Accountants don’t just do the figures anymore – they can help with forecasting, input on strategy and support you with the challenge of making your business more efficient. However, if you’re going to find an accountant that’s the right fit for your business then you need to ask the right questions.
- What are your qualifications? For peace of mind, look for accountants with membership of one of the professional bodies and organisations that provide oversight and regulation, such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
- What technology do you use? If your workforce is mobile and cloud based, while your accountant is strictly paper and pen, then it won’t be a good match.
- What are your fees and how are they charged? Hourly, per project, on retainer? Establish this up front so that there’s no confusion.
- What can you do to make a difference to my business’ finances? This is a great question to ask because you’ll be able to see where an accountant is able to add value. It will also give you an idea of the role the accountant is willing to play.
- What are the options for financing? Most businesses require a little extra financial help at some point and a good accountant should be able to help you find the right kind of financing for your particular enterprise.
- What kind of contact will we have and when? It’s always worth establishing up front how and when you’ll have contact with your accountant, who initiates it and whether that should be face-to-face or on the phone. Clarify what is included in the fees charged and where you’re likely to run up extra costs.
- What preparations do I need to make for paying tax? This is a fairly basic question so a good accountant should have a well-established system in place to ensure clients meet all their tax responsibilities.
- Are there any specific mistakes that I’m making? Ideally, you’re looking for an accountant who will help you to improve finances and that means someone who can spot where you could be doing things better.
- Who is my main point of contact? Establish up front who you’ll be speaking to and who will be managing your accounts.
10. Where could we streamline? Cutting costs is one of the main reasons people use accountants so find one who can show you where savings can be made.