How to secure the right accountant for you
Top tips for choosing an accountant
Once you’ve decided it’s time to hire an accountant, the next step is to choose which accountant to hire.
It’s important to take the time to do this carefully, and there are a few things you’ll want to consider first. You’ll need to think about things that are important to you, such as the accountant’s location, the division of workload and the type of accounting software you’ll use. Consider how much you’ll have to pay the accountant, and whether they can help to reduce your business taxes.
It’s in your company’s best interests to have an experienced, capable person handling one of the most important areas of your business – your finances. The right person will save you time and money year after year. So here are some things you should consider when you’re choosing an accountant.
Does location matter?
It used to be important to have your company’s accountant located nearby. But today, more companies are collaborating online, using cloud-based technology to manage their business. This means that location is less of an issue. With cloud accounting, you and your accountant can view identical real-time data at the same time – no matter where you are.
It depends on how you work and your priorities. If you prefer to speak to someone on a face-to-face basis, think about picking an accountant nearby. If you are happy to chat via Zoom, you have lots of options on who you pick, and someone who is within budget too!
Choose a certified or chartered accountant
For peace of mind, choose an accountant that’s regulated by a professional body or recognised by the government. Depending on the country you’re in, that could be a:
- Certified Public Accountant
- Chartered Accountant
- member of the Association of International Accountants
- member of the Institute of Financial Accountants
- member of Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
An experienced and knowledgeable accountant can add value to your business right from the start. If you expect your company to grow, it’s a good idea to hire a professional accountant at the beginning rather than later on.
Of course, it’s possible to use accountants who aren’t chartered – one of the most important things is that you are finding an accountant that is fully qualified and is regulated by a professional body. Chartered accountants are not necessary for a small business. If you are making above £10.2 million or you are a large business you will need to be audited, and this is when you may require a chartered accountant.
At Isle Book-keep, we are fully qualified AAT accountants and we are regulated by HMRC and the by our professional body, but we also hold a practicing license.
Advice from the government and businesses
Small businesses are the lifeblood of many countries’ economies. Because of this, governments like to encourage their growth.
As a small business owner, take advantage of networks of business advisors available to help you make decisions like choosing the right accountant. There are often voluntary organisations and local chambers of commerce willing to advise you too. Make use of these, as they are there to help you and their advice is usually free.
They can also be useful places in which to network and talk to other business owners. Do this a few times, and you may find an accountant is recommended to you by other business owners. If nothing else, this could help you cut down the list of possible people to see if they work for your business.
Use your social networks to find the right accountant for you
Utilise your social networks
When searching for an accountant, the ideal candidate might be right under your nose. Start by asking any friends or family members who own small businesses if they would recommend their accountant. If so, why? And if not, why not? The answers to both questions could prove useful at a later stage, when you come to interview candidates.
Bear in mind that choosing an accountant can be a personal decision, so what’s right for your best friend’s PR business might not suit your manufacturing company. Also take into account differences in business structure. The best accountant for a sole trader might not be the best fit for a company with ten employees.
It’s all about accounting software
Some accountants often have their own preferred accounting software. The chances are they’ll have been in business for many years and may have become used to one particular brand of software. Sometimes, the one they have been using for many years is not always the best. However, the leading ones can be more of a solution for your business.
At Isle Book-keep, we choose to specialise in specific accounting software, so pick an accountant for you that specialises in the software you want to use.
Although it might be possible to export and import data in a suitable format, it can be time-consuming and easily lead to errors, if you don’t know what you are doing.
So try to find an accountant who’s using the same software as you. Or, failing that, has a lot of knowledge on the accounting software you want to use. You want to be happy with the software you are using, if you are not happy speak to your accountant on how you can move.
Ready to find the right accountant for you? Book in a call with Lucy below, at a time that suits you.