If you’re a small business looking for an accountant or thinking of starting up a new venture but are thinking about getting an accountant then you might find this advice helpful.
Choose an accountancy firm that knows your market/industry well (ideally they should be specialists in it) so that you know they will keep up to date with all regulations and policies that will affect your business.
Check when you approach them that there is no conflict of interest between you and an existing client of theirs – you don’t want them advising both you and one of your close competitors
If you’re only just starting up or only have a small business then a small or medium size accountancy firm might be right for you as you are more likely to get advice tailored to your business size – they will be more familiar with issues and concerns of smaller business than what large companies are likely to be. They are also more likely to charge you less and give you access to more experienced staff
When looking into either your first or a replacement accountant, it’s worth asking them for some clients that you can contact who can act almost as references for them – see what existing clients have to say! Make sure you do your own research too to see if you can verify what you have been told.
Don’t just choose the first accountant you come to. Short list 5 or 6, meet all of them, have them come out to you and then make you decision – it’s important that you get on with your accountant as it is a relationship that you don’t want to be straining at.
If they are a good accountant then they should offer to come out and view your business – get a feel for what you do and where you do it so they can better understand what you do and are trying to achieve.
Let them show you what services they can offer you and how they can tailor that to your business.
Ask them if they are going to be able to keep you on when your business grows – you don’t want to be searching for a new accountant unnecessarily in a couple of years’ time when your business has grown
Make sure you know who it is that will be dealing with your accounts – the manager may be the one trying to convince you to join their practice, but are they the one who will be dealing with your tax return?
Ensure that you thoroughly know and understand their costs so you don’t get hit by hidden charges
‘Cheap isn’t always best.’ If they are cheap, ask yourself ‘why?’ and remember that a good accountant will invariably get back/save for you the equivalent of their fees.