Tips for Choosing the Right Accountant

Not all entrepreneurs put as much attention into finding accountants as they should. Most of them just find a person who can crunch the numbers and think that is enough. The accounting professional you choose to involve in your business can help it grow or completely ruin its potential, so you have to make that decision with caution. It is understandable that you may get confused trying to decide which accountancy firm to turn to when accountants keep setting up shop everywhere. However, you can’t afford to keep operating without advice from a qualified financial expert. In fact, you should have one from the start of your business so that you can have the proper guidance on the structure of your enterprise.

The Right Match
Not every accountant, regardless of experience and expertise, is a good fit for your company. Before the hunt for a financial professional begins, evaluate the demands of your business. The size of the enterprise, the industry you are in and your objectives will all help establish your financial advice needs. For a startup, a fair amount of handholding is necessary during those first months of operations, so the accountant you pick should be able to provide that. If it’s a large corporation, your accountant should have the resources to cater to all its demands.

Hire an accountant with experience in your particular sector. For example, a media company needs an accountant who has worked in the entertainment field the same way a manufacturing enterprise prefers financial advice from a professional in that industry. The reason for such preferences is to get someone who understands the economics that drive a certain sector.

Responsibilities
What role will the accountant be playing in your small business? Before you sign a contract with the new CPA, find out the services that he/she will cover. Besides the basics such a creating the payroll, handling HMRC and dealing with the accounts, what else is the accountant responsible for? If you want to get a loan, will your money professional be there for guidance? What if you are expanding the company? Clarify such aspects beforehand to know what your money is worth.

Certified
Accountants nowadays can operate from anywhere in the world without even needing offices, and that has its advantages to some point. The downside is that you can’t be sure about the qualifications of every accounting “expert” out there. When hiring one for your organisation, ensure he/she is part of a professional body such as ACCA for certified accountant, ICAEW for chartered accountants or ICAS in Scotland. Chartered or Certified Accountants must attain specific education and ethical requirements before qualifying for accreditation. Accountants who are members of any of these bodies have to adhere to a code of conduct and ethical standards.

Get Second Opinions
Don’t start using a CPA firm before learning what other clients think of the services. Opinions from former and current clients go a long way when gauging the suitability of an accountant. Some flaws such as poor communication with customers can be hard to find out until you have entered into a contract, which may be too late. However, getting testimonials can highlight the shortcomings of an accountant before you a make commitment.

Technology Use
The use of accountancy software and cloud computing has made tasks easier and more efficient. When searching for accountants, ask about the technology that they use to deliver services. A firm that has embraced the latest technology is always a safer bet. Find out if the accountants in a particular company undergo training to keep up with the evolving techniques and tools. Compatibility of software between your business and the accounting firm is very crucial because it will impact efficiency and data security, so ask about that as well.

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