Do-it-yourself bookkeeping and accounting can help you through the early days of getting your business off the ground. The problem with business leaders spending time on accounting is that it takes away from other revenue-focused duties of the job, and doing just enough to get by isn’t exactly best practices for setting your business up for long-term financial success. After all, your business lives and dies by your finances. That said, it’s vital to hire the right accounting professional for the job.
I have been learning that there are very few great resources out there that understand midwifery and birth professional businesses. Been spending hours and hours networking and trying to find these great people to help leverage the success of your business. The hardest person to find on that advisory team is a great accountant. Two months ago, I was blessed with the findings of Alan Abadie! I literally was google searching, “midwife accountant.” I found a 4yr old blog post of Alan asking advice about starting midwifery school and having a background being an accountant. I reached out to him on LinkedIn and the rest is history! He lives and breathes advocating for families and creating better birth options. His ultimate dream is creating a birth center in his hometown in LA.
I can’t stress enough how important it is in your business to have people on your team (staff and advisors) that are passionate about you and your business. There will be better strategies discussed, opportunities to go the extra mile for you, and really want your midwifery practice to be successful. Having a strong accountant that does more than file your taxes on your team is vital to the success in this business. Accountants that are versed in business tax strategies are hard to find, let alone one that LOVES midwives! Please look over Alan’s website and set up a meeting if you are a looking for a great accountant! Here are some great questions you can use when interviewing an accountant.
1. What does your experience looks like in my midwifery business field?
Accountants skilled in managing startup finances will understand how to design a chart of accounts that can scale with startups’ businesses, the best tools to support startups as their needs evolve, and have a solid understanding of relevant finance functions such as cash flow analysis and pre-revenue operations. Additionally, and importantly, they’ll be well-versed in helping generate financial reports for board meetings including burn rate, runway, revenue, COGS, unit economics and other growth metrics.
2. How responsive and accessible can you be?
One of the most important factors to understand about your potential accounting partner is how they communicate and their level of responsiveness to ensure it’s a good fit for your communication style. Explicitly ask how quickly you should expect a response to a request, so you can set the tone for your relationship going forward. Be mindful that they have other clients, but make it clear you are looking for is consistency and dependability. Hiring someone who makes themselves accessible when necessary will ensure that your business isn’t losing out in any way.
3. What do your services include (and not include)?
Accountants are good for a lot more than just bookkeeping, monthly closes and generating financial reports. Your accountant could help you with everything from bookkeeping tasks to bills payment and invoicing, payroll administration to receipt management. They can also help in the future planning for your business by working on financial projections and modeling, waterfall charts, budgeting, and more (introductions to potential investors, recommendations for cost-saving initiatives or cash flow analysis).
4. Tell me about a time when…
It’s important to verify the team or individual you are speaking to can not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Ask them to describe how they work through specific scenarios that directly relate to your business; come to the meeting with a few real-life examples of challenges or scenarios you’ve encountered in your business accounting, and see how they describe the process or solution.
5. What role would you take in budget and cash flow management?
For startups, setting and adhering to budgets is an important element of cash flow management and keeping your startup in the green zone. Having an expert involvement in the practice of setting and tracking budgets for your business could be game-changing. It’s vital that your accountant knows how to manage cash burn, too. The right accountant for your business should not only be able to quickly assess the rate at which the company is burning up cash reserves, but also make projections for the future and suggestions for ways to better manage your runway while working toward your goals.
6. How do you bill for services?
Most accountants and finance firms use the hourly billing model, whereas others have adopted value pricing or flat fees. It’s important to know in advance what to expect and to determine which method works better for you. Flat fees typically come with a subscription model that involves a monthly payment structure (usually automatic), whereas hourly billing is exactly that (though you’ll likely be given an estimated monthly cost range). Depending on your team structure, the decision to use a service or individual who bills hourly versus flat monthly rate could be the difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fees.
Alan Abadie, Accountant with Call the Accountant:
Article Reference: https://www.zeni.ai/blog/hiring-an-accountant