A key ingredient to your company’s success is finding a good accountant who provides relevant, timely and cost-effective advice, and with whom you can communicate effectively. For example, they can recommend the right small business accounting software that meets your needs.
So where do you find this person or this group of people? You can try the Yellow Pages, check the lists with each of the accounting bodies, ask your family, friends or maybe your banker? All of the above, perhaps. But how do you know that the people on this list are well known and suitable for you and your company?
Accounting firms are of all kinds and sizes.
Level 1 companies are international companies and tend to work only with large companies. Second tier companies are generally international companies with the same name around the world and, although they may not be as large as Level 1 companies, they also prefer to work for companies of a reasonable size. Firms at the next level are likely to have several partners and generally have a national and sometimes international affiliation. They tend to work much more with small businesses. Finally, there are small businesses with one, two or perhaps three partners that generally specialize in small businesses or people who earn wages and salaries.
When you choose an accountant, you are looking for someone who specializes in your size of business, has experience in your industry and provides timely, proactive and useful advice at a fair and reasonable cost. It is also someone who takes care of you and your business and with whom you think you can build a long-term relationship – someone with whom you are comfortable and whom you can trust.
You must therefore strive to choose the right person and company.
Step 1: List what you need from an ideal accountant
What do you expect from your accountant?
Is it just completing your annual accounts and tax returns – or are there other issues that are important to you?
To help you in this task, we have attached a list of several services that accounting firms can offer you. Check the list to make sure you don’t overlook an important service you will ask your accountant for.
Make a list of the services you think you want from your potential accountant. This way, you can write questions that are relevant and relevant to your specific needs.
Step 2: Search for the credentials of certified public accountants
Make a list of 4 or 5 companies.
Check their websites – how informative are they? Do they look like they provide services to a small business like yours? If they don’t have a website, ask yourself how progressive and up-to-date they are.
Is the school principal(s) qualified? Do they belong to one of the main professional accounting bodies – chartered accountants (CAs), chartered accountants (CPAs) or the National Institute of Accountants (NIA)? A member of one of the 3 main accounting organizations must complete a minimum number of annual professional development hours to keep up to date.
Step 3: Assess the reputation of a good accountant
Call each of them (or reduce their number to 2 or 3 companies) and ask to meet someone who could help you, or talk to them immediately if they are available. Explain who you are and ask if they can offer their services to a company like yours, and if you can meet to discuss these services and costs. This meeting should be free of charge for you and last about an hour.
Evaluate your experience with them so far – how were you greeted by the receptionist and accountant – if you spoke to one of them at that time? Were they happy to talk to you, friendly and helpful?
Step 4: Discover your needs with the accountant by asking specific questions
Make a list of your questions.
Use the following as a guide only – add or subtract anything you want to ask the accountant you are about to meet.
1. Do they deal with small businesses?
2. Explain your company, your current situation and your plans for the future.
3. Ask for examples of some companies that are identical or similar to yours.