How do I choose an Accountant?

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How do I choose the right Accountant for my business?

You’ve made the decision to hire an accountant, but how do you choose which accountant is best for you to use?

There are many ways to find accountants – speak to your friends, peers, customers, and social networks and ask for recommendations.  This is a great way to see who has a good reputation and who you are probably better off staying away from. We get a lot of recommendations through Facebook groups where people ask for recommendations – word of mouth is an excellent way of finding someone to help you.

Many Accounting Bodies and software providers have a directory of their members or certified partners, where you can search for accountants in your local area.

Some things to think about and ask when meeting with a potential accountant are:

  • With cloud based software, Skype and email your accountant no longer needs to be local.  However, if you prefer face to face meetings then look for someone local.
  • What sort of service do you require?  Do you want a fully managed package where you don’t need to do anything other than run your business, or do you want someone to just do your year end accounts and/or tax returns?
  • What software do they use – can you access it (ie cloud software)?
  • Does the accountant work on fixed fees or an hourly rate?  What is included in their fees?  Do they charge extra for advice/telephone calls/answering emails etc?
  • Do you have a niche or specialized business?  If so, it could be beneficial to appoint an accountant with the relevant expertise and experience.  Ask for details of their experiences in your business sector.
  • What are their qualifications?  Do they belong to a professional body?  Do they have a license to practice?  There are lots of people setting up as accountants who do not have the necessary qualifications.  The most common to look out for are AAT, ACA, ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAS and ICAEW.  All accountants should have a license to practice through their professional body. Do not be afraid to ask for these.
  • Always ask for references too.  You may have noticed I have a few references on my website and I will always be happy to give you details of clients to contact (once I have the authority from them to do so), so you can speak to them directly and ask any questions about me and my service.  If an accountant is unwilling or unable to do this it should set off some alarm bells!

Remember, you get what you pay for and quality of service is essential for you and your business.  Don’t necessarily go with the cheapest (although please note sole trader accountants will be cheaper as they generally work from home and have less overheads, whereas larger practices have offices and staff and more overheads to pay for so will be more expensive).

Your accountant will need to know a lot of personal information about you, so it is very important that you feel comfortable working with them, and most importantly that you trust them.  It is a good idea to meet with a few different people to see who gets you and your business and see who you connect with on a personal level.  Yes, it will be a business relationship, but you’ll be working with them hopefully for a long time, so it’s important to connect on a personal level too.

I know it sounds cheesy, but listen to your gut feeling – if you don’t like someone, even if you can’t put your finger on why, listen to your gut feeling and don’t choose them!

It is very easy to change accountants (so don’t listen to any scare mongering about how hard it is) – don’t be afraid to if you’re not getting the service you want.

A good accountant will save you money, not cost you money, they could be your most valuable asset.  I like to work with you in building your business, and give added value, as well as save you time so you can do what you love with the people you love.

To see how Pink Pig Financials can help you and your business please visit our Work With Us page where you can complete a quick questionnaire and book a discovery call with us.