How to choose the right accountant
Posted on 12th August 2021
Your accountant can become an invaluable extension to your team, so it’s important to choose the right one for you and your business’ needs from the outset.
Before you chose an accountant, do your research! Find out things like what experience they have, are they fully qualified, do they already work with businesses in your sector, what support do they offer and check their Terms and Conditions for response times and expected service levels.
Here are our top six tips to help you choose the right accountant for you.
What to look for in an accountant
Does location really matter? This is a hot topic now more than ever, with the increase of online services and remote working as a result of the global Covid pandemic, more and more businesses now collaborate online.
If you’re happy to communicate with your accountant using secure cloud-based software to manage your finances, then the limitations of where they’re based is taken out of the equation. You can widen your search criteria to anywhere in the country, or even in the world. If you do choose an accountancy firm that’s in a different country to where you’re based, do make sure they’re experts in the tax laws that apply to your business.
However, if it’s important to you that you’re able to visit your accountant in person, or if you may need them to accompany you to business meetings, then look locally for an accountancy firm that’s right for you.
Effective Accounting, as a digital firm, supports clients all over the UK and into Europe – so location is no longer a barrier when choosing an accountant.
We highly recommend that you choose an accountant who is recognised by the government and regulated by a professional body. In the UK, the best qualifications include:
- The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
- The Institute of Public and Finance Accountancy (CIPFA)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
There are accountants out there who aren’t chartered or do not have a qualification in accountancy, and they may be suitable for bookkeeping, tax preparations and general finance management, but when it comes to needing assistance with loan applications or if you’re audited, a fully qualified accountant is certainly a better option.
Unfortunately, accountancy is not a regulated industry – so there are the good, the bad and the ugly – as with many industries. So – protect yourself and choose an accountant who is qualified and regulated.
Effective Accounting is regulated by ACCA and I, the founder, am AAT and ACCA qualified.
Look for an accountant or accountancy firm who have experience with the preparation of the financial documents that you will need for a company of your size and in your sector. This prior experience will help them to understand your unique business needs.
It’s also a good idea to ask them if they support any clients who have a larger head count and higher gross revenue than your company, this way you’ll know if they’re able to continue supporting your company’s financial needs as your grow.
Remember that choosing the right accountant for you is an important and personal decision. For example, just because the accountant of your friend’s plumbing business comes highly recommended, that doesn’t mean they have the right experience to support your marketing agency.
Effective Accounting has over 10 years of experience supporting small family-owned businesses in various industries, as well and contractors and landlords. We can bring a wealth of experience to the table to support small business owners with their accounts and tax needs.
4. Referrals and references
A referral is a great way to get an accountant who has made a good impression on someone relevant.
- Talk to other business owners about their own accountant.
- Seek advice from a business advisor or the Chambers of Commerce.
- Tap into your network of friends, family and social contacts. One of them may know or even be the ideal candidate for you.
Once you have a few referrals, a good way to narrow your selection is to ask them for client references. It’s important that you do the appropriate background checks and speak directly to their referees before you sign on the dotted line.
Effective Accounting is proud to have 43 5* Google Reviews (Link) and we are happy to provide you with contact details of some of our clients to obtain a reference.
Some accountants still charge by the hour. This can mean you are paying for their inefficiencies.
If you choose a firm that charges by the hour, ask for an estimate of the time they believe will be spent so you can plan for their bill to avoid any surprises!
More and more accountants, Effective Accounting included, now work on a fixed fee basis (link to fees section on website). Fixed fees give you certainty and allow you to plan your cashflow.
Finding the right accountant for you can often come down to gut instinct, but we recommend you also ensure that you’re compatible on the following:
- Proactive: choose an accountant who will suggest ways for you to save money.
- Software: check they’re using a software you’re familiar with and limit any issues that may arise from data sharing across platforms.
- Growth: most important of all, choose an accountant who will help your business to flourish and grow.
An effective (<<< see what we did there?!) accountant can save you time and money year after year, help you to reduce your tax bill and ensure you’re compliant; so think carefully about the type of person you want handling a vital area of your business – your finances.
If you're looking for a new accountancy firm, contact us us to see if we're the perfect fit for your business.
Nicola J Sorrell -
Founder | Xero Champion | IR35 Expert
Tagged as: Business Tips, FAQ, For - Contractors, For - Employers, For - Limited Companies, For - Property Owners & Landlords, For - Self-Employed
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