Selecting the best Accountant for your Business
Looking for accountants for your business? :
- You may have just started up,
- Grown to a sufficient size to require professional accountants’ advice,
- It is time to change from your current accountants.
What criteria do you use to select your accountants? And how do you make sure the accountants are the most appropriate for your business?
This is a quick guide to finding accountants most suitable to your business:
1. Mostly importantly understand your requirements. Before contacting any prospective accounting firms, decided what you actually require. Do you need book-keeping, accounting, tax advice, business planning, company or personal accounts? Split these in what you need immediately and what you would like to have. Then ensure that the accountants you select offer your required services.
2. Locate the right accountant - Personal referrals is often the best way to finding good accountants, as the person will have experienced the level of expertise, quality of service and charging policies. Therefore, ask friends, associates in similar businesses or your bank manager for recommendations.
3. Expertise of accounting practice - Some accounting practices specialise in specific sectors, however, many small local practices take on a variety of clients. If you require specialist advice ie regarding CIS or Construction Industry, then ask them if they have previous experience in the area. If they need to get up to speed in a particular area make sure they are not learning on your time. Ensure that your accountant is professionally qualified; they may be a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Certified Accountant or Chartered Management Accountant. Check with the individual examining bodies to ensure they are qualified as in the UK anyone can call themselves accountants and professional tax Advisers.
4. Accountancy fees - Ensure that the practice gives you clear fee indications in advance, if they offer fixed fees for standard services. Check how much is their hourly rates for additional work and what are their payment terms, for example, do they offer payment via monthly retainers? You will find that accountancy fees between practices vary massively, sometimes you are indeed paying for greater expertise, but sometimes you may be contributing to their deluxe offices, so don't be afraid to ask for quotes from your appointed accountants.
5. The right fit - If you have selected the right accountant you may be working with them for 20+ years, in your initial meeting with them, consider:
- do you find it easy to communicate with them
- do they explain things clearly and in simple terms
- are they IT friendly, ie use email, online systems (if you are at the cutting edge of IT and they are still completing tax returns manually may not be the best fit)
- do they commit to a service level ie time taken to return phone calls emails etc.
6. Local accountants – Google search the accountants for your local area ieAccountants London/Brighton/ Crawley should throw up a list of accountants local to London/Brighton/ Crawley and Google maps should also recommend a list of Accountants London/Brighton / Crawley with their location in Google map. If you are able to find appropriate accountants from the list of Accountants inLondon/Brighton/ Crawley then widen the search. Also remember that just because you search for the term Accountants London/Brighton/ Crawley does not necessarily mean the list will only haveLondon/Brighton/ Crawley Accountants as this will depend also on search listing rankings.
If you find the right accountants for your business they can easily become invaluable to your business; by helping you to structure your business most effectively, be as tax efficient as possible and help you implement the right tools to manage your business financially.