Daily money

How to choose an accountant for your business

Choosing an accountant is one of the most important business decisions you’ll make. We detail five things you need to consider to choose the right one.

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Choosing an accountant is one of the most important business decisions you’ll make. Finding a good accountant – or a trusted advisor – that really understands your business will be invaluable to its growth. While choosing the wrong accountant could end up costing you time and money.

Here are five important things to consider when choosing an accountant:

1. Get references and check accreditation

It’s wise to do a background and accreditation check, which you can usually do online. Ask the prospective accountant to provide client references. It’s also useful to get a recommendation from someone in your industry to be sure the accountant has a real understanding of your business’s needs.

2. Create a shortlist of candidates

Have an introductory chat with a few accountants, get quotes and make a shortlist. Establish how they prefer to communicate with their clients and if this suits your business.

Traditionally, many accountants only met with clients once a year. Today, younger and more forward-thinking accountants are embracing the online world and using platforms like Skype and FaceTime to keep clients updated on a more regular basis.

3. Check accountant fees

Often companies are charged by their turnover level, but you should really only pay for completed hours. Check how the accountant works out their fees, as this can potentially save you thousands. Always ask for a quote based on workload rather than what your business is making.

4. Stay in contact with your accountant

Ensure your accountant will have the time to stay in regular contact. If not, they won’t be able to provide you with the best advice. Companies often go into liquidation simply because they haven’t kept their accountant in the loop.

5. Could you be getting added value?

Pick an accountant that understands customer loyalty and retention. Many go above and beyond for their clients. Some are happy to recommend accounts software based on your business needs. Others like to hold regular networking events and business workshops. Some will even give you regular reviews of your finances free of charge, and make recommendations to help you boost profitability.