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General Accountant Vs ECommerce Accountant And Who Should You Hire

general-accountant-vs-ecommerce-accountant-and-who-should-you-hire
General Accountant Vs ECommerce Accountant And Who Should You Hire

If you’re an eCommerce business owner, we’re sure you’ve asked yourself this question: “Should I hire a general accountant or an eCommerce accountant?

What’s the difference between them?” This is a classic case of general accountant vs eCommerce accountant. Don’t worry – we’re here to explain everything in detail. So, let’s dive right in!

Understanding the Role of a General Accountant

We’ll begin with an overview of what a general accountant can do for you.

A general accountant handles various tasks that keep your finances in check. From recording daily transactions to managing payroll, they ensure every dollar is accounted for.

They prepare your financial statements, which tell you how much money you’re making and spending. They also handle tax matters, identifying what taxes you owe and helping you file them on time. This can prevent you from being penalized for late or incorrect filings.

Plus, they monitor your budget to help you stay on track. They’ll warn you if you spend too much and find ways to save money.

However, while general accountants are skilled in many areas, they might need to gain the specialized knowledge required for an eCommerce business. They may need to fully understand the ins and outs of eCommerce operations or the best ways to structure your business model.

That’s why an expert eCommerce accountant could be a better choice, as they’re proficient in managing all the unique aspects of online sales. They’ll be able to help you with everything from handling refunds to reconciling income from various sales channels.

Key Responsibilities of an eCommerce Accountant

An eCommerce accountant tracks every sale, refund, and expense online. They also use the latest software to organize and update your financial data.

They know how to align your accounts, whether you sell on your website, Amazon, or any other platform. Moreover, they specialize in online tax issues, like handling sales tax across different states or countries.

Now, let’s examine the specific skill set of an eCommerce accountant and why it matters for your business.

Specialized Skills of an eCommerce Accountant

An eCommerce accountant is an expert at calculating sales taxes, online payments, various eCommerce platforms, cross-border sales, and so much more. Here’s our summary.

Sales Tax Mastery

Sales tax is a tax charged on the sale of goods and services, usually calculated as a percentage of the purchase price and paid to the government.

A critical concept in sales tax is “nexus,” which refers to a business having a significant presence in a state or region. This means that you’re obligated to pay sales tax there.

An eCommerce accountant knows all about these rules and helps you manage them.

They will accurately calculate the right sales tax for each transaction, ensuring that customers are charged correctly based on their location. This careful management will keep your business legally compliant and maintain your customers’ trust.

Online Payment Proficiency

eCommerce accountants are experts at managing various online payment platforms, from credit cards to PayPal and other digital wallets. They make sure every transaction is accurately recorded in your financial books.

An eCommerce accountant’s skills include integrating payment gateways with your accounting software. This integration simplifies the reconciliation process, ensuring your financial records are precise and up-to-date.

With their help, you’ll have better visibility into your finances, which will help you make more informed decisions.

eCommerce Platform Expertise

As an eCommerce business owner, you probably use some of the most popular platforms today, like Wix, Shopify, Square Online, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, etc. These platforms are designed to help you sell online effectively, but managing them can get complex.

This is where an eCommerce accountant becomes invaluable. They can configure these platforms to align perfectly with your business’s accounting needs.

This integration is crucial for keeping your inventory records straight, your sales data accurate, and your customer transactions flawless. This means less time fixing errors and more time to grow your business.

Inventory Analytics

It is crucial to know precisely how much stock you have and how quickly it’s selling. That’s where an eCommerce accountant with inventory analytics expertise can make a difference.

They will examine your stock levels, determining how often items are sold and how efficiently orders are filled.

It helps them predict how much inventory they’ll need in the future so they’ll avoid having too much or too little stock. Having the right amount helps them meet customer demand without wasting money on products that sit on shelves.

Cybersecurity Basics

Cybersecurity is more critical than ever in today’s digital world, where online transactions are the norm. eCommerce accountants ensure that all financial transactions are completely safe.

They will set up systems that encrypt financial data, ensuring that all sensitive information is securely stored and only accessible to authorized personnel.

Moreover, eCommerce accountants often work closely with IT specialists to strengthen cybersecurity measures. Together, they implement strategies that safeguard your digital assets.

This helps prevent financial loss and builds trust among your customers.

Cross-Border Accounting

Managing financial transactions across countries comes with challenges, from guiding trade laws to handling currency exchanges.

eCommerce accountants are experts in these areas. They’ll make sure your global business operations comply with international standards. It’s their job to help you avoid potential legal and financial problems.

They understand the details of tax regulations in different countries, which is vital for setting prices and managing taxes efficiently. This ensures that your business doesn’t pay more than necessary.

If you aim to go global, an eCommerce accountant can simplify entering new markets by managing all the financials of international trade. This support lets you concentrate on expanding your business while they make sure your finances are in order.

Fulfillment Accounting

Fulfillment accounting involves eCommerce accountants monitoring the costs of storing, packaging, and shipping items.

They make sure these expenses are correctly recorded in your financial statements. This accurate recording helps show the actual profits and costs, giving you a clear view of your business’s economic health.

By understanding where your money goes in the fulfillment process, they can pinpoint areas where you might save money. This could be finding more cost-effective packing solutions, cheaper storage options, etc., which leads to improved profit margins.

When is the Right Time to Hire an eCommerce Accountant?

If you’re considering expanding globally or have too many tax obligations and financial data to handle, it’s undoubtedly the right time to get assistance. Let’s see how an eCommerce accountant can help you in these areas.

Global Market Expansion

As you start selling to customers in different countries, you’ll face new tax laws, currency exchange issues, and international trade regulations.

An eCommerce accountant can manage everything regarding global transactions, ensuring you comply with international tax standards.

They’ll handle currency conversions accurately and advise you on tax obligations in different markets. This expertise is vital to maximize your profits while expanding globally.

Complex Tax Obligations

Tax obligations quickly become complicated. eCommerce accountants understand the complexities of sales taxes, VAT, and other tax responsibilities that vary by location.

They ensure you comply with each area’s regulations, helping you avoid costly penalties for incorrect or late tax filings.

Also, as your business grows, the tax rules you must follow can change. An eCommerce accountant keeps track of these changes for you, ensuring your business always stays on the right side of the law.

Financial Data Overload

As your eCommerce business grows, so does the volume of financial data. Handling all this data can quickly become overwhelming.

An eCommerce accountant helps by organizing this data into clear, actionable reports. With their expertise, you will understand your business’s financial health and make better decisions based on accurate data.

They can pinpoint trends, track profitability, and identify areas where you can cut costs or boost revenue.

Preparing for Financial Audits

Financial audits are detailed examinations of your company’s financial records to verify their accuracy. External organizations, including the IRS, can conduct them, especially if there are questions about your tax filings.

During an audit, every financial statement and transaction is observed.

An eCommerce accountant will ensure all records are complete, accurate, and in order. They also know how to present these records to satisfy auditors.

If the IRS is involved, having an accountant who can communicate effectively on your behalf is crucial. They understand the legal and financial language used in audits and can respond to queries with the proper documentation and explanations.

What Is EcomBalance? 

EcomBalance is a monthly bookkeeping service specialized for eCommerce companies selling on Amazon, Shopify, eBay, Etsy, WooCommerce, and other channels.

We take monthly bookkeeping off your plate and deliver your financial statements by the 15th or 20th of each month.

You’ll have your Profit and Loss Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement ready for monthly analysis so you and your business partners can make better business decisions.

Are you interested in learning more? Schedule a call with our CEO, Nathan Hirsch.

And here are some free resources:

Final Thoughts on Selecting the Right Accountant

Let’s conclude this with a straightforward comparison to help you make the right choice.

A General Accountant

  • Basic financial management: They handle everyday financial tasks such as recording transactions and managing payroll.
  • Tax preparation: General accountants are adept at preparing your tax returns and ensuring you comply with local tax laws.
  • Financial reporting: They compile your financial statements, giving you insight into your business’s profitability and spending.

An eCommerce Accountant

  • Specialized knowledge: Understands the specific needs of online businesses, including managing multiple sales channels and digital transactions.
  • Sales tax expertise: Skilled in handling complex sales tax issues across different states or countries.
  • Global trade insight: Offers expertise in managing cross-border accounting challenges, helping your business expand internationally.

Overall, our advice is to hire an eCommerce accountant if you want to streamline all your online operations. You won’t make a wrong choice with a general accountant, either; it’s just that an eCommerce accountant knows digital waters way better and could be more beneficial to you.

Be sure to do thorough research, check all available options, and take your time to make a well-informed decision. We wish you the best of success with your business!

The post-General Accountant vs. eCommerce Accountant and Who Should You Hire appeared first on EcomBalance.

This article originally appeared on the EcomBalance Blog and is available here for further discovery.
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