What to look for in an accountant
Why do you need an accountant?
Starting your own business can be daunting. No matter how good you are at what you do, no matter how good your product or service, there are always numerous things you don’t know – and each of these can cost you money in lost sales or higher than expected tax bills for example.
It’s important to build a team – normally a virtual team at the start, and that’s where an accountant comes in. A good one will listen to what you want to achieve, help structure the business accordingly, and guide you along the way. They will also help things run efficiently and minimise your tax bills!
What should you look for in an accountant?
- Empathy with clients - being able to understand the issues that a client has to deal with, before a solution / response can be provided
- Good Communicator - being able to listen to the client and speak a language that they understand. Responding to messages within one working day, even if it is to acknowledge receipt and confirm a timescale for a fuller, detailed response.
- Work carried out should be relevant, meaningful and timely. They should over deliver on promises.
- An ethos of great customer service, providing ongoing support especially for businesses in their formative years.
- A commitment to continuous professional development (CPD) as the regulatory frameworks are constantly changing. Linked to this is the adoption of the latest technology.
- Maintain the highest levels of integrity, openness, honesty, professionalism and confidentiality.
- Proactively looking for ways to build on the success of client's businesses. This could be by way of funding opportunities, upcoming contracts or cross referring to another client / contact.
- Wherever possible fixed fees should be charged which have been agreed in advance.
How do you find the right accountant?
Ask people you know who run their own businesses who they use – especially if they used them when they set up their business.
Meet people at network events.
Google local accountants – check out their websites and any testimonials.
Have one to ones with several possible accountants. Don’t just go on a recommendation or because you are impressed with their website, you need to find someone who you can get on with, feel you can trust, and believe they really understand your business.