Small Business Tips

How to Choose the Right Accountant for Your Business

You’re ready to get an accountant on board to help look after your business books. Or maybe you already have one, and they’re just not quite up to scratch.

Choosing the right accountant for your business is a decision that you should not rush into. It requires careful consideration, a bit of research and a lot of trust.
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Here are some key points to bear in mind when on the hunt for an accountant.
What will they do for you?
An accountant can do far more than just lodge your tax return. There are various types of accountants that specialize in different areas of accounting (click here to read more).
Think about where your business falls short, and how an accountant might be able to help you save time and money by:
 
  • Providing invaluable advice regarding your financial management
  • Identifying problems early - such as late payments from customers, unsustainable cost of production and wasted inventory
  • Keeping your cash levels stable – without cash your business is doomed!
  • Pinpointing areas for growth within your business
  • Completing accurate tax and payroll – stay out of legal trouble!
  • Compiling financial reports
  • Assisting to secure loans and investment in order to grow your business
  • Helping to create a well considered business plan

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Whilst everything an accountant can offer you is useful, quality financial advice takes time and money, with accountants usually charging by the hour. Realistically how much of their service can you afford? Consider what is really important to you and your business. Have your accountant focus on those areas, or choose an accountant that specializes in the field of accounting most relevant to you.
Location
The importance of location will depend somewhat on how you want to communicate with your accountant – online, face-to-face, or a combination of the two.
If you are a strong supporter of good old face-to-face meetings, you want to find an accountant that works within close proximity to your business.
Alternatively, the flexibility offered by modern communication and accounting technologies, can minimise the need for face-to-face meetings. Communication technologies allow you to work with your accountant remotely, through email, Skype and video-conferences. With cloud accounting software your accountant can access your accounts from anywhere, anytime. These technologies mean that your accountant no longer has to be in your neighbourhood to still be accessible.
Fees
Do not be afraid to talk dollars. It is important to fully understand the accountant’s rates, and to negotiate if you feel appropriate. Keep in mind however; you usually get what you pay for. An experienced, more qualified accountant may charge a higher hourly rate, but the insight they can provide is invaluable. Think of it as spending now, and saving later. Remember, you can always save a few dollars by doing the basic data entry yourself!
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Search
Do not hire the first accountant you find online. Take advantage of your social networks when searching for the ideal accountant. Ask your family and friends if they know of, or use any accountants who might work well with your business. Linked-in is also a useful platform you can use to help find potential candidates.
  
Interview
You wouldn’t hire an employee without an interview and your accountant shouldn’t be any different. They will be working closely with your business’ financials, therefore you need to be sure that you are hiring someone you trust. It is also a good idea to do background checks, and to ask for references before taking anyone on board. If you can, interview several candidates. This way you will be sure you are hiring the right person for the job.
 
 Compatibility
As you will be working closely with your accountant, they should be someone that integrates seamlessly with your business culture. Put simply, you should get along with them! They should be professional AND personable. It is important that you feel comfortable with your accountant. You must be able to ask them anything about your business accounts and anything regarding the complicated world of accounting.
​The main point to keep in mind when considering how to choose the right accountant for your business is to take your time. It is an important decision! Do not rush into it, and do not leave it to the last minute.
The right accountant is an invaluable resource for your business. Trust your judgement and go find them!
 
Kate Hobbs