The relationship you have with your accountant can be incredibly fruitful. Accountants have a finger on the financial pulse, whether you’re looking to improve income or cut expenses to drive growth. But how do you make sure that you get the most out of working with an accountant? These are the key questions to ask.

What experience do you have in my industry?

Although you might not find an accountant with experience that is an exact match, a relationship based on shared knowledge of the sector in which you operate has a good, solid foundation for success. Financial needs vary from industry to industry so you’re at an instant advantage if you’re working with someone who understands the subtle differences for you from the outset.

How often are your clients audited?

This is a great question to ask if you want to get an idea of how connected your accountant is to their clients. If they can answer this question straight away then that shows excellent client knowledge, as well as an awareness that helping clients avoid auditing is a key consideration. How many clients get audited is often a sign of the way that an accountant does business – at the best firms only around 1% of clients have to go through this.

What can you do to make tax season easier this year?

No one enjoys dealing with taxes (except accountants) – in fact that’s the top reason many of us look for outside help. So, this is a great question to see where your accountant can add value to one of the most mundane parts of general financial health. Can they suggest efficiency improvements, ways to save time or tax efficient workarounds?

How can we generate more growth?

Another key reason to bring an accountant on board is to improve income and growth. Any good accountant should have plenty of suggestions when it comes to providing a boost to growth and financial health as the relationship progresses. Whether it’s a streamlining programme, restructuring finances or renegotiating contracts, there are lots of options to consider.

How do you use technology?

From digital tax filings, through to using the cloud to share information with clients, technology has a lot to offer accounting firms. The benefits can be passed on to clients via cost and time savings, as well as process innovation ideas. So, find out whether your accountant is willing to embrace financial technology innovation, and all the benefits that it could bring – and see how this could evolve the relationship that you have.

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