Rule #25 – Hire an Accountant (or at least someone good with money)

We touched on this a LONG time ago with regard to deciding when to hire an accountant or a lawyer, and we’ve touched on it along the way when discussing capital, fundraising, and expenses.  But as I go along in my own entrepreneurial timeline, something has become clearer to me by the day:  you need a disinterested 3rd party looking in on your money.  And you need to empower them to tell you what you’re doing wrong, where you are being wasteful, and how to plug the leaks.

The first resistance (or justification) to finding someone to do this is that they’ll likely need to be paid and your cash is at a premium.   I’ve felt this way many times in the past myself.  And for the earliest stages of your startup, you may be right to monitor finances yourself.  But as soon as you are to the point where you are regularly entering sales or regularly recieving bills to pay, you need to have someone looking over your shoulder even if it costs you a little money.

The inefficiencies they will find, and the mistakes they will prevent, will more then justify the cost.  And when it comes tax time, you’re Quickbooks or Peachtree software should be in order well enough so that you don’t go broke hiring a CPA for your federal filings.

Short of having tons of money to lavish on an accounting firm, you should be able to find someone well-qualified and lookng for some extra cash on Criagslist for around $30 an hour.  In the current economy, you may be able to find someone at half that rate who is glad to spend an hour or two each week making sure every penny is accounted for and entered correctly.  

Money.  Well.  Spent.

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