Choosing an accountant is one of the most important decisions any business operator can make, and there are a number of factors that should be taken into account. It is not a decision that only new businesses make, it is a decision that any company of any size is likely to constantly monitor and review.
Before deciding on the accountant, it is important to decide what role they are to play in the business.
Many accountants can be involved in all areas of financial planning and growth of the business and can provide access to detailed information and specific forecasting that a business owner might not otherwise have access to.
They can help a business be realistic about their targets, help monitor both growth and expenditure throughout the year and help keep a check on any imbalance of either if problems occur.
Accountants are often associated with bookkeeping and auditing. A business may have a firm of accountants that they use specifically for both these purposes, in which case the accounting firm will have to have some sort of internal wall that separates out both of these roles.
It is more common to have separate firms, in which case a firm of accountants who do the bookkeeping and keep financial records will be heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the business.
It is important when engaging a firm of accountants to check that the software they are using is the same as the company uses and that they are familiar with any operating system is associated with it.
Choosing an accountant
It is important to initially decide what role the firm of accountants will have. This will determine their charges and also how reliant the business will become on them. If a firm of business accountants are to be heavily involved in the company, then it is important to make sure at the outset that they have a significant level of experience or expertise in the areas that the business operates in. It may also be wise not to use a firm of accountants that are used by a business's competitors, as there is obviously a potential conflict of interest.
However, recommendations can play a useful part in choosing any firm of professionals, and if it is likely that if there are any areas that might generate a conflict, the firm of accountants are likely to flag it up at the outset.
It is vital to recognise and check that any firm of accountants employed is regulated by the appropriate body and that there are no regular regulatory issues that may affect their performance. It is also a good idea to think of a long-term relationship with a firm of business accountants, where possible.
It is is important to feel comfortable with the firm of accountants chosen and, at a practical level, that there is good chemistry between the employees of both firms. Reach out to a business accountant near you to learn more.