When you are choosing an accountant, it is very important to choose the right one. It is almost as though you are choosing a new business partner, someone that will become a trusted colleague whom you can depend upon. Ideally, you will want an accountant who offers advice and guidance through your own personal situation. What are the things you need to watch out for when choosing an accountant?
It is worth saying that before you decide, you should interview several candidates – do not automatically accept the first offer you receive as it does not always mean it is the best one. Interviewing people can help in better defining what it is that you do want and what you do not want in an accountant.
You will need to consider the location of your accountant. In previous years, having an account that was in your local area was vital. However, nowadays, accountants and their clients are now content with having an online relationship, using cloud-based technology to carry out business. For example, you may be using accountants in Edgware, North London, whilst you are based in Croydon. Therefore, if you are happy to collaborate with your accountant over the internet and/or this simply suits your lifestyle more due to travel, for example, location is less of an issue.
If you prefer having a face-to-face relationship with the people you work with, you may want to seek an accountant in your local area. Similarly, you should consider this if you want an accountant to come with business meetings with you.
In a variety of countries accountants are regulated by professional bodies. These professional bodies look after accounting qualifications and aim to maintain the highest of professional standards.
Chartered accountants are highly qualified accountants, who have earned their place through a degree-level program of study completed alongside working a full time roll for an accountancy firm, such as PwC or KPMG. Given this higher level of experience and knowledge, we recommend you seek out a chartered accountant to get the best service possible.
Of course, it is possible to hire an accountant who is not certified or charted, and their services may be considerably cheaper. However, if your accountant is going to serve purpose for your business and be a big part of your company’s growth, it may be an unwise business move to not go with a chartered accountant. While doing tasks such as bookkeeping, tax preparation and general financial management do not necessarily require an accountant with a chartered qualification, you will need a chartered accountant around if you ever need to take out a loan or if you are audited.
Ensuring Relevant Expertise
When looking for an account, you should find someone who have experience with the requirements that you hold for them. If you are a small company, you should find someone who is used to dealing with tax returns and other financial documents for companies which are smaller in size and even with similar revenue to yours. Sometimes you may need an accountant as part of a wider process. For example, dealing with a corporate finance broker with your business may require an accountant to get all your financial documents in order.
Even better, if you can find someone who has dealt with companies in the same sector as yours. This way the will understand the unique needs of your particular business a bit more.
You could ask to see a list of clients. If they do deal with larger companies, it could be a good sign as they will be able to keep up with you as your business begins to grow. It may not be wise to go for an account who only deals with large companies if you are smaller, or only with small companies if you are a larger one.