So, you’ve recognised the need for an accountant for your business – someone not only to do the tax planning and financial tracking but also someone to offer you real world, practical advice on your business future.
However, it should soon become painfully apparent to you that searching for your perfect accountant is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, and you’ll want to be sure you find that needle, as switching accountants is not so easy.
There are certain things you should be able to do to distinguish the accountant that is right for you from the many who won’t be.
However, to be able to do that you must first determine what your own needs are, as you’ll have a hard time finding the right person for the job if you’re not entirely sure what you want them to do for you.
Make sure that the accountant you’re after specialises in small businesses and has dealt with small companies and clients in a similar situation as you are in now – that will mean they are in the best position to offer you advice and support as they’ve seen it all before. Ideally, such an accountant will also be familiar with your industry, and then you must decide how big a role you would like them to have in it.
It may sound obvious, but reassure yourself by checking professional qualifications such as their licences and experience. Check the response times of the personnel who will be involved in the work, and ensure that all fees and charges are in line with your budget requirements. If you think you may want some more specialist services in the future, such as auditing support, then you should check that they offer this, and at what rate.
It may seem surprising, but it is easy to not take any of this into consideration as most people assume that all accountants do more or less the same thing. Ensure your accountant can do everything you want them to do (and that they have had successful experiences doing the same in the past) before you choose them for your business.
A good small business accountant should be able to light the path towards your business future rather than simply showing you where you’ve come from. Aside from tracking your bookkeeping, tax returns and financial reports, a good accountant for your business must be able to show you how to use this data to further your business goals. Ideally, your small business accountant should be able to advise you on future tax planning and cash flow management, business consulting and your personal finance in order for you to succeed and grow.
Ask potential accountants what kind of creative business advice they can offer you based on your current situation.
Although this will be purely hypothetical, as they have not had access to your financial records or business plan, their responses and past work for other clients should give you a clear idea as to whether or not they can offer you more than simply filling out your tax returns.