Hiring an accountant is one of the smartest moves a small business owner can make. Understandably, many people try to avoid it for as long as possible as they would like to save as much money as possible, where possible. That being said; you’d be surprised by how much an exceptional accountant would be able to save you, particularly when it comes to payable tax.
Then again, making the decision to hire an accountant is the easy part. It’s finding the appropriate accountant for you which can prove tricky. In this post we’re going to share with you: 10 top tips on how to choose an accountant. – And not just any accountant; the most suitable accountant for your small business and its tax-related requirements.
1 – You should certainly endeavour to settle on an accountant before you start your business, or indeed as soon as possible. This is because they will be able to offer you valuable advice when it comes to start-up costs and registering with the relevant tax authorities and so on.
2 – Don’t be afraid to ask what qualifications and licensing your prospective accountants have. Most people love talking about their achievements and awards, so if an accountant tries to change the subject then that should raise suspicion. If you’re unsure on what to look out for, visit the Australian Accounting Standards Board.
3 – You want to work with an accountant that has experience with dealing with other small businesses like your own. If they have experience in your industry, even better! You need to weigh up the pros and cons of working with a general accounting firm and a specialist, industry dedicated accountant. (A balanced knowledge of other industries can be beneficial as well)
4 – Make sure that you are fully aware of how a prospective accountant will charge you. What are their fees? Are they annual or monthly? Get as much information as you can so that you can budget accordingly and hire the most suitable accountant to suit your requirements.
5 – Don’t settle for the first accountant that you come across. Sure, if they come highly recommended by your associates and you’re entirely happy with everything, however it doesn’t hurt to compare. Short-list a couple of accountants at the very least. You should be able to get a good idea as to what it will be like working with them by your initial contact with a company.
6 – If a smaller accounting firms is more expensive, they tend to have a better understanding of what a small-business needs. Again, it’s about weighing up the pros and cons and trying to get the best possible partnership to suit your style of business.
7 – Be clear on the scope of services that an accountant provides. Also, be realistic about what you are going to need in the future. An accountant might tick all of the boxes now, but if they can’t help you with additional services in the future, then it might be worth looking for a company with a more balanced set of services.
8 – Always try to follow up references where possible. Any decent and reputable accountant worth their salt should have some very satisfied clients who would happily vouch for them.
9 – Communication is the key! Again, your initial contact with an accountant should demonstrate how well they’re able to communicate with you. One of the biggest problems that people face when working with an accountant is poor communication, – both between the client and the accountant; and the accountant and the relevant authorities. The very best accountants will be up to date with the latest in technology, offering you a number of ways to stay up to date.
10 – Don’t forget that a high-quality accountant will be invaluable in all aspects of your business, – particularly if in the event that you decide to sell you business in the future.
Be realistic, budget accordingly and above all: be honest with yourself. You should give your gut the benefit of the doubt and go with whoever you feel that you have the strongest connection with. Trust is hugely important when it comes to a client/accountant relationship, particularly when you’re sharing sensitive information about your small business.
If you have found this piece particularly useful and would like to explore our services further, please feel free to get in touch with us today. Our team of friendly representatives and advisors will be more than happy to assist you in any way possible.