Choosing an accountant for your business should not be seen as a walk in the park, you should view them how you would when interviewing candidates for a job role.
Some things to consider
It’s important for your business to have an experienced, enthusiastic person handling your finances. But there are a range of other things you’ll want to consider. Are they qualified? Does the accountant’s location matter? How much will you have to pay the accountant? What type of accounting software will you use?
Choosing a qualified accountant
Anyone can call themselves an ‘accountant’ without having a qualification. Here are four key professional qualifications in the world of accounting: AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians), ACA (Associate Chartered accountant), ACA (Associate Chartered Certified Accountant) and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountant). Each of these are globally recognised.
Cheryl Woolhouse of HL&W is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians and has been a qualified accountant since 2009. She has gained a vast amount of experience in a range of business sectors.
Hiring a qualified accountant from the very beginning gives your company the best chance to grow.
Does the location of the accountant matter?
With the ongoing advancements in technology, most business accounting companies are using cloud-based technology to collaborate online. Meaning location becomes less of an issue to get the basics done.
Saying that, in my experience, being local is a huge benefit. That’s why HL&W only focus on businesses in Basingstoke and Hampshire. Being down the road form our clients means we can be face-to-face any time its needed. Simply sitting down and getting things done is the best way.
What accounting software are they using?
Moving accounting software can be a headache, and unless it comes with huge advantages it’s probably something you want to avoid. Always check what accounting packages your would-be accountant has experience with. We are huge fans of Sage One and are a Gold Partner. It means we get access to a huge resource library to further help our clients and provide extra value. We also have lots of experience with Xero. Both packages are perfect for small businesses.
More tips to help you choose your next accountant
Arrange interviews to help you decide
In the opening sentence I touched on how you should view hiring an accountant the same as you would hiring an employee. An interview gives you the chance to see if you get on with the person, judge their expertise and work out if they are the right fit for your business. After all, you’ll be working closely with them and trusting that they’ll be doing right by your business.
How much should I be paying for a business accountant?
Your available fees will pay a big part in which accountants are available for you. Small businesses are likely to have a small budget, which goes without saying. Even though you might be trying to use as little money as possible, make sure that the accountant you are hiring is right for you. They will be a big part of your business and can add a surprising amount of value. Make sure you talk to people you trust, gain some knowledge of which accountant’s other businesses in your sector are using, do some research and contact a good number of accountants. This will give you an insight to the fees you should be expecting to pay, as well as helping you decide how much you can afford to spend.
You can pay fixed monthly terms, meaning your accountant will deal with all of your finances. However, with some accountants, you can opt for an hourly charge. This may be a more suitable option if your budget is tighter because you can decide when you want your accountant to get involved.
During the interview process, it would be a good idea to write down quotes from each of the accountants you speak with. This will then give you the ability to analyse what you will get from each accountant for a specific price.
It doesn’t cost to start a conversation with us and you might just found out we’re the perfect accountant for your business.