Accounting in Pittsburgh – How to Find the Best Accounting Firm in Pittsburgh for Your Small Business


If you’re looking for the best accounting firm in Pittsburgh for your small business, here are five specific facts about the city and five sure-fire ways to find the accounting firm that best suits your needs.

Pittsburgh is the most livable city in the United States. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, has a population of 311,647 people. The city’s seven-county surrounding area has a population of 2,354,957 people. The largest and most prosperous county is Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh. These seven counties have over 1,000 accounting firms, with Pittsburgh accounting for 40%. More than half of them serve small businesses.

The Economist named Pittsburgh the most livable city in the United States in 2005 and again in 2009. Pittsburgh was ranked first in the Places Rated Almanac in 2007. Pittsburgh was ranked first in both Forbes Magazine and Yahoo! in 2010. Pittsburgh was named one of the best cities for entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur Magazine.

Pittsburgh is known as the City of Bridges. Pittsburgh holds the world record for the most bridges, with 446 within city limits. These bridges connect the Allegheny River to the northeast and the Monongahela River to the southeast, forming the Ohio River and the city’s Golden Triangle. They combine the town with the four surrounding neighborhoods: the North Side/North Hills, the South Side/South Hills, the East End, and the West End. Four interstates (I-376, I-79, I-279, and I-579), known as the Parkway East, Parkway West, Parkway North, and Crosstown to Pittsburghers, and two major expressways (Route 28 and Route 22), connect 237 boroughs and 202 townships and Downtown Pittsburgh.

Most of the larger accounting firms serving Pittsburgh’s major corporations are in Downtown Pittsburgh. However, almost all accounting firms serving the city’s ever-growing small business population are concentrated in the city’s northern, southern, eastern, and western outskirts. These firms serve small businesses in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, as well as the other six counties that comprise the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Small business accounting firms in these areas have strong ties to the community, people, and businesses.

Pittsburgh has been transformed. Pittsburgh was a filthy, smoky steel town known as Steel City due to its dominance as a massive steel-making hub thirty years ago. When that industry failed, and Pittsburgh lost its manufacturing bases, blue-collar workers, and corporate behemoths such as Westinghouse, Gulf Oil, Koppers, and Rockwell International, the city faced its first economic crisis in over a century. To its credit, the town transformed like no other in the country and emerged as a thriving white-collar metropolis twenty years later.

Pittsburgh is still a steel town today. US Steel, the world’s tenth-largest steel company, is headquartered there. Allegheny Technologies, a global steel manufacturer, operates eight regional manufacturing plants. There are still 7,000 steel workers in the city and another 12,000 in the primary metals sector. Even though the region has lost 100,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 30 years, the industry remains one of the region’s most significant contributors to the economy. What has changed is the sector’s diversification. Eight Fortune 500 companies have joined forces with cutting-edge companies in life sciences, robotics, information technology, and research. The newly emerging industries driving revenue and employment for the region are health care, education, research, financial services, and entertainment/tourism.

Accounting is one of the fastest-growing fields supporting the city’s transition to a white-collar economy. This is especially true as the city shifts away from industry and toward service and technology. Many of the newly emerging companies in the local economy are small businesses. Though over 400 accounting firms already serve companies in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County alone, the number grows dramatically as you move into the other seven counties surrounding the city.

Pittsburgh is a growing city. The local economy reflects the national economy as it battles the recession. However, the region has fared better than most of the country and is poised for significant growth in 2011. Economists from the city’s largest financial institutions anticipate 13,000 new jobs in the Greater Pittsburgh Area this year. Unemployment is expected to fall below 8% as more giant corporations begin to hire and newly established businesses expand. Additional hiring will be evident as new companies select themselves there.

The city’s largest employer, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is hiring. Retail behemoths like Dick’s Sporting Goods and General Nutrition Center (GNC) are expanding. Google now has a 40,000-square-foot office in Pittsburgh and has announced expansion plans. Natural gas from the Marcellus Shale will significantly contribute to the local economy. Cultural arts, including film production, are flourishing, and dozens of new information technology firms are springing up to support the expanding research activity at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

Most new businesses in the area are small businesses supporting these significant industries. As the site grows, so will these businesses, and the need for more specialized accounting services will become more apparent. Accountants in the Pittsburgh area currently provide 18 different types of accounting to small businesses, including income tax accounting and project accounting, to name a few.

Pittsburgh is known as the City of Champions. The Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Pittsburgh Penguins are the city’s three major league teams. Two of those teams have brought championships to the city, with the Steelers winning six Super Bowls and the Penguins winning three Stanley Cups. The Steelers have given Pittsburgh fans a reason to express their hometown pride by simply waving their Terrible Towel, thanks to the brilliant idea of a beloved Pittsburgh sportscaster and his Terrible Towel. Steeler Nation, a brotherhood of loyal fans across the country that has quietly and selflessly raised millions of dollars for a local charity in Pittsburgh, was founded by this marketing icon.

This sense of community, brotherhood, and generosity can be found in almost every neighborhood and society in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Pittsburghers are a proud, hardworking, friendly, and generous group. Many of them have lived in their hometown for many years, and they have built hundreds of small businesses to support their families, communities, and the city they call home. Accounting firms in the area have their roots in these same neighborhoods and have successfully guided and supported these businesses and the local communities and organizations they serve. These small businesses continue to thrive as a result of their efforts.

You can easily find the accounting firm in Pittsburgh that best meets your small business needs if you have an excellent working knowledge of the city, its economy, and its people. Here are five surefire ways to get started.

Take note of your location and the place of the accounting firm with which you intend to work. Pittsburgh is a large metropolitan city with over 400 neighborhoods and communities as diverse as its residents. These neighborhoods and communities make Pittsburgh unique, and you must find an accounting firm familiar with these areas and the businesses that call them home. Like many other major cities, Pittsburgh suffers from traffic congestion, construction delays, and inclement weather. These conditions wreak havoc on the city’s roads at any time during a typical business day. Don’t waste your time driving across town to see your accountant. Furthermore, if your accounting firm is nearby, they should be willing to visit your place of business.

Concentrate your search in Pittsburgh on firms that specialize in small business accounting. Accounting firms for small businesses keep track of salaries and wages, deductions for federal, state, and local taxes and Social Security, utility costs, maintenance, depreciation, amortization, interest, and rent. They also prepare tax returns and manage payroll, health insurance, and 401K retirement plans. You’ll want your accounting firm to handle these tasks for you. If they can also provide sales, marketing, and financial services to meet your small business’s ever-growing needs, that’s even better.

Consider what you know you want to receive regularly from your accounting firm. Do you want them to reconcile your business checking account monthly so you know how your business is doing and can better manage your cash? Do you want an income statement that breaks down your revenue and expenses every month or every quarter so you can see how well your company is doing? Do you wish to receive a balance sheet that provides a snapshot of your company’s financial situation at any given time so that you can give proper financial reporting to banks, investors, and vendors deciding how much credit to extend to you? Any accounting firm in Pittsburgh that claims to be a small business accounting firm should be able to provide you with all of these services as standard, including as many consultations as you may require to run your business effectively and efficiently.

Before you choose an accounting firm, get answers to all of your questions. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

• Where in Pittsburgh is your accounting firm located?
• Do you offer accounting services to small business owners? Can you look after my accounting needs?
• Do you have any ties to the community? Has your Chamber of Commerce or the Small Business Administration recognized you for outstanding service to a small business owner?
• What kind of monthly/quarterly/yearly reports should I expect from you? How will these reports help me manage my business more effectively? Will I be able to comprehend them without your assistance?
• How and in what format do you want information from me? How frequently will you require that information?
• How can I best communicate with you with a question or concern? How fast will you respond?
• How can you assist me in expanding my business?

Start your search with Google rather than the Yellow Pages. Begin your search by typing “Pittsburgh Accountants” or “Pittsburgh Accounting Firms.” If necessary, narrow your search by location and type of accounting services, such as “Accounting Firms In Kennedy Township” or “Small Business Accounting In Pittsburgh.”

Recognize early on that accounting is the foundation that will largely determine your success. And keep in mind that for the small business owner, it’s all about saving time and money. Using these five sure-fire methods to find the best accounting firm in Pittsburgh for your small business will save you time and money, and your company’s success depends on it.

For a list of Pittsburgh accounting firms.

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Read also: How To Make The Most Of Your Mistakes And Expand Your Business.