How to choose an Accountant
Having the right accountant for your business is essential and can bring several advantages. The main benefit is that you won’t have to spend time on financial issues. Instead, the accountant can deal with these while you take an active role in scaling the business.
But how do you go about finding the right accountant? We’ve got you covered here! We’ve put together tips for choosing the right account for your business success.
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The Process of Choosing an Accountant
The first step is to understand this process should not be done quickly. Choosing an accountant takes time and careful consideration. For instance, it’s important to consider the accountant’s location, the division of the workload, and the type of accounting software you’ll need. Next, you’ll need to consider how much to pay the accountant and if they can help reduce your business taxes.
Your company needs an experienced accountant who can handle your business finances. The right person saves you time and money every year.
Tips for Choosing an Accountant
1. Does Location Matter?
It was once essential to have an accountant who was nearby. However, with more collaboration taking place online and using cloud services, the location of your business accountant isn’t so crucial. With cloud accounting services, you and your accountant can work together in real-time no matter where they’re located.
Can your accountant be located anywhere in the world? Yes, but you must find an accountant who is familiar with your location, your industry, and the government regulations on taxes where you are.
If you prefer working in person, then you may want to consider hiring an accountant nearby. They could even go to meetings with you if necessary. In that case, you’ll want to find an accountant who is near your location and who is willing to travel to your business location.
It’s key to ensure the accountant you choose is an expert on tax law that applies to your business and location.
2. Choose a Certified or Chartered Accountant
Next, it’s imperative to choose an accountant regulated by a professional organisation or recognized by the government. Depending on the country you’re in, this means you would have to look for a:
- Certified public accountant
- Chartered accountant
- Member of the Association of International Accountants
- Member of the Institute of Financial Accountants
Chartered accountants (Cas) are highly qualified and have completed above-level studies. They also have plenty of workplace experience and are part of a professional competence program.
The goal is to find an experienced, knowledgeable account who can bring value to your business. If you expect your business to grow soon, it’s best to hire a professional accountant from the beginning rather than later. A CA, for instance, can set your books and finances up correctly from the beginning. Otherwise, you take the chance of having messy books. It’s hard for a new accountant to step in and sort out the financial mess left by someone who was not a professional.
It is possible to use a bookkeeper, tax preparation service, or general financial management. However, as your company grows, you try to obtain a business loan, or the business is audited, it’s essential to have a professional accountant on board.
3. Relevant Expertise is Important
Another consideration is to find an accountant who has experience with tax returns and financial documents for companies that are a similar size and revenue as your business. If your company uses cloud-based accounting software, you also need to find an accountant who is experienced with cloud computing and the accounting software you use.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to find an accountant who understands your business. Look for someone who has worked with companies in a similar market to yours. And see if they’ve worked with even more prominent clients. If so, this is a good sign they should be able to handle your business growth over time.
In addition, you may want to consider asking the accountant for a client list that details each company’s gross revenue and the number of employees. Learn how their clients have grown and developed over the years. This will give you a sense of whether the accountant will be able to handle the growing needs of your business.
4. Talk to Government & Business Associations
It’s also helpful to take advantage of networks and business associations when choosing an accountant for your business. These are excellent sources of guidance and references. And voluntary organizations and local chambers of commerce may also be able to offer advice, too. So, take advantage of these resources to find the right accountant. Many of these organizations are happy to offer free advice.
These are also excellent places to network and talk with other business owners. Not only may you find the right account, but you may also make some valuable business connections at the same time.
5. Use Your Social Networks
As you search for an accountant, be sure to use your social networks. Even family and friends may have connections and recommend their own accountants.
Of course, choosing the right accountant for your business usually comes down to personal preferences. So, keep this in mind when checking with family and friends. For instance, if your friend has a PR business, their accountant may not be right for your manufacturing company. What’s more, an accountant for a large organisation may not be the right choice for a smaller business.
6. Make Use of Online Connections
As you consider your social networks, don’t forget your online social connections. Use your business-oriented networks to help you find the right accountant. For instance, LinkedIn is a worldwide organization, and your connections there could help land the accountant you need.
Summing It Up
These tips are meant to help you find the right accountant for your company. Remember, it’s also essential to interview several accountants before making a final decision. Take your time to compare accountants with one another.
The key is to find an accountant who is familiar with the regulations & taxes in your location. They should also use the same services (cloud-based software) and understand your industry and markets. This makes them the most effective accountant possible for your company.
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FAQs about Choosing an Accountant
- Can I Change Accountants if I’m Dissatisfied?
Yes, you can switch accountants if you’re not satisfied with the services. However, ensure a smooth transition of your financial records.
- Do I Need an Accountant for Personal Taxes?
While not mandatory, an accountant can help you navigate tax complexities and potentially identify deductions you might miss on your own.
- How Often Should I Communicate with My Accountant?
Regular communication is essential, especially during tax season. Stay in touch to provide updates and receive guidance.
- What’s the Difference Between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper?
Accountants typically have a broader financial understanding and can provide strategic advice. Bookkeepers focus on recording financial transactions.
- Should My Accountant Be Familiar with My Industry?
While industry familiarity can be helpful, it’s not mandatory. A skilled accountant can adapt to different industries.
- Can I Prepare My Own Taxes Instead of Hiring an Accountant?
If your finances are straightforward, you can prepare your own taxes. However, an accountant can optimise your returns and ensure accuracy.
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