Guide to Choosing an Accountant

Choosing a business accountant can be a tricky business, especially as you won’t be able to test the merits of their work until they have been handling your accounts for awhile. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that your small business is receiving the best accountancy advice and support possible. Simply remember to do the following:

Step One: Make a decision
As soon as you make the decision to hire a business accountant, you will need to create a shortlist. Speaking to friends and associates about their accountants, the services they offer, how much they pay etc can help you to start creating a list, but will also serve to act as a comparison when contacting accountants.

Step Two: Check their qualifications
Unfortunately anyone can call themselves an accountant, so it is important that you get them to prove their qualifications. Only a genuine firm will be chartered or certified, and will belong to one of the following 3 professional bodies: the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Step Three: How big is their firm?
Big isn’t always best. In fact you will often find that big accountancy firms aren’t best designed to deal with individuals or small businesses. For this reason you may find that a small or medium size accountancy firm will best be able to understand your requirements and offer your industry specific advice to suit you.

Step Four: How much do they cost?
The bigger the accountancy firm, the bigger the cost, but this doesn’t mean you should go for the cheapest option. Instead compare their services against their cost and your budget, and determine if you are getting value for your money.

Most chartered accountants will ask for a fixed monthly or annual sum whilst others will charge you based on an hourly rate, so use this information to determine if they are worth hiring.

Step Five: Experience
If you can, look at their previous clients and see what specialism’s they have. It is important that they have an up-to-date knowledge of your industry, so they can offer you the best tax planning strategies. More importantly, you may find that some of their extra services can take your business to a whole new level.

Step Six: Can they help your business to grow?
It is important that as your business grows, your business accountant is not only able to grow with it but can handle the challenge that a larger business has got to offer. The last thing you want is to have to change your accountant at a later date.

Choosing an accountant doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply follow these 6 steps and take advantage of a free business appraisal, and you too can be one step closer to receiving quality tax advice.