Choosing an Accountant
Of all the advisers you are likely to encounter when running a small business, a good accountant is perhaps the most valuable one to have. If your accounts are in order and you are up-to-date with payments, you are far likely to be more able to concentrate on building the business.
There is nothing more stressful than feeling behind or not in a position of trust with your accountant, so here are some basic tips on choosing an accountant for your small business:
Tips for choosing an accountant
1.) Choose an accountant before you start your business. A good accountant will also provide valuable business advice as we work with a range of businesses.
2.) Make sure your accountant is fully qualified, for example as a certified or chartered accountant. Most likely, these qualifications will be displayed on any promotional material or the company’s website, otherwise make sure you ask.
3.) It is essential that your accountant works with small business clients. If your business generates a large number of transactions (for example, an online e-commerce business), make sure the accountant has experience with dealing with companies in your sector if possible.
4.) How much does the accountant charge? Most modern firms offer a fixed annual or monthly fee to complete all business tax requirements. This helps you avoid any nasty surprise bills!
5.) When you first meet a prospective accountant, you will know soon enough if you see eye-to-eye. It is important to develop a good relationship and know that your finances are being handled by someone you trust. A flexible accountant will come out and see you at your office at a time to suit you.
6.) What other services does the accountant provide – can they take care of all your bookkeeping, payroll and tax affairs which leaves you free to grow your business?
7.) As a small business, we find that the best accountants are also likely to be smaller in size. They will understand what it’s like running a small operation and will have the resources and time you require to fun your finances properly.
8.) Ask to speak to existing clients before signing up. A decent accountancy firm should be happy to arrange. Do they provide testimonials from satisfied clients?
9.) Make sure your accountant keeps in touch with your business – not just at year end! It may be too late to take any necessary action after the event!
10.) If at some stage you decide to sell your business, you will need a good accountant more than ever to minimise any tax liabilities payable on the sale.
The bottom line is that you should expect today’s accountant to be much more than a bookkeeper. A good accountant will help you grow your business and add considerable value. The trick is to separate the wheat from the chaff.
CMA offers a free initial consultation, either at our office or yours, at a time to suit you. If you would like to see how we can help please get in touch.