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Accounting vs. Finance: What Hiring Mistakes Are You Making?

BY Ann Whittaker In Profitability On Sep 03, 2014 With 0 Comments

You've finally started making money. And now you get the minute-by-minute headache of trying to keep track of it all, and decide where all of it should go. And WHERE does it go?! You're busy rockin' and rollin' with what you do best: producing and selling an incredible service/product that will change people's lives--but how in the world are you supposed to manage your life support, aka: the bank? If only your financial goals were as simple as buying your dream guitar: you dream, you save, you purchase...with cash.

Not so simple, right? Somewhere along the line loans, investors, and debtors entered your world. Customers take up most of your time, and you're still trying to manage all those new employees you've just acquired. 

Ready for some HELP? It's time to hand over your QuickBooks files to someone else, but who can you hire that understands the complexities of your small business? Who can wear all the money-hats that you need she or he to wear?

Do you hire an accountant or a finance person?

Of course, it all depends on what you need. We'll help you understand the difference between the two: by definition and skill set.

Accountants & Finance Defined:

Accounting and finance are both about money--so it doesn't matter whom you hire, right?

Wrong.

Business Administration Information argues that

A bachelor's degree in accounting and a bachelor's degree in finance prepare students for distinctly different professions.

Yes, both can talk the talk, but who can walk the walk that you need? Here's a quick look at the differences between what accountants do versus what finance people do:

define2

Skills To Look For In Accountants vs. Finance

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Depending on what your needs are, you'll want to make sure that whomever you hire has the skill set that will best help you. What good is a guy who knows about stocks and bonds if he screws up your QuickBooks? It happens more than you think. You don't want to lose time and money correcting accounting mistakes made by that finance guy you hired because you liked his style.

Here's a basic skill set list to help you in your hiring process:

skills_list

Forbes gives some great advice on what makes a good accountant:

They're good at communicating: The mark of a really great-to-work with CPA is an ability to translate esoteric ideas and terms into something that you can truly understand and work with. You want someone who will go beyond doing a job for you--you want to be able to use them as a resource, to expand your knowledge of how to run your business.

They also suggest that you

Look for someone who openly discusses what they're good at and what their flaws are--and hopefully how the rest of their team compliments and compensates them.

What Do You Need?

Remember, we're talking about your money here. You NEED to hire the right person. Make sure the person you're about to hire to handle your money is competant. You could have them look over a few QuickBook samples, and have them explain to you positives and negatives, and how they would suggest turning the negatives into positives. Mistakes happen, but you want to minimize those issues--money mistakes can get you into a lot of trouble financially and legally. 

mistakes-2

Accounting vs. Finance: this decision counts. Make sure you identify your needs, decide if you need an accountant or a finance person, and then test the candidates to make sure they have the skills they need to keep money in the bank and you out of court.

In the end, it will save you time and headaches so that you can totally rock at what you do best...and maybe do a little head-banging:

I mean, because this is what money in the bank feels like, right?

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References

(2013 July 15) Conway, Brendan. Finance Degree vs Accounting Degree: Just what is the difference? Petersons.com. Retrieved on September 3, 2014 from http://www.petersons.com/college-search/finance-degree-vs-accounting-degree.aspx

(2013 May 30) Thomson, Jeff. Why Accounting and Finance Pros Are So Difficult To Hire. Forbes.com. Retrieved on September 3, 2014 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffthomson/2013/05/30/why-accounting-and-finance-pros-are-so-difficult-to-hire/

(2013 February 28) Hooks, Julian. The Difference Between Finance and Accounting Degrees. BusinessAdministrationInformation.com.  Retrieved on September 3, 2014 from http://www.businessadministrationinformation.com/resources/degrees/the-difference-between-finance-and-accounting-degrees

(2013 May 6) Finance vs Accounting Major. CPAInsider.net. Retrieved on September 3, 2014 from http://www.cpainsider.net/financevsaccountingmajor/

(2013 July 7) Hamilton, Brian. How Entrepreneurs Should Use Their Accountants. Forbes.com. Retrieved on September 3, 2014 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sageworks/2013/07/07/how-entrepreneurs-should-use-their-accountants/

(2013 March 20) Newtek. What To Look For In An Accountant. Forbes.com Retrieved on September 3, 2014 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/thesba/2013/03/20/what-to-look-for-in-an-accountant/

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Content Manager at Ignite Spot who climbs mountains on the weekends so she can drink her tea and enjoy the view.

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