Keeping your books and records tight is essential for any business, but it’s doubly important for cannabis companies because the industry is so tightly regulated. It’s essential that you track and account for all your revenues, expenses, and financial activities, so you can minimize headaches during tax season and beyond.

To do that, you need to have an excellent accountant who can look after the financial side of your business. Read on to learn about the top traits and characteristics to look for in your accountant.

Find an accountant with cannabis business knowledge and expertise

Cannabis accounting is a special breed and requires someone with in-depth knowledge of the industry. That’s why you need to find a CPA who has experience handling the finances of other cannabis businesses.

See to it that they’re familiar with the ins and outs of the industry — from farming to food and retail, and make sure they’re well-versed with accounting procedures and tax codes such as 280E and 471.

Choose someone with a strong network

You want your CPA to be well-connected so they can refer you to other professionals in the event that your business requires services that the accountant can’t provide.

Having access to a network of other cannabis professionals will also help you connect with those who can keep you updated and informed with what’s going on in the industry.

Look for an accountant who’s responsive and communicative

When you’re talking to prospective accountants, make it a point to evaluate their communication practices. Do they respond to email quickly? Can you reach them via phone or SMS? If the answer is “No” to either or both of those questions, you should probably keep looking.

Run away from those who “get creative” with their books

When dealing with a highly-regulated industry such as cannabis-selling, the last thing you want is to have an accountant who likes to find shortcuts or who gets “creative” with your books. So if you encounter someone who tells you they have out-of-the-box methods for lowering your taxes, run away.

Instead, go for someone who does things strictly by the book and doesn’t take shortcuts. Yes, their methods may take more time, but you can rest easy knowing that your accountant has your back.

Don’t forget about software integration

If you’re already using a specific accounting platform in your business, be sure to ask your accountant if they can work with your system. It can cost upwards of $100K just to have your CPA convert records from one platform to another, so you want to make sure that your software is aligned with what your accountant is using. Speaking of which, if you’re looking to learn more about cannabis business software, be sure to check out our whitepaper, Building Your Cannabis Business: Choosing the Right Software. From POS and accounting programs to marketing and analytics, this whitepaper covers everything you need to know about cannabis business solutions.