Choosing an accountant for your small business

Knowing how to choose the right accountant for you and your small business is crucial. An accountant can act almost as a business partner, a trusted peer who can provide guidance, especially in understanding complicated taxes and processes. For your business to grow, you will need a good accountant to give correct information, support and advice around your finances.

You must ensure that if you are paying an accountant for their services they make you a priority when you need them. It is a very important business decision hiring an accountant, therefore due diligence must be taken to determine the right person.

Small business owners experience heavy workloads so the majority don’t have time to keep on top of taxes. An accountant therefore adopts some of the additional workload by organising your finances and ensuring all tax deadlines are met. You will need a good accountant who will fully comply with tax laws and minimise or eradicate business financial errors so that you avoid any fines or unnecessary costs. The following explains how to choose the right accountant.

Initial contact

Once you decide that you require an accountant, ask your contacts for recommendations. The process does not have to be difficult, especially if you seek advice from your network. After you have various options, make a shortlist and start to look at each individual comprehensively to ensure they meet your requirements. It may be helpful to contact each accountant to learn more about them and understand if they will be a good fit for your business.

Accounting Services

Every accountant will offer different types of services. You can choose which of those services you will require from them. For instance, they may offer and provide a bookkeeping service but if you have already opted to use an online accounting software then this may not be a service you need. You will need to discover and determine what exactly it is you need from the accountant. Is it simply basic services or will you need them to handle the bulk of the business finances? It’s important to bear in mind that the more time your accountant spends on carrying out and completing your tasks, the higher the cost will be. To keep these costs down, it is worth considering accounting software to integrate into your business. Your accountant can guide you as to which software is best as they will also need to work with the system

Accounting Fees

Accountant fees will play a big role in what options are available to you. Your budget is likely to be minimal because as a small business owner, every penny counts and it is important to save money where possible. However, with that being said, choosing the right accountant is crucial in ensuring financial activity is monitored which will, in turn, help you save and control your outgoings. Your accountant will be dealing with an imperative part of the business so you must find someone with the right capabilities at the right price. To get an idea of fees, spend some time researching, talk to other small business owners in a similar industry and directly contact various accountants to ask for rates. This time spent will give you a better knowledge and understanding of the price bracket and will allow you to judge your affordability of an accountant and their services.

Each accountant offers different packages, therefore, you can choose the most suitable option depending on the level of financial service and involvement required. For example, you may prefer to pay an accountant monthly meaning they can deal with all your finances or they can charge you per hour if this is adequate to your needs.

You must ensure you get all rates and fees upfront from your prospective accountant and guarantee complete transparency when it comes to the charges. Terms of agreement must be stated and highlighted in an engagement letter then signed by both parties so all are aware of the fees and services included.

Personality and background

A key aspect in any business relationship is personality. It is imperative you have people you work well within your company, especially as a small business. Your accountant will have access to an abundance of confidential business information so it needs to be a person you can trust and who will give you guidance and advice. Therefore, establishing if you genuinely get along with your prospective account will aid your decision. Other deciding factors include their background and experience. Having extensive experience working with small business will be advantageous to your company, however bear in mind, this wealth of experience may incur a higher service fee.

There are multiple considerations when searching for the right accountant due to its importance for your business. However, once the decision made, it doesn’t need to be final. If the working relationship is no longer effective then you can always change to someone more suitable. Running a business already provides a level of pressure so there’s no need to add to that if your accountant no longer fits your needs. As long as it aligns with your contract then it’s okay to change.