Hiring an accountant could improve the way that your business operates, enable growth and help make you more efficient. So, it’s worth investing some time and energy into finding the right one. Accountants come in many varieties, with different experience and specialisms – so, how do you know which is the right one for you?
Although you’ll find a lot of accountants listed online, often the best way to start a search is with a personal recommendation. An accountant that has done a great job for a business connection – or someone you know personally – is a great place to start.
Focus on experience
The type of experience an accountant has is the most important factor – not the length of experience overall. You could be with a firm or individual with decades in the business but if they haven’t worked with an enterprise like yours before then they may as well be newly set up. Look for accountants with clients as near to your own structure as possible. So, if you’re an SME, choose an accountant with experience and understanding of the challenges and opportunities for small businesses.
Any good accountant will be able to provide you with references from other clients, preferably those in a similar industry and/or of a similar size. It’s standard practice to ask a new accountant for references so if your request is met with refusal then that may not be the right option for you. In addition to requesting references you can also look at online reviews. Although not all businesses have these they can be a useful indication of general performance and whether there have been any big issues.
Look into fees
Ideally, you will be charged fees on the basis of hours completed – or a set monthly fee for work done. Some accountants charge on the basis of client turnover level and this tends to work out as far more expensive in the long run.
What additional services are on offer?
Accountants can help with your books and make sure your taxes are all dealt with efficiently. However, there’s also a lot more value the right accountant can add. Do they provide any strategic and/or consulting services, for example, and how could they help your business grow?
Anyone in the UK can set themselves up as an accountant or bookkeeper without qualifications. Choosing an accredited accountant (for example, a Chartered Accountant) will ensure that your accountant has the right qualifications, is subscribed to a code of ethics and has the protection of professional indemnity insurance, should anything go wrong.