Finding the right accountant is a big decision for any business, and one of the most important decisions you make. If you find a good one, it saves you time and money – a not so good one might potentially do the opposite.
When you’re looking for someone to help you with your accountancy, it’s important to find a good fit, someone you think you’ll be able to work with almost as a business partner. Someone who has experience working with small businesses like your own will be an asset, understanding the way you run the business and the issues you face.
It’s worth speaking to three or more potential accountants before you make a final decision. Ask what qualifications they have and whether they are industry regulated; an ICAEW member, for example, will have professional indemnity insurance, protecting you from any decisions you make on bad advice from them.
Talk to other businesses in your area and see if you can get recommendations for them. Testimonials from existing clients are also good.
Could your money work harder?
A good accountant does more than just take care of your tax return and make sure that your accounts are up to date. If you’re looking for capital, they should be knowledgeable about sources of funding such as grants and tax relief schemes. If there’s anything your business is entitled to, they should be getting it for you.
Don’t be timid when it comes to asking about the fees either, you might be able to arrange package deals, monthly payments or easy payment terms if money is an issue.
Is your accountant going to be a good fit?
It’s absolutely vital that whoever you choose to work with understands the needs of your business, and can give you advice and insight that actually helps. If you can find an accountancy firm that has expertise in your sector, with plenty of background in working with small businesses, they are more likely to understand your challenges, and their prices are likely to fit too. Ask if they have worked with similar firms at the same stage in business as you.
What sort of engagement do you need from them? Some are more distant than others and if it’s important to you that your chosen accountant will be involved in your day to day business development, make that clear from the outset to avoid shocks when it comes to bill payment time. It can be cheaper to use a firm that don’t really have much contact with you but if you have any issues it can make you feel as if you’re imposing, not to mention worrying about the cost.
If you opt for a bigger firm, make sure that you know which member of the company will be dealing with your day to day accounts, and meet them if possible.
Finally, look for an accountant who seems approachable and friendly, and who you can talk to honestly about your business and its issues. You need to find someone who you can trust and relate to when you’re talking about issues that affect your finances.
All data and information provided in this advert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant. Emma Stevens Accountancy Ltd makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information in this ad and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.