The accountant/client relationship is an important one. This is the person who’ll be by your side as you navigate the choppy waters of business ownership, so you’ll need to choose wisely.
Here are eight pointers on how to choose the right type of accountant for your business.
1. They must have the right experience
Whether you’re a sole trader, limited company, contractor, start-up or a larger business, check whether an accountant has plenty of experience dealing with an enterprise of your type and size before you commit to hiring them.
This will ensure they’re totally clued up on new and emerging tax laws which might be relevant to your operations, such as the recent IR35 legislation for contractors.
2. They need to understand your business and its goals
If an accountant is going to help your business sustain and grow, they’ll need to take the time to hear about how your business works and your plans for its future.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to planning for the future and you and your business are unique. An accountant who asks the right questions such as, “Where do you see your business in one, five or twenty years”, could be the right accountant for you.
3. They should be available
Ask if you’ll get your own designated accountant or account manager – who you’ll have good access to – before signing up. They should also be available – not just for the big stuff like scheduled calls and meetings, but for random requests and quick-fire queries too.
Online accountants offer increased flexibility, greater visibility of your company’s overall state and usually a more rapid response time, which is why many people choose them over the more traditional desk and meeting-based model of accountancy.
4. They should know your level
If you’re new to the business world, you may not know the ropes yet. Your accountant should understand this – not bamboozle you with jargon and sigh impatiently if you ask question like, “What is a dividend?”
If you’re more seasoned in the business world, this will matter less to you, but if we’re just starting out, we’d recommend getting a feel for how clearly they explain things during your initial contact.
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5. They should be easy to work with
This applies to them as a person – are they a good communicator? – as well as to the systems they use.
Any online accountant worth their salt works with industry-standard user-friendly software like Xero, QuickBooks or FreeAgent, making it easy for you to see the state of your accounts at any given moment. Some accountants even offer their own bespoke in-house software in addition to this.
6. Their reputation should proceed them
In the accountant-client relationship, trust is key. So, when it comes to selecting an online accounting service for your business, they’ve got to be reputable.
Even if they talk a good game, take the time to do your own research before signing up. A company with a good rating on Reviews.co.uk or a similar site speaks volumes about how happy their customers really are with their services.
7. It should be clear what they’ll cost
The way accountants charge for their services can be a little confusing, especially to a newbie. It’s always best to go with a fixed fee – whether monthly or ad hoc – to avoid any doubt about your final bill.
A fixed fee accountancy charge tends not only to be the far cheaper option, knowing what it’ll cost you every month will make it simple to keep track of expenditure.
8. They should enable a smooth switch
It’s a myth that switching accountants is difficult. Some accountants might want you to believe that it’s a total headache – which makes it less likely you’ll want to leave them!
Your accountant should be prepared to get in touch with your outgoing/ future accounting service for a smooth handover if needs be.
At QAccounting we offer hassle-free accounting services for any business and pride ourselves on building strong relationships with our clients. If you are new to accounting, looking for a bespoke accounting package or are thinking of switching accountants then we have the expertise to meet your needs. Get in touch with a member of our friendly team today!
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