How To Choose A Good Accountant

Did you know that the UK tax code is over 1,200 pages long?

Do you know best to keep more of your hard earned business profits for yourself and your stakeholders?

These are just two good reasons to consider hiring an accountant for your small business. While the vast majority of medium and large companies will often hire an in house accountant, there is simply no need for a smaller company or sole trader to have a dedicated accountant on the payroll. And while some entrepreneurs may try and bumble through tax returns by themselves, this can be a grave mistake as the cut and thrust of business life  can make handing in accurate tax returns on time just one hair raising challenge too many.

Picking the right accountant for your business is important – a good accountant is one who will genuinely care about your numbers, and even offer advice on how to structure your business for maximum tax and operational efficiencies. And it’s not only immediate tax returns they can help with – your accountant can help you plan long term tax structure as well as business planning.  Here are some tips on how to choose a good accountant:

Finding A Good Accountant:

  • Go by personal recommendations. If you have a network of business friends can recommend their own accountants, get hold of a few names. By far, one of the safest ways to pick a good accountant is to go by personal recommendation.
  • Decide if you want to go big or small. The accountancy industry has grown over time, and you can opt for either a smaller firm, or a large company. Each of these has unique advantages – there is more scope for a closer, more personalized service with a smaller accountant. On the flip side, a larger accountancy set-up may have certain experts on certain topics that could be beneficial for your business.

Talking To Prospective Accountants:

  • Ask about the fee and fee structure. Small businesses and startups may not have too much spare cashflow to splash on accountancy services, so it’s important to know up front what you’re paying for. You may be able to negotiate on the price, for example if your business is not VAT registered. Before talking to your list of potential accountants, draw up a very detailed list of services that you are looking for. 
  • Ask how payments need to be made. Many accountants will also allow you to pay in monthly installments, which can help ease cashflow worries for smaller companies.
  • Inquire if the accountant specializes in your industry. Many specific industries can benefit from setting their finances and accounts out in a certain way – an accountant that has been there and done it for other companies within your industry is more likely to be able to help optimize your business structure.
  • Location. While the bulk of your dealings will be via the telephone, email and postal mail, it can help if your accountant is based locally, so that you can meet in person when required – if for no other reason than to help foster a good professional relationship. 

Selecting a good accountant can ultimately be self funding – for small business owners and startups, the time and hassle that can be saved alone is worth its weight in gold. It’s certainly worth taking some time to find the right accountant for your business.