How do you choose the best accountant for your business? Take a look at our video, or read about it below.
A good accountant should be a vital part of your business if you want to be successful. They should help you fully understand all of the numbers so that you can make decisions to help your business grow.
They should be available throughout the year to work with you and give you advice before you make any big financial decision.
And that’s on top of the basic stuff, ie making sure you meet all your HMRC requirements and don’t get fined for being late. They should take away all the worries of the financial requirements so that you can get on with running your business.
So, how do you choose an accountant? Here are my top 5 tips.
1. Size of firm
There are all sizes of accountancy firms, serving all sizes of business. I’ve worked for global firms, medium firms and now have my own. Often, it makes sense to work with a firm that’s a similar size to yours……and understands businesses that are a similar size to yours.
But you do have to ask “can they grow with me?”. A large firm may have higher fees, but they may also have additional expertise. But then a small firm will give you more time with the partners/owners.
There’s no right or wrong – it will depend on what you want and need
2. Relevant Experience
Do they understand your sector? You’ll get far more from your accountant if they understand your business. There are lots of common factors across different business sectors, but it can be a real advantage if they understand what you do, and know any specific rules about what you do. For example, a building firm has some different tax rules to a restaurant.
How do you check this out?
- Look at their website, either for specific pages or in the testimonials. Do they have clients like you?
- Ask them!
What are you going to have to pay?
Now, the cheapest isn’t usually the best – it’s well worth paying for quality advice, and to get proactive advice throughout the year. But you should have absolute clarity on what you’re getting so that you can assess the value.
For example, are you getting charged for phone calls and ad hoc advice? Is the personal tax return included?
Rather than charge by the hour, most accountants will agree a fixed fee for a task, or even the annual service.
Ultimately, you should pick the accountant who gives you everything you want. The price should be secondary as a good accountant is an investment in the growth of your business
Setting up an accountancy firm isn’t like setting up a doctors or a solicitors. Anyone can actually call themselves an accountant – you don’t legally need any knowledge or qualifications to do so.
Therefore, it’s worth checking that they do actually have an accountancy qualification so that you’re confident that they can do the job. The main bodies are the ICAEW, ACCA and CIMA.
As well as the comfort of knowing your accountant has the relevant qualifications, membership of these institutes gives you somewhere to go if you do have any problems.
If anyone you know has used them, ask. If not, check out testimonials or reviews.
Or ask them to put you in touch with a client, preferably one with a business similar to yours.
And, as a bonus tip….
6. Can you work with them?
This is key. You should have a close relationship with your accountant, so you do need to get on with them. You don’t have to be best friends, but there has to be a rapport there. This also makes it important to be clear on who you’re dealing with. It’s no use having a great relationship with the partner……if you end up dealing with someone else
So, there are my top tips on how to choose an accountant. I hope you found them useful.
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If you’d like a meeting or a Skype call to discuss this, please get in touch with your favourite Liverpool accountant
- You can ring us on 0151 380 8080
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