6 Top Tips For Choosing An Accountant
How do you find the best one?
POSTED BY JONATHAN VOWLES ON 24/09/2019 @ 8:00AM
All accountants are the same, right? Well actually, no! So, how do you choose an accountant? More importantly, when choosing an accountant, which one is right for you?
If you're choosing an accountant then ensure you get the best one for you!
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This is a question that every business owner needs to answer, so let's delve into this question and give you some help. Choosing your accountant is a really important decision for every business owner.
Get a great accountant, and they will make a positive difference to you and your business. On the other hand, make the wrong choice and it can end up costing you, even if you don't realise it at the time.
Here is a list of 6 top things to consider when choosing an accountant:
What sort of accountant do you want?
Not all accountants are the same. Which means the first thing to decide is what sort of help you want. Pretty much any accountant should be sufficiently experienced and qualified to deal with your accounts or VAT, but a good accountant should be able to help with so much more.
A good accountant will not only sort your accounts and tax returns, but also help you set up your accounting system properly, offer business advice, be able to track your cash flow and provide tax advice. All in all, they will play a crucial role in your business and should provide useful and timely advice.
There are several different qualifications, and Chartered Accountants or Chartered Certified Accountants are usually the best. So, start by making a list of the different sort of help and advice you need from your accountant and the functions you want them to deliver.
Research available accountants
OK, so this is a self-explanatory one, but how do you do this? The Institute of Chartered Accountants has a search facility on their website, as do software providers like Xero and QuickBooks. Ask family, friends and peers for their recommendations. Obviously, Google will throw up lots of names, but that can be an indiscriminate way of searching.
Make a short list and check them out
Once you have a short list of accountants, go see them and check them out:
Ask questions to find out about their service levels, fees, experience, staff levels, etc. This is where you check that not only can they do what you want them to do, but how they work. Are you dealing with a one man or woman band, or a business with a team of people? Will you have a dedicated contact or is it like calling a call centre? Asking how they see you working together often gives an insight into them.
What is their experience like? Do they have other clients like you?
What are their qualifications?
Ask what services they think your business needs and how you can manage your finances more efficiently.
Ask if they have references or testimonials from past customers.
You need to trust your accountant
Which means you need to choose one that you like and respect. It's not just that you admire their knowledge; your accountant will end up knowing lots about you. It is like choosing a business partner, so choose one that is approachable, easy to talk to, someone who gives you straight honest advice and someone you will want to work with.
Agree how often you meet up with your accountant
Your accountant should be your trusted advisor, but you need to have regular catch up meetings with them so that you can discuss your business and get their advice! Quarterly might be often enough to make sure that they help you to review your finances, give feedback on your business and help you to run it smoothly and efficiently.
Agree on prices up-front and in writing
You get what you pay for! So, don't just jump for the cheapest accountant, but you also don't want to pay more than you are comfortable with. You want to make sure you are getting value for your money.
Also, a good accountant will provide you with a written price so you know where you stand and that there are no future misunderstandings as to what is included.
If you are in the process of choosing an accountant and would like to discover what JVCA can offer you, do give me a call on 01234 752 566 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
More about Jonathan Vowles ...
I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.
My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.
I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.
I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.
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