Thriving in eCommerce is a numbers game. If your profit margins are too thin, your acquisition costs are too high, or your customer lifetime value is too low, you’ll always struggle. 

To make intelligent decisions for your eCommerce business, you need easy access to accurate, up-to-date numbers and financial data. A good eCommerce accountant makes that possible, but how do you choose one? 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your next eCommerce accountant (and why you need one in the first place).

Find an Accountant Who Understands Your Industry

While it may seem obvious, but let’s start with the basics. The eCommerce industry is very different from how people previously did business. And, not all accountants are up to speed on how eCommerce works. So, the first thing you need to do is find one who is.  

Most eCommerce businesses rely on platforms like Shopify to sell their products to customers across the nation or even the world. They also use apps to integrate these platforms and payment processors into their accounting software. 

If that description sounded simple, keep in mind that it added three different pieces to the accounting puzzle: 

  1. Understanding Shopify (and other platforms)

  2. Multi-state and international sales tax

  3. And app integrations

If you find yourself working with an accountant who isn’t familiar with these new ways of doing business and the pain points all eCommerce businesses have, you’re likely to run into trouble.    

You need an eCommerce accountant - or team of eCommerce accountants - who understand the ins and outs of the industry. It takes a unique workflow to handle eCommerce bookkeeping and accounting. And, the right system can save you time and money. But, it also gives you better insight into your business to increase profits and cash flow and reach your goals.   

Find an Accountant as Flexible as You Are

As an eCommerce seller, your business runs primarily online, and you’re likely pretty time and location independent. So why work with an accountant who limits that flexibility? 

Your next eCommerce accountant should be comfortable with cloud-accounting tools and online communication. That way, you can work at your pace from anywhere in the world while efficiently collaborating with your accountant.

Xero and QuickBooks Online are not only flexible and straightforward, but they also have great eCommerce integrations. So if your accountant is comfortable in the cloud, you’ll have an easy time partnering with them. This brings us to the next point to remember...

Find an Accountant Who Will Partner With You

Your next eCommerce accountant should be more than a number cruncher; they should be a partner helping you reach your goals. You want to work with someone who can answer questions, help you understand your financial situation, and interpret your financial records into actionable intel. 

Your job as an eCommerce seller is to bring great products to market and market them to just the right customers. 电竞竞猜选手今日网址 isn’t in your job description, and you may not be fluent in finance. This is why your accountant needs to be a collaborative advisor who can help you make the most of your accounting data. 

Look for someone who’s accessible and open to communicating, whether that’s by email or video chats. When you have questions, you should get answers, so find an eCommerce accountant whose accessibility matches your needs. 

Find an Accountant Who Can Scale With You

This may be the most significant piece of the puzzle in finding the perfect accountant for your eCommerce business. 

By nature, eCommerce businesses must be scalable. You can turn up the marketing, expand your audience, and grow your business over time. For many, this is the appeal of getting into eCommerce. You may have dreams of taking your business to the next level and growing your revenue over the next few years. To do that smoothly, you’ll need an accounting team that can scale with you. 

When you’re first getting started, you may work with just a bookkeeper and bring your books to a CPA at the end of the year for taxes. But as your business grows, so does your need for accounting guidance, software and systems implementations, and financial insight. Where once you only needed a bookkeeper, you’ll soon need a savvy accounting team. As you continue to grow, you’ll eventually need strategic guidance, similar to a CFO. 

Transitioning from one accountant to another as you grow can be a big challenge. This is where an outsourced accounting department, like Basis 365, can be a lifesaver. As your business grows, you can scale your accounting services to match your needs while working seamlessly with the same team. This eliminates those awkward transitions between providers and keeps you fully supported if your usual accountant needs to take time off.  

Next Steps

Take a good look at your eCommerce business and identify your needs and goals. What level of help do you need? How rapidly do you plan to grow your business in the next year or two or five? What software applications are you using to run your eCommerce business, and will they scale?

As you reach out to accountants, have a list of questions ready to make sure they fit with your business. Take into account the four areas we just discussed.

If you want to know more about Basis 365 and how an outsourced accounting department can help you reach your goals,  check out how we work with eCommerce businesses

Josh Richards