The role of an accountancy firm doesn’t come in a single, standard format. The structure, purpose and state of the business will also dictate the kind of service that is required. A ‘good fit’ accountancy firm will be one where there is a solid understanding of the needs of the business, as well as how to meet and exceed them. So, how do you make sure you find this perfect partner?
Key questions to ask when choosing your accountancy firm:
What can you offer our business?
Accountancy services can be broken down into three key categories: tax services, audit and assurance and consulting services. It’s important to choose an accountancy firm able to offer the combination your business needs.
- Audit and assurance – financial reporting, corporate accounting, compliance and auditing. Establishing a general overall picture of financial health and looking for ways to improve this.
- Consulting services – financial planning, regulatory updates, financial restructuring, advice on insurance or property purchase, identifying ways to streamline the business.
- Tax services – complying with current tax laws, preparing tax documents, ensuring documents and payments are submitted on time, looking for ways to be more tax efficient.
How do you structure your fees?
Flexibility on fees can make it much easier for a business and accountancy firm to go forward in positive partnership. Work out whether you prefer to pay a monthly retainer or a fixed up front fee, for example, and find a firm able to offer the terms that suit your business best.
What memberships do you have?
Membership of bodies, such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, means accountants are trained, certified and regulated by a professional body that has a complaints procedure should anything go wrong.
Can we speak to other clients?
References are a great way to work out whether an accountancy firm is the right one for you. Many firms have testimonials on their websites and most will be more than happy to refer you along to other happy clients.
How could you improve the way we operate?
The right accountancy firm will be able to make improvements in multiple areas, from organising your taxes through to identifying opportunities to reduce expenses and improve profits.
How do you communicate with your clients?
It’s important that communication styles match up – if you want a face-to-face meeting once a month then make sure that’s on offer. If you’re keen for a purely digital service then a tech-savvy accountancy firm is going to be the best choice.