A reliable accountant can help your business grow and save time, while a bad-performing one could cost you money. That’s why choosing the right one is a crucial decision you have to make. However, with so many candidates to choose from, it is not going to be an easy task. Thus, it helps to ask some questions or consider some essential factors when selecting an accountant.
Narrow down your business’s needs
Decide on the services you want from an accountant by narrowing down your business needs. For example, do you want the accountant to do all the accounting services and payroll management? Do you need assistance with your taxes, tracking your finances or with your daily activities?
Do your research
Are you looking to outsource accounting services from firms with London-based accountants or hire accountants to be a permanent part of your team? Remember to check their reviews, know their pricing, or compare a couple of companies or candidates.
Ask for recommendations
Your fellow business owners in the area may recommend good accountants to help you with your finances. Whether you need a certified or licensed one or a bookkeeper, it pays to get recommendations. This way, you’ll know how that person works or what level of experience he has.
Set up an appointment
Meet with the candidate to communicate what you need and how he can help you. Know what their level of experience is with your nature of business. Ask about the services that the accounting firm or candidate offers. Most of them offer tax and auditing work, so ask if the service includes bookkeeping, estate planning, management consulting, or whatever is crucial for your industry.
Make sure you’re a good match
You need to be compatible with your accountant, who will act as your business partner. If you’re dealing with an accounting firm, meet with the accountant who will be handling your business. Ask how they take situations that may be relevant to you. Listen carefully and decide if that is how you want your accountant to handle your affairs. It does not necessarily mean that you want your accountant to have the same approach as you have. What matters is that you are comfortable with how he does things.
Determine the billing structure
Ask about the fees upfront. Most firms charge by the hour, while others charge per service or a monthly retainer. Some have additional charges for specialized tasks.
It is beneficial to have a checklist or guide when choosing an accountant to cover the most critical steps of the selection process. Once you have made your choice, write out the agreement terms in an engagement letter. It should include the details of statements and returns to be prepared and the fees. This ensures you have the same expectations. Do your part by noting down, for example, the details of all your checks or receipts. The better you do this, the less time your accountant has to work.