Finding the Right Payroll Expert

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Running a business takes a lot of time and energy. For small businesses, doing your own billing and payroll might be the way to go, but what about a growing business? When business is booming, you don’t want to spend time keeping your books up to date, processing payroll, entering tax write -offs, or searching for missing tax information. You want to focus on the future of your business, rather than dealing with paperwork. This is why business owners are hiring payroll experts to take care of their financial needs. 

While you focus on your work, someone has to be there to make sure payroll is taken care of, bills are being sent out, and–most importantly–that your company is staying compliant. All of these things can be taken care of with a payroll expert, but, it’s important to determine which payroll expert services you really need. Once you understand your needs, you can then make an informed decision about whom you want to work with and what services they will need to provide. 

Understanding Payroll Expert Roles

When it’s time to find an expert to help your business, who do you choose? You often hear bookkeeping and accounting together. Over time, the line between bookkeepers and accountants has somewhat blurred because so many people are branching off to help their clients. Most people, in fact, confuse the two because they work so closely together. Both bookkeepers and accountants work with financial reporting and focus on the growth of the business, but there are differences, and, these differences can dictate whom you may need to hire. Some people can get by with a bookkeeper, while other businesses may need a CPA for more advanced accounting needs. Here are the differences between bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs: 


Bookkeepers keep track of money flowing in and out of your business. Most bookkeepers keep all records and handle day-to-day transactions within the business. Ultimately, they focus more on general record keeping and cash-flow management. They organize business transactions, usually by using a cloud-based solution, and put your company’s data into accounting software for safe keeping. They often reconcile bank and other financial statements, as well as produce a financial report at the end of the month. 

Not only do they look at financial statements, they also take care of bills and payroll. Bookkeepers keep track of payable and received accounts– so that the business knows how much customers should be billed and how much the company spent. Bookkeepers appreciate when their clients use an accurate timekeeping system to track cost rates and bill rates —in this way, nothing slips through the cracks and information is easily accessible.


Although accountants take on similar roles, they differ in the fact that they have an advisory role. Accountants prepare financial information and use the data to help you with future business plans. They give their perspective on your business and strategically plan what to do next with their clients. They take on roles with tax resolution, tax coaching, oversight, recommendations, and help file business taxes. Additionally, accountants go over bookkeeper’s records and ensure that the information is accurate. 

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Simply put, CPAs are advanced accountants. CPAs are highly qualified to give recommendations and oversight to your business. They typically take a lot of accounting-related courses and graduate courses. They are certified with a licence by their state and they must obtain 40 hours of added professional education each year. CPAs are very similar to accountants; however, their primary focus is to audit the books for clients. In addition to writing audited financial statements, they can assist with tax planning, and they can offer litigation services. As such, they can create balance sheets or income statements in an official capacity.

How to find the right payroll expert

Now that you understand the differences between bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs, you can move forward to finding your expert. You can find accountants and bookkeepers everywhere, but finding the perfect candidate can be a struggle. Therefore, we’ve provided a few tips for you while you’re on the hunt:

1. Location needs:

It’s important to evaluate the kind of relationship you want with your payroll expert before deciding on someone. Do you want to work with someone who works remotely, or would you prefer to work with someone who can have face-to-face meetings with you? If you are the kind of person that prefers in-person meetings, you may want to consider finding an expert nearby.

2. Knowing what you want:

What types of information do you want from your expert? Do you want this person to handle HR? Are you looking for someone who needs to create official audit records? Does this person need to give you advice about your future business goals? Based on your needs, this may dictate whether or you seek out a CPA or simply stick with a bookkeeper.

3. Define your requirements:

When looking for your payroll expert, make clear the qualifications that are needed. If the person is going to wear multiple hats in the business and be responsible for finding a time tracking solution, you will want to make this known. If you require that this person have a certain amount of experience, you will need to state that in the job listing.

4. Set your budget:

Accountants, bookkeepers, and CPA services come at different rates. Accountants and CPAs are typically paid a higher wage than bookkeepers because they have degrees and have requisite hours of coursework. Bookkeepers are usually the most affordable, but they cannot do some of the things that accountants and CPAs can do. This is why some businesses choose to work with bookkeepers while others must work with CPAs. If your business doesn’t have the budget for a top-rated accountant, you may want to consider going for someone who is more affordable. You’ll get most of the information you need without hurting your wallet.

5. Train your payroll expert:

Although bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs are experts in finances and emerging technology, they may not be experts within your niche. They want to help you with your future finances as best they can, but it’s up to you to help them understand your business. Help the person understand what you’re looking for so that they can give you expert advice about your company.

Next Steps

Payroll experts are a great investment that will save you time and money and will help you remain compliant. Once you decide to let someone do the work for you, all you have to do is find the right person for your needs. You just have to know what type of service you need, what specific roles this person will play, as well as your budget, and you’ll have people lined up to help in no time. It’s time to start thinking about your business’s future and focus on your company’s advancement.

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