With cloud technology enabling accountants to work 100% remotely with their clients, your options have opened up hugely compared to the days of having to pick from however many accountants were based in your local area. Why not take advantage of this increased choice and work with an accountant best suited to your business – but how do you pick an accountant? We’ve set out a few key decision factors below.
There are two points here –
- Do they use the appropriate technology to enable you to work with them regardless of location?
- Are they going to be available as and when you need them?
Technology and staffing can vary firm-to-firm so make sure you chat through their processes, clarifying what exactly they’ll require from you, and asking who exactly you’ll be dealing with for queries and support.
Industry knowledge is a huge plus for your accountant as you won’t be wasting valuable time explaining your business to them if they already have an understanding. They will also be able to provide you tailored advice to your industry if they understand the ins and outs. Having a genuine interest in your business can lead to more meaningful conversations which can allow more personalised advice specific to your situation.
You should always check that they have the necessary qualifications and are a member of a recognised accounting body (ACA, ACCA, CIMA, etc). Additional qualifications on top of this such as audit, tax, legal, financial advisory, etc. can also add value and be worth looking out for depending on your circumstances. Yes, a more qualified accountant may cost more but remember “if you’re afraid of the cost of a good accountant, you should consider the cost of a bad one!”
This is a no-brainer. Agreeing fees upfront is a huge benefit to your business rather than being hit with a large/unexpected bill after the end of the year. Agreeing scope and fees upfront also means you know what you’re getting, and you’re not afraid of ringing your accountant with a query throughout the year out of fear you’ll be charged extra for the phonecall.
Easy to talk to!
It’s no secret that accountants aren’t everyone’s favourite people to talk to (I like to think it’s the subject matter that people dislike, as opposed to us personally!!) Finding someone you get on with will make the process much easier and you’ll get much more value out of the relationship if you’re not afraid to ask questions.