In case you are looking for someone to help you with your accounting and finance, you must be inundated with services available. There are bookkeepers, part-time financial controllers, CPA, and even accounting consultants. While other services have clear-cut job definition, what does an accounting consultant do? What is its role, and how is it different than other financial service providers?
Accounting, in general, has different sections, and accountants find a single area to expertise in like payroll, taxes, etc. On the other hand, an accounting consultant undertakes several tasks to help a business maintain a healthy finance status. They perform the role of a teacher and an advisor to a company when there are doubts about proper accounting practices. Accounting and finance consulting help a business on what accounting services to use to reap the best results.
Let’s take a better look into the job of accounting consultants and what business finance consulting services they offer.
Accounting and Finance Consulting: What’s Their Job?
These professionals offer their clients financial management consultancy services like financial forecasting, management, and auditing. Unlike bookkeepers who manage daily transactions, a consultant mostly handles financial documents, advises on how to improve profits, etc. They also forecast future revenues and costs and make sure the business adheres to financial regulations. Some consultants work with market leaders to file financial reports, supervise tax research, and advise ways for better financial reporting. To perform such advisor roles, a consultant needs adequate analytical skills and attention to detail. They need these skills for observations that depend on complex financial data while preventing mistakes.
What are the Tasks an Accounting Consultant Manages?
Since every business has its unique accounting needs, an accounting consultant carefully reviews its financial data to offer business finance consulting services. They will start working once they determine the company’s financial health and any accounting services currently used through a third-party accounting agency or in-house. After this, the consultant will look into the company’s financial data, measure the current profitability, and then estimate the company’s future financial status.
All the suggestions that an accounting consultant will give depends on what they make of a company’s financial data. They will also take into account the current accounting practices and software used. Once they have gone through the evaluation, the consultant will present their recommendations if any additional accounting service is required. The consultant may also suggest changes to the current accounting practices to increase efficiency in the company’s accounting and finances.
Education Requirement for Accounting Consultant’s Job
To start a career as an accounting consultant, a person needs to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting. They would also need advanced skills in problem-solving, mathematics, analytics, and computer programs. There are a few accounting consultants who obtain a bachelor’s degree in business and a specialization in accounting. And some opt for a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a business minor. There is further scope for future aspirants who are aware of the industry they want to specialize in. It can help them carefully design their education with extra classes in essential areas.
After completing their education, some accounting consultants may opt to turn into a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). CPA applicants must get additional credits apart from a bachelor’s degree to qualify for the Uniform CPA Examination. They can take this examination from the American Institute of CPAs. The eligibility for the examination requires them to enter a graduate-level work. Accompany this with a master’s degree in accounting to boost the chances of getting a sound job.
The Industry They Work In
Generally, accounting consultants work as individual contractors or freelance CPAs. And instead of working for a single organization, they accept temporary assignments with various companies. As a young accounting consultant, they need to create a strong network within the industry. Along with it, for their business to grow, they need to rely on effective word-of-mouth from previous clients. To improve their image, some consultants even become part of trade unions and participate in conferences and meetings.
Eminent accounting consultants usually pick one industry and specialize in it. They will learn in-depth the accounting requirements that the industry requires. For example, an accounting consultant might specialize in working with IT companies from Silicon Valley. They will gain insight into the billing and accounting requirements of a company that provides web development services to its clients.
Future Growth Trend
As a budding accounting consultant, the future is bright. There is a positive job growth of 10 percent between 2016 and 2026. What this means is that by 2026 there will be 139,000 new accounting positions to be grabbed. When the economy is doing well, all the companies require accounting personals not just to handle daily financial transactions but assist in international business nuances.
As a CPA with a graduate degree in business, you can look for accounting consultant profiles in established companies. But if you wish to start your business finance consulting service, you’ll need to follow these steps to do so.
1. Make a Plan
Before your dive in, you need to have a plan for your business. And this planning needs to cover:
- Budget required to open a financial consulting firm
- Running expenses of a financial consulting firm
- Your target audience
- Ways in which a financial consulting firm makes money
- What will you charge your clients?
- Amount of profit a firm makes
- How to make your business profitable
- Name of your firm
2. Establish a Legal Entity
When you create a legal business entity like an LLC, it helps you avoid being personally liable if someone sues your firm.
3. Tax Registration
Before you start your firm, you’ll need to register for different state and federal taxes. You” also need to get your EIN from the IRS website.
4. A Business Bank Account and Credit Card
Use your EIN to open a business bank account and get a business credit card. It will help you keep your business and personals assets separate.
5. Your Business Accounting
Before you handle your client’s account, make sure to set up your business accounting.
6. Acquire All Licenses and Permits
Ensure that you acquire all the necessary licenses and permits needed to run your business. Failure to do so may invite fines.
7. Business Insurance
Business insurance is as vital as your permits and licenses. If your business faces an unforeseen loss, the insurance will protect your company.
8. Establishing a Brand
When you create a brand, it helps your business stand out from the rest of the crowd.
9. Online Presence
A business website is a norm and a place for the audience to get to know about you. You can also create a social media presence to engage with your audience actively and solidify your brand name.
Accounting and finance consulting is a fast-growing job, and every company requires their service. It has great potential to give healthy profits if you want to open a firm. As a freelance consultant, you get to create a strong network that will eventually benefit your growth.