How do you choose an accountant for your business?
Choosing an accountant is perhaps one of the most important decisions a business, contractor or individual might have to take.
If you pick the wrong one, this could cost you dearly, by this I mean you could get loads of penalties from HMRC if they are lazy to file your taxes on time or if they file incorrectly.
I often get asked this question and to summarise I have researched this topic to make this exercise easier.
Rule number one
I believe that it’s more so about the mindset of the accountant. At times, we look for accountants for many reasons and elements of what we try to accomplish but do we really take the time to gain the personal aspect relationships with accountants. Personal does not mean background checks but what intentions not on paper make up the development that matches your passion and creates a possible shared interest foundation with the client.
I think an accountant should be looked at as more than who they are or where they come from. Often, people don’t want to know them but only want them from by outside association referral suggestion or location instead of venturing the full portrait. If more people took the time to investigate these factors, a lot of business ventures would be more exciting and long lasting. Telling employees to communicate and build relationships should extend more to outside stabilitators as well, not just to sponsors and investors.
Where Can I Find an Accountant?
Finding an accountant can be done through referrals, classified ads and social media.
Before you do a full-blown hunt through social media or posting on sites such as indeed.com, start by asking colleagues in your field for a referral. What you really want is a recommendation from a colleague who has hired someone to do the exact type of work you require, and who has done it in your industry. This is vitally important as it will save you time from explaining the details of your industry once you find the right candidate.
Prepare a list of questions for the contacts who do respond – Were tasks completed on time? Were the reports detailed and accurate? Were there any problems? If so, were they made aware of them first or did they find out later? (in other words, how responsible and proactive was the potential candidate?)
If referrals don’t work, consider placing an ad. Do up a one pager that includes the educational requirements and work experience you expect from those applying. Remember to specify whether you want an accountant or CPA. Include the salary and (if this is a full-time position) benefits. Then put it up on a job search site. You can also simply put out a notice to all your FaceBook, Twitter or LinkedIn colleagues that you’re looking for an accountant.
What Will I Look for When Interviewing an Accountant?
When interviewing an accountant, there’s a number of things you want to consider:
- What school did the candidate attend? If he’s a CPA, you can check the credentials through your state board.
- Previous work experience. How much and where.
- Does the candidate understand and stay up to date on the best accounting practices, and the latest in government regulation and taxes for your industry?
- Can the candidate provide a list of recommendations from past/current clients? You’ll want to contact them by phone.
- If you’re not hiring this person full time, how many other clients does he have? Does he even have the time to take you on? If he has staff, will he be personally overseeing the work or delegating it to someone else? How involved will he be? You’ll want to get at least a basic understanding of the candidate’s schedule, and if the hiring process proceeds farther, you can work out the details later.
Agreement to the Terms.
- Are the fees agreeable to you both? Do all your expectations line up with the candidate’s? Are there any concerns that you cannot address, or agree upon?
Personality and Attitude.
- At the end of the meet, ask yourself how it went and if you feel you will get along with this person. Maybe the candidate knows very well the regulations around your industry and the latest best practices when it comes to managing finances, but doesn’t seem so concerned about privacy issues. Maybe it’s a story he told about another client that didn’t sit well with you. Alternatively, maybe he told you he went the extra mile on something that you feel as a client you would appreciate. Consider these criteria as important as all the others.
Tips to Choose an Accountant for Your Small Business
The importance of having a qualified accountant is crucial if you want your small business to be successful and have a healthy financial balance. Therefore, anyone running a small business, regardless of the industry, should take accounting quite seriously.
And, luckily for anyone looking for a highly experienced accountant in Brisbane or the surrounding areass, Syndeo Group is here to help. Syndeo accountants will take care of taxation, offer great financial assistance, and help your small business climb the ladder.
As a bonus, here’s what you should consider when choosing an accountant for your small business:
Top 4 Tips to Choose an Accountant
Determine Your Needs
Before starting to look for an accountant you should first determine your needs and what aspects of your business you expect your accountant to handle. The kind of work and responsibilities can really affect your choice. For instance, if you want your accountant to provide taxation advice, prepare tax returns, or audited financial statements, then you should hire a certified accountant, like Syndeo accountants.
Choose Relevant Expertise
When looking for an accountant for a small business, you should definitely choose one having the relevant experience and expertise, i.e. someone who works with small businesses. Even better, try finding an accountant who has experience in working with small businesses in your specific industry so that you can receive the right financial advice for the growth of your business. Fortunately, Syndeo accountants have the right experience to help you achieve your goals.
Accounting Software System
In general, every accountant has a preferred accounting software system. But, this can be challenging sometimes due to two different reasons. First, your small business may not use the same software which will lead to having issues sharing data.
Finally, every well-qualified and experienced accountant, like Syndeo accountants, should be using the latest technology – cloud computing. If so, your small business may enjoy plenty of benefits including great data security, remote data access, electronic invoicing, ACH transfer, etc. Cloud computing enables data accessibility from wherever you are, through an internet connection. And, you will be able to discuss emergencies with your accountant at any time.
Meet the accountant in person before choosing to hire him or her.
You need to trust your accountant so it is important to meet him or her in person. You should use this time to ask a few questions so that you can get a feel for the accountant’s style and personality.
You need to make sure that he or she understands your taxes and your situation to ensure that he or she can handle your unique tax needs. It’s really important to see if you “click” with one another, especially as you will be taking advice from him or her.
Ask the right questions.
You should ask what types of licenses or designations that they have, as well as their experience. You want to know how long they have been in business, as well as what their specialties are. Don’t hesitate to ask about their fees and the length of time that it will take to get your taxes done.
You may want to talk to them about your future plans. Will they give you advice and help you get set up better for next year?
Check that your accountant is qualified for the job
Think about using a qualified accountant, one who’s qualified with, for example, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland or in England and Wales, or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. If you use a qualified accountant then you have recourse to their professional body if the accountant makes a bad mistake.
Choose an accountant who will act on your behalf
Choose an accountant who will act as your agent with HMRC, the taxman. That could save you, potentially, a lot of difficult conversations, because your accountant can talk to HMRC on your behalf.