Choosing the Perfect Accountant: Key Tips and Considerations

Published 25th May 2023

Choosing the right accountant for your business isn’t an easy task or something that should be rushed. The accountant you choose should be trustworthy, experienced, dependable, and able to provide you with the knowledge and advice your company needs to grow.

However, without a doubt, the responsibility for business success also lies with the good management of your finances, and this is crucial for a business to run smoothly.

This is where the need for an accountant arises, a dedicated person who can take care of your business finances, help secure your business's future, and allow you to focus on other business necessities and responsibilities.

We understand that if you are a start-up or small business, the daunting accounting tasks may have most likely fallen on your shoulders. This may be down to the fact you feel like you don’t need an accountant based on the size of your business. However, every business no matter how small needs to be fully in control of its finances and have a clear business plan for the future.

So, once you have decided it’s time to hire an accountant, the next step is to choose which accountant to hire. It is in your company’s best interest to have an experienced, capable person handling one of the most important areas of your business.

The right accountant will save you time and money year after year.

What does an Accountant do?

First of all, it’s not just accounts, tax compliance, and balancing the books and accountants' responsibilities are so much more than just these tasks. An accountant will work with you to grow your business and achieve your business aims, all the while offering support, advice, and guidance.

By working with an accountant, they can find out exactly what you’re entitled to that you may not know about and this can help you mould your future business strategy. An accountant can be the missing part that is needed to work out how achievable your future goals may be and work with you to maximise your future opportunities.

Staying on top of your business finances is a big task, and if you want to ensure the continual success of your business, an accountant could be the best investment you ever make.

Good accountants help companies grow, by managing complex financial work and offering advice on practical business issues.

This will be guaranteed to save you money in the short and long term.

How to choose the right accountant?

Choosing the right accountant is one of the most important decisions you can make. A good one can save you time and help your business grow; a bad one could cost you much-needed money especially if you are a start-up or small business.

Yet with thousands of accountants to choose from, we understand it can be a daunting call to make and how do you ensure you’re making the right choice?

It is all about working out what’s important to you and your business, and what you need. What do you want from your accountant? What value do you want them to add? What are your future plans an accountant may be able to help you with?

Here’s our guide to the things to look for and consider when choosing an accountant.

Which software do they use and are they up to date with technology?

Accountants often have their own preferred accounting software, over the years they may have become used to one particular brand or software. This can cause some problems if your company uses a different type of software and there could potentially be some issues with sharing data.

Try to find an accountant who uses the same software as you, or failing that one who is willing to do so. An even better option is to choose collaborative cloud-based accounting software with encryption built-in. This will mean you don’t have to worry about the risks involved in exchanging data back and forth.

You need an accountant who can teach you and offer training on how to use the latest software and set it up.

Do they have relevant experience and expertise in your industry?

Of course, the accountant you hire needs to have the relevant experience and expertise required. You may look for an accountant who has experience preparing tax returns and financial documents for companies of a similar size and revenue to yours.

Another advantage is if they’ve worked with companies in a similar market sector to yours, as this will help them understand the unique needs of your business and the industry you operate in.

You could even ask them about their current clients, and how they have grown and developed over the years to get a sense of whether they will be able to handle your needs as a business.

An accountant that can offer a wide range of skills can only come from many years of experience which they should be able to demonstrate with a bank of success stories, testimonials, and references.

This knowledge and experience must extend to your particular area of business. It is recommended that you work with an accountant who has relevant experience within your industry so you can hit the ground running straight away.

Can they help grow your business for the future?

A good accountant should of course take care of all the traditional accountancy work, but they should also support their clients by nurturing their business for the future. Think about your cash flow, your pricing structure, and your systems do you feel comfortable in these?

These elements are essential to the evolution of your business. If understood they will truly help you grow your business.

Accountants can demystify your data, and help take control of your numbers so you have the information at your fingertips that you will need to make better decisions.

They should also be able to improve your return-on-effort, it is essential to free up your time from the day-to-day finance work so you can focus on doing the things that help your business grow such as finding new customers, building the right team around you, and creating new processes.

All while helping you find scalable solutions and create a realistic business plan. An accountant can ensure your business plan is based on real evidence and real data, so you can be confident that your business goals are realistic and viable.

Does location matter?

It used to be important to have your company's accountant located nearby. But today, more companies are collaborating online, using cloud-based technology to manage their business. This means that location is less of an issue.

With cloud accounting, you and your accountant can view identical real-time data at the same time – no matter where you are. The decision about where to find your accountant really comes down to what suits your company best.

Depending on how you want to handle the finances, your accountant could really be based anywhere in the world. For example, if you’re happy to collaborate via email, phone calls, video conferences, or secure accounting software, then you could be in Lancashire and they could be in London.

If your accountant can be anywhere in the world, you don’t need to make compromises based on their location. You can find someone who really understands the specifics of your business or industry.

On the other hand, you may prefer face-to-face contact and find it useful to have someone who's able to go to business meetings with you. If this is the case, then you’ll need to limit your search to accountants who work nearby or are willing to travel to your premises from time to time.

Check they provide all the services you might need

Think about the services you need now, but also in the future as you grow. For example, do they provide: Tax, Book-keeping, Payroll, Regular accounting updates (sometimes called ‘management accounts’, Business mentoring or advisory, Cash Flow planning/forecasting, Business Planning, Budgeting, Business Valuations, etc.)

Consider these tips for choosing an accountant, and get in touch with us to find out more about how your company’s finances can be managed in a way that works for you.

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