including:
– Being able to view your finances whenever and wherever;
– Linking directly with your bank accounts;
– Free updates and automatic backups;
– Collaborative logins; and
– Seamlessly integrating with your sales channel(s) using Expandly.
Finally, you want to look for an accountant who is going to save you money – more money than they cost you. Select a practice that offers your preferred fee structure (hourly, retainer, packages, etc.), and who will be proactive in implementing ways to save you money and help your company grow.
Choosing the right accountant or bookkeeper for your eCommerce business not only saves you time and avoids errors – but can also help your company to save money, flourish and grow into the online store that you want to be.
Expandly multi-channel management software doesn’t just help you to list, process and ship orders. It also helps you to quickly and easily send multi-channel sales orders into Xero – making your accountant’s life easier and your bill cheaper. Get your accountant to email [email protected] to find out more.