Once you’ve decided it’s time to hire an accountant, you’ll then have to pick one.
It’s important to do this carefully because having an experienced, capable person handling your finances is in your business’s best interests.
But with so much choice, how do you choose the right accountant for you?
Does location matter?
Having a local accountant used to be extremely important so you could easily meet with them face-to-face and go over your accounts together. But today, with cloud accounting and other technology, collaboration is easier than ever, making location less of an issue.
The decision about where your accountant is comes down to what suits you and your business. If you prefer face-to-face contact and someone to accompany you in business meetings, you might want to limit your search to accountants who work nearby or are willing to travel to your premises from time to time.
However, if you’re comfortable with working with someone remotely, you might benefit from expanding your search: you don’t have to allow geography to prevent you from working with the accountant who fits your business.
Look for an accountant with relevant expertise
When looking for an accountant, it’s tempting to look at their services to see whether they would be able to help you with all you need. Still, you also need to evaluate the level of service they can provide for your business — the best way to do that is to find out whether your potential accountant has relevant experience in your field.
You should find someone with experience preparing tax returns and financial documents for businesses of a similar size and revenue to yours. If you use cloud-based software, a tech-savvy accountant will be essential.
It’s even better if your accountant has worked with businesses in similar market sectors to yours, as that will help them understand the unique needs of your business.
You should also check whether they serve larger clients — if they do, they should be able to continue helping you as your business grows over time.
Look for someone proactive
Some businesses are looking for someone who will handle their year-end accounts, taxes, the books, and little else. That might be acceptable to some, but is that enough for you?
If not, you need to find a proactive accountant who will work their hardest, go the extra mile and help you save time and money rather than just keep your business compliant with business regulations.
Always bear in mind that there is a fine line between tax evasion (illegal), tax avoidance (bending the rules) and tax planning (using the rules as they were intended). Therefore, you need an accountant with extensive knowledge of tax law to save you money legally. Be very careful — ultimately, it’s you, the business owner, who will pay the penalty if your accounting breaks the law.
Learn to trust your intuition
Visiting websites, reading testimonials, checking social media, and asking your peers for referrals: these are the ways most business owners start looking for a suitable accountant.
However, nothing will give you a bigger indication of who your potential accountant is than picking up the phone and giving them a call.
Indeed, as a business owner, you have experience working with people and understanding what makes them tick — use that to your advantage to size up your accountant.
So, when you meet an accountant for the first time, consider your intuition alongside logical evaluations such as location, experience, reference ss and pricing.
Ask yourself whether you can trust this person with the intimate details of your business and — most importantly — whether you can work with them. In other words, trust your gut.