Choosing a business accountant can be a tricky business, especially as you won’t be able to test the merits of their work until they have been handling your accounts for a while.
There is a line of accountants waiting to help cook your books and keep your finances intact. But how do you know if he or she is indeed the best professionals in the industry to consult?
An experienced accountant can save you time and money year after year. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not fail to understand the credibility of your accountant by making the right hiring decisions. Whether it is to manage your personal finances or manage your company’s financial account and books, the right accountant can help you receive the best in every measure possible.
There are steps you can take to ensure that your small business is receiving the best accountancy advice and support possible. The next time you consider hiring an accountant, remember to do the following:
Make a decision
As soon as you make the decision to hire a business accountant, you will need to create a shortlist. Speaking to friends and associates about their accountants, the services they offer, how much they pay etc can help you to start creating a list, but will also serve to act as a comparison when contacting accountants.
While seeking recommendations is the best way to go about your search for the right accountant, you can also contact local body organizations that certify accountants in this regard. A few sources such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) sets forth some guidelines to help individuals further with choosing the right accountants and accountancy procedures.
Check their qualifications
- The unfortunate scenario is that anyone today can call themselves an accountant. Therefore, it is important that you get them to prove their qualifications. Only a genuine firm will be chartered or certified, and will belong to one of the following three professional bodies-The Institute of Chartered Accountants
- The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
- The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
How big is their firm?
Big isn’t always best. In fact, you will often find that big accountancy firms aren’t best designed to deal with individuals or small businesses. For this reason you may find that a small or medium size accountancy firm will best be able to understand your requirements and offer your industry-specific advice to suit you.
While the size of the firm doesn’t matter, it does project their professionalism, standards, and clientele base to some extent. When there are a large number of employees, it actually means that their client base is probably as huge as that. And when they have such a following from clients, you know that you can totally rely on their job and performance.
How much do they cost?
The bigger the accountancy firm, the bigger the costs, but this doesn’t mean you should go for the cheapest option. Instead, compare their services against their cost and your budget, and determine if you are getting value for your money. Do not settle for a company that offers surprisingly inexpensive cost estimates because you may just end up taking a risk and compromising the quality of results.
Most chartered accountants will ask for a fixed monthly or annual sum whilst others will charge you based on an hourly rate, so use this information to determine if they are worth hiring.
If possible, have a look at their clients’ portfolio and determine their specialty and level of expertise. It is important that they have an up-to-date knowledge of your industry, so they can offer you the best tax planning strategies. More importantly, you may find that some of their extra services can take your business to a whole new level.
Referring to AICPA can help you judge the experience level of CPA’s (Certified Public Accountants) better. Yes, the experience level of your accountant can either make or break your business, so it’s best to be careful about it.
Can they help your business to grow?
It is important that as your business grows, your business accountant is not only able to grow with it but can handle the challenges that a larger business has got to offer. The last thing you want is to have to change your accountant at a later date. Determine if your accountant is keen to learn and grow, as an individual and professional in the field.
Choosing an accountant doesn’t have to be difficult. Following these simple steps can let you take advantage of a free business appraisal, and you can be one step closer to receiving quality tax advice from certified and professional accountants.