How to Choose a Good Accountant for your Business

by Wasim Ismail on March 3, 2011

Once every year comes a time in your business calendar when you have to carry out your annual accounts and  annual returns and pay all of your taxes, which is obligatory to everyone. This process can take up lot of your time especially if you are not fully aware of what needs to be done exactly. This can have an effect on building your business online as it takes away your time when you could be concentrating on building up your business.

In such situation having a good accountant on your side to assist you with your finance will help tremendously, not only in managing your annual accounts and finances, but also giving you more time to work on your business as you have appointed a specific person to carry out the work for you.

Choosing a good accountant can be a bit tricky. It may seem straight forward to pick up the yellow pages or look online for an accountant, but there is more to it. The accountant that you choose needs to be part of your business, they need to understand your business, and also need to understand the way you work. If you have an accountant that is not compatible with you and your business, there will always be misunderstandings and in some instances even differences of opinion.

Having an account is a two-way relationship. Many businesses expect the accountant to have all the answers to  their finances and put a whole lot of responsibility on to their shoulders.

I am going to mention some qualities below of what you need to look for in an accountant, and what to expect from a good accountant.

Firstly you need to understand the there are two type of accountants. One who just do bookkeeping and the other who assist you in your end of year accounts, along with submitting them to Companies House and other governing bodies that may be required in your country.

What to look out for in a good accountant

Qualification:
When looking for an accountant for your business, you want the best. Someone that is trustworthy, qualified and has experience in your industry. Most certified charted accountants have their qualification on most of their stationeries, and promotional materials. If you are in doubt its best to ask to see their qualifications.

Professional Bodies:
Make sure that your accountant that you choose is part of one of these bodies

  1. The Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW)
  2. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  3. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

This will ensure that a professional governing body backs your accountant. Which will give you a peace of mind.

Experience:
Choose an accountant that already deals with similar business to yours, in terms of size, turnover, and industry, as they will have a better understanding of your business. If they do come across any objections or difficulties, they will be able to deal and assist you appropriately due to their experience.

Costs:
Accountants charge their own various fees, negotiate a good price for your services, you can set your own payment guidelines, whether you prefer monthly, annually, or quarterly. Make sure you are clear on what exactly the accountant’s charges will be to avoid any unexpected bills. Once you have all the costing, compare them with few other accountants, before choosing your final one.

Location:
Look for an accountant that is local to your business, so the accountant will be familiar with your local business, and it will make it easier for you to have regular contact with them.

Working relationship:
It is important that you have a healthy relationship with your accountant as they will be managing and handling your finances. When you meet your accountant for the first time, you will need to distinguish if this firm or a person is the one that you can work with. It is extremely important you can work and trust your accountant.

Research:
Before signing up and committing to the accountant do some background research. Ask their existing clients, look for testimonials and feedback online. It is always best to see what others have to say first.

Communication:
Once you have chosen your accountant, you need to stay in constant touch with them. Don’t just see them once a year when your accounts are due. You need to refresh their mind of your business, as they will most probably will have other clients too.

I believe every month or every quarterly arrange a date to spend an hour or two with your accountant to go through things. Every time I meet my accountant, I learn something new. As things are always changing, after every meeting I am more confident and reassured that I have a good accountant to support me.

6 Must Questions To Ask:

  1. Qualifications of the accountant
  2. Existing customers
  3. Any feedbacks and reviews
  4. What experience do they have in your industry and niche
  5. Fees and costs
  6. What additional service can they offer you to benefit your business

When I was choosing an accountant, I must have met at least 10-15 accountants. They all told me similar things, of what they can do and how they can help. When Choosing an accountant you should see how well they do their job and what value they can bring to your organization.

The accountant firm that I settled on was Zak Partnership, www.zakpartnership.co.uk, feel free to contact him and mention my name, they will make sure that they take good care of you and give you a good deal.

Image: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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