What to Look for in Your Business’s Accountant

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Hiring an accountant is a crucial decision to get right, especially during the vital start-up phase. Without one, key decisions can be missed at extra financial burden to your business.

On the other hand, having accurate figures to work from helps you compile spreadsheets, assess profit margin and calculate tax payments with added clarity.

That’s why an experienced accountant is highly recommended. You can concentrate on building the company whilst they take care of the monotonous financial records.

However, with a large number of accountants available, how do you find the most suitable one for your requirements? We’ve put together a few queries every small business owner should consider.

Personal Relationship

It’s a simple fact of life that you’ll get on with some people better than others – this is no different when selecting an accountant. Remember, this relationship will hopefully last the lifespan of your business, requiring plenty of dialogue along the way. You really want someone who you click with on a personal level.  

Cost

Various accountants charge individual fees depending on your requirements. Scout around to gather an idea of the general cost and avoid being overcharged. Likewise, it’s also best to negotiate a fixed fee for their services as opposed to an hourly rate which can spiral out of control in some cases.

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Competency

No matter the cost, if the accountant can add value to your company then the initial outlay will be worth it; you’ll be saving money in the long run and even reduce tax payments. However, you must ensure a level of competency is in place, along with a proven track record of supporting small business. To achieve this, complete due diligence during the research phase.  

Research

Meet at least three different accountants before settling on one. Check reviews online for any signs of malpractice or foul play – poor workmanship or excessive fees are likely to be flagged up somewhere. Also, ask friends or business associates for their advice. Customer testimonials are perhaps the best sign of a decent accountancy firm.

Qualifications

Furthermore, it’s imperative you find an accountant with the relevant qualifications that are regulated by a professional body. An AAT qualification is a minimum requirement, with further diplomas from ACA, ACCA or CIMA also to be commended. Check the relevant websites for confirmation of their credentials.

Extra Mile

As well as the basic accountancy advice, see what additional services the accountant can offer. This could be in relation to tax relief schemes, government grants, selling shares and various other cost cutting measures. Also enquire how responsive they are – delayed email replies or postponed meetings should be an early warning sign, for example.

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In reality, most small business owners aren’t proficient dealing with complex accountancy and tax figures. There’s nothing wrong with this; your main motivation is likely based around growing the business itself. Specialised accountancy advice should therefore be sought from an early stage.

Here at DLR Accountants we’ll ensure your business model stays financially sound, saving you plenty of time and effort in the process. For further information, please feel free to get in touch.  
While you’re looking for an accountant, you might want to consider firms that use cloud based systems. We’ve taken a look at whether it’s worth moving to cloud accounting.

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