You can run a small business or a large enterprise, be an e-commerce shop or a brick and mortar storefront, or be a product or service-oriented business. Something that won’t change is that you’ll need help with your company’s finances to measure performance, keep things going, and ensure that you’re ready when tax time comes around. The only question is what kind of help you’ll need.
While some use words like accountants and bookkeepers interchangeably, but they really aren’t the same position. There are several types of financial professionals, and the biggest difference between them is generally the level of service they provide. To decide what kind fo help you need, you’ll need to consider the size of your business, the skillsets you need, and what you can afford.
A bookkeeper keeps records of financial transactions through fairly simple charts and statements. It’s a relatively small and uncomplicated role in the field of accounting, making it great for beginners in the space since they can be trained in a matter of weeks or months. Small businesses will often only need the services of a full-time bookkeeper, and responsibilities include recording sales, purchases, payroll, accounts receivable. etc. Bookkeepers aren’t required to have a four-year degree, but they should have a track record of accuracy, and it’s best for them to be familiar with accounting software.
An accountant can perform the role of a bookkeeper, but not all bookkeepers are accountants. Ultimately, an accountant’s role is to analyze and interpret financial data. Since accountants aren’t just concerned with recording numbers but actively reflect on their significance, an accountant can advise you on your business structure and on how to grow it. Accountants are great hires for smaller businesses looking to expand or mid-sized businesses.
Accountants can also create weekly financial reports for your business so you’ll always know how well you’re doing, and they can help you make the best decisions based on these reports. Accountants also ensure your business is compliant with all tax laws and other financial regulations and handle all the necessary paperwork. You can hire regular public accountants, but if your tax situation is particularly complex, you may want to look into a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since they take classes continuously to stay licensed in their state.
Chief Financial Officers
A CFO is the executive officer who oversees the accounting department of a company. A CFO will act as a financial advisor and largely control financial decisions made by a company while tracking cash flow. They report directly to the CEO and work with other senior management members to ensure long-term success. CFOs typically work for large enterprises, and even then, they may work for several companies at once. This is because many business owners don’t see the need for a full-time CFO, and they choose to outsource the position. CFOs do tend to be costly, so you’ll want to make sure your business really needs one before committing.
Hire a Programmer
There are many skill sets that are needed to be an effective financial professional, but one skill that’s rising in popularity is the ability to code. Programming teaches you to break down projects logically and approach them in sequences, something any finance pro will need to be good at. Certain programming languages, like Python, are also frequently used in data analysis, which every finance job relies on.
There’s a long-standing debate regarding C++ vs Python, but Python code is praised for its easy readability, and it’s considered a friendly language for beginners. Python is a general-purpose, high-level language compatible with any operating system. It’s one of the most popular languages in the world, and many consider it the best option for machine learning. Finance workers don’t need to understand all the applications of Python, but knowing how to code is a skill that can help them stand out in the hiring process.