Your business is growing slowly but steadily, and you’ve reached the point where you’d like to rely less on accounting software and more on an actual accountant. A good certified public accountant is worth his weight in medicine balls and can save you time and money. According to an article written in the February/March 2003 issue of MyBusiness magazine for the National Federation of Independent Business, there are seven questions you should ask before hiring an accountant:

1. How many years has the accountant been in business?
A minimum of 5 years is a good benchmark.

2. How many years’ experience does the accountant have in your field?
Determine whether the accountant is knowledgeable about the fitness industry and has other clients in this field.

3. What is the company’s average response time?
Expect a return call within a day and an answer in 2–3 days.

4. What is the firm size?
Even though some large firms handle small business, you may not get the kind of attention you want.

5. What does your banker and/or attorney have to say about the accountant?Bankers and lawyers know good accountants. Banks regularly review financial statements and can distinguish good reports.

6. Is the accountant familiar with your computerized accounting system?
The accountant who knows your system can work on your books and quickly ship them back to you.

7. Are you comfortable overall with the accountant?
It’s important that you feel relaxed, believe in the accountant’s ability and know that she understands your business and financial goals.